LOS ANGELES – Youn Yuh-jung, the feisty grandmom in “Minari,” captured more than her movie grandson’s heart.
Youn, a prominent film and TV actor in her home country of South Korea, won the best supporting actress award at Sunday’s Oscars. She’s the second Asian actress to triumph in the category, more than six decades after Japanese-born Miyoshi Umeki earned the trophy for 1957’s “Sayonara.”
In her acceptance speech, Youn was as charmingly candid as her character in “Minari.”
“You are all forgiven” for the frequent mangling of her name, she said, smiling. She then acknowledged what she called her “wonderful ‘Minari’ family,” including director Lee Isaac Chung, and her formidable peers in the category.
“I don’t believe in competition. How can I win over Glenn Close?” she said of the nominee for “Hillbilly Elegy,” who is 0-for-8 at the Oscars. The other nominees were Oliva Colman for “The Father,” Maria Bakalova for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and Amanda Seyfried for “Mank.”
Youn credited a “little bit of luck” for her award, “and maybe American hospitality for the Korean actor.”
She also thanked her two sons, “who make me go out and work. ....This is the result, because Mommy works so hard,” Youn said, holding her Oscar aloft.
Youn teased presenter Brad Pitt, who announced her award and whose company was involved in the production of “Minari,” for not visiting the set in Oklahoma. “Nice to meet you,” she said, later taking his arm as she walked offstage. Pitt gave her the envelope containing her name.