At this point it wasn’t going to be a surprise that Youn Yuh-jung, if given the chance, would give one of the best acceptance speeches of the night. This is the woman who told British people they were “very snobbish” after they gave her a BAFTA. If you missed it, or if you want to watch it again, as I have many times, here it is.
From top to bottom this is amazing. She opens by shooting her shot with Brad Pitt – who was a producer on Minari so it’s both flirtatious…but also an admonishment, as in where were you when we were working?!
Almost all winners acknowledge their fellow nominees. YJ did the same, and talked about how she didn’t see it as a competition, but maybe she was just “luckier” than the rest of them, LOL. And then, at the end, she shouted out her children, as people do. But instead of being all like, my kids are my inspiration or thank you to my kids for understanding why mommy has to be away, YJ is all like…
To my sons, who made me work so hard, mommy worked SO HARD. Pure Asian mom energy – and now her sons have a trophy that symbolises how grateful they have to be to their mother for winning it. I f-cking love her so much.
And it wasn’t over once she stepped off the stage. In the press room, several reporters brought up her Brad Pitt comment, including someone who asked her what he smelled like. Her response: I’m not a dog, hahahahahah.
On a serious note though, about YJ’s win, I just want to leave this tweet right here:
Trotting out this Academy Awards statistic, hopefully for the last time: in 90+ years, more white actresses have won Oscars for playing Asians than actual Asian actresses have won. Period. #Oscars— Phil Yu (@angryasianman) April 25, 2021
Youn Yuh-jung is a national treasure in Korea. There are reaction videos all over social media as Koreans tuned in to see if one of their most beloved artists could make history. She’s a huge news story today, obviously, covering the front page of practically everything, and South Korean president Moon Jae-in released a statement saying that her acting "gave sympathy to those who have lived in other cultures."
What a moment that would have been for Han Ye-ri, for her first time, to attend the Oscars alongside a legend, and to watch that legend win, after the already incredible experience of working with her on an Oscar-nominated film. And this just a year after Parasite stormed the Oscars in 2020, taking Best Picture and Best Director inspiring this tweet by writer Karen Chee:
i like this classic american tradition of a korean person winning an oscar every year— Karen Chee (@karencheee) April 26, 2021
Can South Korea go three-for-three in 2022?