Veteran actress and Minari star Youn Yuh Jung made history at this year’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) ceremony as she was crowned the first Korean actress to win one of the awards—and she had everyone in stitches with her acceptance speech.
While some international outlets have mistakenly referred to Youn Yuh Jung as a “breakout star”, the 73-year-old actress has over five decades of experience in South Korean film and television. It was one of her latest movies, Minari, that finally put her on the world’s radar. In the 2020 American drama film, Youn plays Soon Ja—the unconventional grandmother of the Yi family.
Referring to her new foray onto the United States acting scene, Youn stated, “I’m nobody to them. A newcomer. I need to prove myself with my acting.” Judging by the reception she’s received from critics and film buffs around the world, she’s more than proved her skills. In 2021 alone, she’s already received almost 30 awards from ceremonies around the world. The latest is her BAFTA.
The annual BAFTA Film Awards ceremony was broadcast virtually on April 11, and given her incredible performance in Minari, it should come as little surprise that Youn Yuh Jung was crowned Best Supporting Actress. This makes her the first Korean actor, male or female, to ever win a BAFTA Film Award.
One of the best parts of Youn’s win was her speech. After gasping in surprise at her win, the veteran actress shared how honored she was to win the award. However, while she’s already won numerous prestigious awards, Youn revealed in her speech that the BAFTA was “especially” meaningful. Why? “Because [it means I’m being] recognized by British people, known as very snobbish people,” said Youn, eliciting a huge laugh from the presenter and all the viewers watching at home.
The overwhelming response to her on-the-spot comedy only proves how much of an icon Youn Yuh Jung really is. Fans of Minari are now waiting to see if the actress will also become the first South Korean woman ever win an Oscar at the upcoming Academy Awards.
Watch Youn Yuh Jung’s full BAFTA acceptance speech here: