Youn Yuh-Jung's Acceptance Speech Was the Highlight of the Baftas

Olivia Ovenden
·2-min read
Photo credit: Bafta
Photo credit: Bafta

The best insults are delivered so politely that you can almost believe them to be a compliment, so gently has the burn been administered. This is one skill which Minari actress Youn Yuh-Jung has clearly mastered, as during her acceptance speech for best supporting actress at the Baftas last night she managed to both comfort and offend the British public, beginning by expressing her condolences for the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, and finishing by calling them "very snobbish people".

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Collecting the award the 73-year-old said: "Every award is meaningful, but this one especially, recognised by British people, known as very snobbish people. And they approve me as a good actor, so I'm very, very privileged and happy."

Causing the host to try and stifle his laugter, Youn's words were a firm reminder that the moment is never too sombre to miss the occasion to stick the boot in. In a ceremony which was dominated by grand actors taking the big prizes but not bothering to show up to collect them, her speech was the highlight of a night which felt like the personality had been sucked from the empty room where proceedings were sort of taking place.

Photo credit: Courtesy of A24
Photo credit: Courtesy of A24

Youn's character in Minari is inspired by the director Lee Isaac Chung's own grandmother, a figure who, just like the actress displayed at the Baftas, is comfortable speaking her mind. "My sister and I thought my grandmother was not very grandmotherly compared to all of the church ladies that we knew," Chung told Esquire. "She was making sure we learned all the Korean swear words, just in case we needed them. Now I see what an awesome lady she was."

Youn expressing her thanks while also landing a stealthy blow to those awarding her with a trophy follows in the footsteps of director Bong Joon Ho who spent awards season last year calling the Oscars "very local" and instructing the Golden Globes to get over the one inch barrier of subtitles. We eagerly await the barbs Youn might have lined up for America if she takes the trophy at the Oscars later this month.

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