Steven Yeown tried to sleep through his history-making Oscar nomination. It was 5:45 pm in Los Angeles – actually 4:45 pm, given daylight saving time – but he would have a call. No. Stop.
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
The 37-year-old actor said, “A farmer who won a Best Actor nomination for his turn in Lee Isak Chung’s” Minari “tried to realize his dream of starting his own farm. At heart.” And I just now Too tired. I apologize, I don’t know what’s going on right now. “
Yun, who was born in South Korea and grew up in the United States, was one of two persons of Asian heritage in the Best Actor category nominee – along with Riz Ahmed (a UK of Pakistani origin), who was the “Sound of Metal “. – At this year’s Academy Awards, it was the first time in the 93-year history of the Oscars. It was the first Best Actor nomination for someone of Asian heritage in nearly 20 years.
“It just feels so surreal,” Yeun said on Monday. “I still haven’t processed it.”
In a phone conversation, Still-Gorgie Yeun discusses what it was like to work with large-scale Korean-American actors in the United States, realizing that when it comes to Asian-American representation, Hollywood is a The critical juncture has been reached. Next for him These are excerpts from the conversation.
You are one of two men of Asian heritage, the first Oscar, for Best Actor this year. How does it feel to make history, especially when Oscar has largely ignored Asian artists in recent years?
This is not something I really worry about myself. I am with me in my culture and who I am, and if it is a challenge or going through things, it is amazing.
What was your first thought when you read the script?
Isaac [the “Minari” writer-director] There is such a way with words, and it captured something that I wanted to say on many levels on the page in depth. When I read it, I was very impressed by it. I was deeply attached to it. Isaac probably did not write something that was new to reality, but he wrote something that was new to our collective understanding of reality. After people understand and feel this new language, we are the most humble and beautiful thing.
How was it to work in the US with large-scale Korean-American artists?
It had its own challenges. You miscommunicate in various ways. But after the first two days, we saw Kink working and came together to tell this story about the family and how it likes to be human. I know the nominations are delayed and different, but it was truly a collective experience. It was a toil of love, and I hope everyone sees it. We all poured our hearts into it.
Your co-star, Yoo-jung Yun, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and it seems like a success for the Academy to recognize more than one star from an Asian-led ensemble. Does it feel like things have shifted to Hollywood for Asian representation?
I don’t know if I have an opinion on that. I know what I want to do in those streets: I want to be as honest and truthful as possible and speak from my place. I carry a lot of things with me, such as Asian-American. Finally, wherever life takes me, I hope that I will get to share more stories like this.
What movies did you see this year that you were nominating for happiness?
Frankly, I have not yet seen who was and what was not. But I really like “Sound of Metal” and “Nomaland”. And I felt that “Da 5 Blood” was incredible.
What’s next for you?
I don’t want to make things heavy, but we are still in the throes of an epidemic, and I am still trying to process where I am and what I have learned and what is to come. But I have a lot of faith and hope in the future, and if I have learned something, it really is to try to root myself in the present and take care of what is happening now.