SEOUL, April 25 (Yonhap) — One day before the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, veteran actress Youn Yuh-jung is grabbing attention over whether she will become the first South Korean to win an acting award at the Oscars.
The 73-year-old screen veteran was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in the immigration film “Minari.”
Youn plays Soon-ja, an eccentric grandmother who flies to rural Arkansas from South Korea to help her daughter’s family striving to build a new life in America.
Youn is competing against Maria Bakalova from “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” Glenn Close from “Hillbilly Elegy,” Olivia Colman from “The Father” and “Amanda Seyfried from “Mank.”
She is a leading contender in the category. A poll by Gold Derby, an American awards prediction website, predicted Youn will win the award at the Oscars slated for Sunday (U.S. time).
She has already collected about 30 trophies including ones from the U.S. Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), which are leading precursors to the Oscars.
On Thursday (U.S. time), she won best supporting actress at the 36th Film Independent Spirit Awards presented by a nonprofit U.S. arts organization to honor the best indie productions of the year.
The semiautobiographical drama film directed by Korean American Lee Isaac Chung earned six nominations at the Oscars — best picture, best director, best original screenplay, best actor, best supporting actress and best score.
The movie has received over 100 accolades since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival early last year.
If Youn wins the award, she will be the first South Korean to receive an acting Oscar prize and the second Asian winner of the Oscar for supporting actress.
It will also mark the second consecutive year a Korean has won a prize at the Oscars, after “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho won four titles last year.
After the nomination, Youn said she is honored but stressed at the same time because she feels like an Olympian competing for her country during interviews with foreign press.
She flew to Los Angeles on April 13 to attend the award ceremony.