One of the most “stars are just like us” moments at Sunday’s Academy Awards happened while Yuh-jung Youn was on stage becoming a winner among them.
“Mr. Brad Pitt, finally. It’s nice to meet you,” she said to crowd laughs after being presented the award for best supporting actress by Pitt, last year’s winner for best supporting actor. “Where were you while we were filming? It’s an honor to meet you.”
Youn, who won for her role in “Minari,” chalked up her reaction backstage to being star-struck. She’s been a longtime fan, she said, and “maybe I blacked out a couple of seconds.”
A Korean icon long before American audiences were talking about “Minari,” Youn’s unfiltered views have, since the film’s rise began months ago, been a refreshing alternative to the over-trained responses usually seen during award season.
For instance, there was her BAFTA’s speech, in which she thanked the voting body by saying, “Every award is meaningful, but this one, especially [to be] recognized by British people, known as very snobbish people, and they approve me as a good actor. ”
Or, when speaking to the blog run by “Minari” production company A24, she boasted about her love of leisure time.
“Staying in my bed the whole day is my pleasure and my hobby,” she said. “I like to watch TV or just doze, not thinking about anything – it’s whatever I want to do. I’m sorry to say that I’m really enjoying quarantine, because I can rest. I don’t have to see anybody. I can just stay home 24 hours a day and stay in bed, my favorite place.
Much like her character in “Minari,” a lovingly quirky grandmother, there’s been so much to appreciate about Youn’s honesty and good humor and the sense of connection it brought to an award season defined largely by a sense of disconnection.
In a year where little felt the same, it was a small, charming and familiar pleasure to revel in watching someone enjoying the crazy ride of awards success – one we hope continues for Youn for years to come.