In the film “Minari,” Korean grandmother Soon-ja, played by Youn Yuh-jung, arrives in the US with her luggage packed with seeds for Korean vegetables and other home goods for her daughter.
Youn’s own bag has been overflowing with trophies from the US for her acting in “Minari” alone, and on Monday, she added another feather to her cap with one from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards.
At the BAFTA ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Youn, 73, was announced the winner of best supporting actress for her role in American film “Minari” directed by Lee Isaac Chung.
In her acceptance speech, Youn, who is also known for her cynical but caring personality in Korea, did not hesitate to share her honest opinion of British people.
“Thank you so much for this award. Every award is meaningful, but this one, especially being recognized by British people, known as snobbish people, and they approve me as a good actor, I am very happy. Thank you so much,” Youn said in her acceptance speech delivered in English.
Four other actors who were vying for the prize were Maria Bakalova for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” Niamh Algar for “Calm with Horses,” Kosar Ali for “Rocks” and Ashley Madekwe for “County Lines.”
Youn in her speech also briefly offered her condolences to Britain’s royal family on the passing of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Directed and written by Korean American Chung, “Minari” depicts the story of a first-generation Korean immigrant family of four -- dad Jacob (Steven Yeun), mom Monica (Han Ye-ri), son David (Alan S. Kim) and daughter Anne (Noel Kate Cho).
The family gets a fresh start in rural Arkansas to pursue Jacob’s American dream. One day, grandma Soon-ja comes to America to babysit the two kids while Jacob and Monica are out working. At first, David does not like Soon-ja but as they spend time together she starts growing on him.
Chung’s film was also nominated for five other BAFTAs, including those for best director and best film not in the English language.
With the coveted prize, Youn is a step closer to making history, as she is also the first Korean to get a nod for acting at the Oscars this year. No other Korean actor, including those from the Oscar-winning “Parasite,” has received an Oscar nomination.
Earlier this month, Youn was honored for her outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role at the 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards, which is often considered as a key indicator for the Oscars glory.
The Academy Awards is slated for April 25.
Meanwhile, the top prize at the BAFTAs went to Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” for best film.
Zhao’s movie also scooped three other prizes on Monday including cinematography, best actress for its cast Frances McDormand and best director.
Anthony Hopkins won best actor for his role in “The Father” and Danish film “Another Round” won best foreign-language film at this year’s BAFTA.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org