Bong Joon Ho Eyes Oscar History for Steven Yeun as First Asian American Best Actor Nominee
Bong Joon Ho is no stranger to making Oscar history. At the beginning of this year, director "Parasite" broke the glass ceiling of the Academy Awards when he was the first foreign language drama to take home the main prize for best picture. "Parasite" was also the first South Korean film to win the "Best International Feature" category. With the "Parasite" Oscar season behind him, Bong is now looking forward to the 2021 Academy Awards, at which his "Okja" star Steven Yeun could become the first Asian American to be nominated for best actor. Yeun is featured in his Sundance-winning, A24-sponsored immigration drama “Minari.
"Of course it would matter to Steven to be the first Asian American to be nominated," Bong recently told Variety. “But before that I just want to congratulate him as an actor and as an individual. The nomination would only prove his ability as an actor. If he is to be nominated I would congratulate Steven on his great performance on Minari and I think he is an Asian American and the first to be nominated is secondary. "
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Bong said Yeun was "an actor with incredible reach," adding, "Sometimes he feels like the guy next door, while sometimes he carries that great sense of mystery and secrecy. He really did it in Lee Chang Dong's" Burning " to capture the tension behind a mysterious and cynical character, and in "Minari" he provided a realistic portrait of a father who weighed heavily on his shoulders. I think he's a multi-faceted actor with so many faces. "
As for Yeun's personal thoughts on the history of Oscars, the actor told Variety, "It's probably a bummer that it is. That's a tough question for me. As great as it would be to set a precedent or be part of it to be a moment that breaks through a ceiling, I personally don't want to be caught up in that moment either. The truth that I try to understand for myself is who I am individually. "
"I'm excited to be serving a bigger moment for the community," added Yeun. "And I'm happy to push narratives and show who we are because I am too. I'm an Asian-American and the pride I have for it is immense. But for me, it's really about my space and to carry myself through this life and make sure I'm telling it true from my point of view. But it would be great and I hope we can have a lot more of it and that it won't be a problem in the future. "
A24 opens “Minari” in cinemas on February 12th.
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