And Best Oscar Winner's Speech of 2021 Goes To... Youn Yuh-jung

Tom Nicholson
·2-min read
Photo credit: Handout - Getty Images
Photo credit: Handout - Getty Images

One of the most disappointing things about the scaled-down Oscars ceremony was the fact that without a big audience expecting either an endearingly giddy gush, a finely-wrought bit of speech-making or, best of all, an emotional wobbly, there wasn't much drama in many of the speeches.

Daniel Kaluuya's tribute to Fred Hampton, the Black Panthers and his own mum and dad for creating him was great, but the most Oscars-y Oscars speech of the night was a perfectly pitched mixture of gush, speech-making and wobbly from Youn Yuh-jung.

She began by greeting the man who'd announced her win for best supporting actress. "Mr Brad Pitt, finally – nice to meet you. Where were you while we were filming in person?"

Firstly: the finely-wrought speech bit, with a very funny joke.

"As you know I'm from Korea, and actually my name is Yuh-jung Youn and most European people call me Yuh-yung, and some of them call me You-jung. But tonight, you are all forgiven."

After thanking her director Lee Isaac Chung, Youn came to the gushing section.

"I don't believe in competition. How can I win over Glenn Close? I've been watching her, so many performances... all the five nominees, we played different roles, so we cannot compete with each other. Tonight I have a little bit of luck, I think. I'm luckier than you."

And finally, a reined in and very funny nod toward the wobbly.

"I'd like to thank my two boys, who made me go out and work... this is the result, because mummy worked so hard."

Beautifully done. It's worth watching the whole thing, complete with slightly awkward introductions for all the nominees and bits where nobody knows whether it's time to clap or not.

Her Bafta speech was also excellent – "Every award is meaningful, but this one, especially being recognised by British people, known as snobbish people and they approve me as a good actor, I am very happy" – and Youn was still on form when someone asked her at the post-win press conference what Brad Pitt smelled like.

"I didn't smell him," she said. "I'm not dog."

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