'Minari' Star Youn Yuh-jung Makes History at SAG Awards

Minari Youn Yuh-jung
Everett

The 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards aired Sunday.

Youn Yuh-jung took home a historic SAG award in the best female actor in a supporting role category on Sunday night.

The Minari actress beat out Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father) and Helena Zengel (News of the World) to become the first Korean actress to ever win the category.

Sunday's shortened one-hour show was pre-recorded — meaning the SAG-AFTRA winners were informed of their wins a few days before the telecast — and the acceptance speeches were also pre-taped. The changes were a COVID-era decision in order to protect the guild's nominees and presenters.

"I don't know how to describe my feelings," said Youn, a first-time SAG nominee, in her acceptance speech. "I'm being recognized by Westerners," she went on to say, while thanking her acting peers and SAG-AFTRA for the honor. "I'm very pleased and happy."

Youn becomes the first Asian winner (also nominated on Sunday were Riz Ahmed and Minari's Steven Yeun in the best actor category, which went to the late Chadwick Boseman) and first Asian woman winner in any individual SAG motion picture category. Sandra Oh is the only Asian woman who has won an individual SAG Award on the TV side.

The Korean movie star plays a pivotal role in Lee Isaac Chung’s immigrant family drama as the unconventional grandmother, Soonja, who is visiting her family in Arkansas from Korea. Minari was also up for best ensemble in a category comprised of the most racially inclusive group of films in the guild’s history. (Four of the five titles, including Minari — also, Da 5 Bloods, One Night in Miami and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom — feature casts led by people of color; Trial of the Chicago 7 took home the win.)

The Korean-language film had received only one Golden Globe nomination, for best foreign-language film, before rebounding with SAG Award nominations in three of the five categories (for Youn, best picture and lead actor for Yeun). Heading into Sunday night, Minari tied with Ma Rainey for most overall noms.

The SAG nominations are coveted on the road to the Oscars, with SAG’s top ensemble prize serving as an equivalent, and oftentimes precursor, for a best picture win. Last year's best cast winner, Parasite, also a Korean-language film, went on to later win the top Oscar.

The 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards was simulcast on TNT and TBS on Sunday. An encore aired on TNT at 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT.