Continuing the tradition of Korean filmmakers not thinking that the Oscars is a big deal, Yuh-jung Youn gave an earnest and witty acceptance speech at the 93rd Annual Academy Awards where the actress picked up an award for the Best Supporting Actress.
Brad Pitt (ever heard of him?) presented Youn the award for her show-stealing portrayal of grandmother Soonja in Minari, an American film about the American dream. In her speech, Youn told Pitt that it is nice to meet him and asked him where he was when they were shooting the movie. Now, I have seen and loved and reviewed Minari. I am also vaguely aware that Pitt owns a production company Plan B Entertainment. However, it was not until Youn’s callout that I found out that Pitt is, in fact, a producer of Minari.
Hollywood tends to swoon at the idea of its celebrities being universally known and beloved, so the short interaction between Youn and Pitt became one of the ceremony’s highlights. The pair posed for pictures together after, and the whole moment became a cute story with Pitt as the key character of Youn’s night. That is all fine.
Where it got cringy is when Youn who, mind you, has just won an Oscar for appearing in a touching drama was asked what did Mr. Pitt smelled like. “I did not smell him, I’m not a dog,” quipped Youn in response. (Fun fact: this year’s winner of the Best Supporting Actor Daniel Kaluuya was also mistaken for Leslie Odom Jr. by a journalist at his post-Oscars press conference. Congrats to anyone who had ‘the press being disrespectful to the work of actors of color’ on their bingo card).
During the Korean news conference, Youn shared that her own interest in Pitt’s persona lies elsewhere. “I told him to provide more money to the movie,” Youn said. As she should.
Put some respect on this acting veteran’s (with many other awards under her belt) name.
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