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Youn Yuh-jung draws laughter for playful BAFTA acceptance speech

Youn Yuh-jung won Best Supporting Actress at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, held at Royal Albert Hall in London, Sunday (local time). Courtesy of BAFTA
Youn Yuh-jung won Best Supporting Actress at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, held at Royal Albert Hall in London, Sunday (local time). Courtesy of BAFTA

'Minari' star takes huge leap towards Oscars with BAFTA win

By Kwak Yeon-soo

If there were an award given to the most humorous actor, Youn Yuh-jung would be one of the strongest contenders.

She didn't lose her sense of humor even during her improvised acceptance speech at Sunday night's British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards.

Playfully calling British people "snobbish," the Korean actor said that this trait of theirs has made her even more proud of winning the Best Supporting Actress Award.

"First, I express my deep condolences regarding your Duke of Edinburgh. And thank you so much for this award. Every award is meaningful, but this one, especially the fact that I am being recognized by British people, who are known to be snobbish… the fact that they approve of me as a good actor makes me very happy. Thank you so much," Youn said.

Her remarks drew the laughter from the organizers.

She took the prestigious prize in a matchup against Maria Bakalova of "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm," Niamh Algar for "Calm with Horses," Kosar Ali for "Rocks" and Ashley Madekwe for "County Lines."

With that feat, Youn has become a major contender in the Oscars' best supporting actress race, making headlines for taking prestigious awards and delivering humorous acceptance speeches.

The 73-year-old actress, whose career spans over five decades, is well-known for her deadpan humor in Korea. Now she has captivated audiences around the globe with her guileless attitude, proving that satire can be humble.

When receiving the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, she said, "I don't know how to describe my feelings. I'm being recognized by Westerners!"

After being nominated for the Academy Awards, she displayed her authentic, humorous character, saying, "I never imagined this would happen at my age. I'm very grateful, but honestly, I feel a bit burdened. Although I'm not an athlete, I feel like I'm an Olympian."

Youn became the first Korean actor to win the BAFTA award. Previously, Park Chan-wook's "The Handmaiden" and Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite" took home BAFTA awards for Best Film Not in the English Language in 2018 and 2020, respectively, with Bong also nabbing Best Original Screenplay.

At the BAFTA, "Minari" was nominated in six categories, including Best Director for Lee Isaac Chung, Best Supporting Actor for Alan Kim and Best Film Not in the English Language, but only won the Best Supporting Actress Award.

Youn's win at the BAFTAs, coupled with her previous Screen Actors Guild Awards triumph, could pave the way for another victory at the Academy Awards, which is scheduled for April 25.

However, the actress expressed that she has had enough of being asked about her Oscar prospects. "I don't enjoy competition. To me, the nomination is just as valuable as the actual award," Youn previously told local reporters.

A semi-autobiographical story of the director's childhood, "Minari" tells the story of a Korean immigrant family that moves to rural Arkansas to start a farm in the 1980s. For her role of grandmother Soon-ja in the film, Youn has already won over 30 awards for best supporting actress at various U.S. film festivals.



Kwak Yeon-soo yeons.kwak@koreatimes.co.kr


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