The 73-year-old star, who has 50 years of film and television credits, won best supporting actress for her performance in “Minari” — Lee Isaac Chung’s semi-autobiographical tale of a Korean family that immigrates to rural Arkansas in the 1980s.
Brad Pitt, whose company Plan B co-produced “Minari,” presented the award. Youn began her acceptance speech by playfully calling out his absence on set, according to Variety.
📸 Youn Yuh Jung and Brad Pitt at the ‘2021 Oscar Awards’! pic.twitter.com/iXIueMBNci
— The Seoul Story (@theseoulstory) April 26, 2021
“Finally,” she said. “It’s an honor to meet you.”
Youn played Soon-ja, the family’s feisty, unorthodox grandmother known for her herbal medicines and love for Mountain Dew soda.
In her speech, Youn recalled only watching the Oscars back home in South Korea, which made Sunday’s experience surreal.
“Me, being here by myself, I cannot believe I’m here … let me pull myself together,” she said.
“As you know, I’m from Korea. Actually, my name is Yuh-Jung Youn. Most European people call me Yuh Youn and some of them call me Yuh-Jung.” she said. “But tonight, you are all forgiven.”
Youn and “Minari” itself have received critical acclaim throughout the awards season, with the actor winning a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award, according to CNN.
Youn also acknowledged her fellow nominees — Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Colman, Maria Bakalova and Glenn Close, whom she has long admired — on Sunday’s event.
She concluded her speech thanking her sons “who make me go out and work.” Backstage, the Associated Press asked her of the bump in Asian films.
“It’s about time. It’s very nice to understand each other and we should embrace each other,” she said.
Twitter users also went wild over Youn’s speech.
Waiting room of Seoul Station in Yongsan-gu, Seoul this morning. The citizens are watching Youn Yuh Jung / Yuh-Jung Youn who won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the 93rd Academy Awards 🥲 #Oscars #YounYuhJung pic.twitter.com/IV6jZQPiL9
— -putri- 🍒 (@moonfairyliebe) April 26, 2021
— Stella⁷ByStarlight💜 (@QLoana) April 26, 2021
I am going to save 윤여정’s speech to rewatch whenever I’m having a bad day
— Isaac K. Lee (@IsaacKLee) April 26, 2021
This is just the best. I watched Youn Yuh Jung (윤여정)in so many movies and TV dramas growing up. She is a national treasure. So proud ❤️🇰🇷❤️ https://t.co/eNCx1hv02F
— Jeehae Lee (@jeehaeda) April 26, 2021
The special thing about 윤여정 Youn Yuh-jung is that she’s been in the Film industry since the late 60s. The #Oscars are a very Western thing but seeing her celebrated outside of Korea and Koreans is so overwhelming. Seeing ppl learn our names, & acknowledge the talents 🥲
— Snackie Chan~* (@xxoheejin) April 26, 2021