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Arts Culture Minari: Get To Know The Cast Of This Historic Oscars 2021 Best Picture Nominee

Minari: Get To Know The Cast Of This Historic Oscars 2021 Best Picture Nominee

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 26: Noel Cho, Isaac Chung, Han Ye-ri, Steven Yeun, and Youn Yuh Jung from Minari pose for a portrait at the Pizza Hut Lounge on January 26, 2020 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Emily Assiran/Getty Images for Pizza Hut)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 26: Noel Cho, Isaac Chung, Han Ye-ri, Steven Yeun, and Youn Yuh Jung from Minari pose for a portrait at the Pizza Hut Lounge on January 26, 2020 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Emily Assiran/Getty Images for Pizza Hut)
By Ryanne Co
By Ryanne Co
March 16, 2021
Get to know Steven Yeun, Youn Yuh-jung, and the rest of the cast of Minari. With six Oscar nominations, the film has become a beacon of hope for Asian filmmakers in Hollywood.

Minari, the film which broke ground on its portrayal of a Korean family in America, has just bagged six Oscar nominations. Among them is Steven Yeun, who is the first Asian American actor to be nominated in the Best Actor category. The film is also being considered for Best Picture, Best Actress (Youn Yuh-jung), Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Original Score. Get to know some of the faces and histories of the actors themselves! 

Read also: Steven Yeun Makes History As The First Asian-American Best Actor Nominee

1/5 Steven Yeun as Jacob Yi

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 07: Steven Yeun, wearing PRADA, gets ready for the 26th annual Critics Choice Awards on March 07, 2021 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for PRADA)
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 07: Steven Yeun, wearing PRADA, gets ready for the 26th annual Critics Choice Awards on March 07, 2021 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for PRADA)

Steven Yeun, the first Asian American actor to be nominated for Best Actor in the Oscar's 93-year history, portrays Jacob Yi, the patriarch of the family. In an interview with Variety, Yeun shares the main parallel between his character, Jacob, and his own father: both were drawn to a promise of a better life. Born in Seoul, and having moved to the United States himself, Yeun understands the complex duality of living within multiple cultures, adding depth and experience to his portrayal of Jacob in Minari

As for his repertoire, Yeun can boast of much experience. Having first gained his claim to fame in The Walking Dead, Yeun had reportedly strayed away from commercial projects that otherwise would have typecast him as an Asian actor. Instead, he's veered towards more independent films, where fans could see him boldly portray the gamut of human (and fantastic) experience in Mayhem, Okja, Sorry to Bother You, and Burning. 

2/5 Yeri Han as Monica Yi

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Photo: Getty Images

Wife to Jacob Yi, Monica Yi is portrayed by actress Yeri Han. Known for her range in performance, Han is played a variety of roles in her native South Korea. Minari is her first movie that's been debuted in Hollywood. In a previous interview, Han had revealed that she instantly connected to her role as Monica, describing her as "typically Korean". In the film, Han has also been praised for her subtle yet provocative gestures—the emotions in her eyes, and the telling way in which she reacts to Jacob as their relationship takes its toll on her family. 

3/5 Youn Yuh-Jung as Soonja

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 26:  Youn Yuh-jung  at the 'Do-nui Mat' press conference during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 26, 2012 in Cannes, France.  (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 26: Youn Yuh-jung at the 'Do-nui Mat' press conference during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 26, 2012 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

A veteran actress from South Korea, Youn Yuh-Jung portrays Soonja, Jacob's mother in the film Minari. At 73, she's also the fourth Asian actress to receive an Oscar nomination for acting. Her career, which spans over half a century, has seen her in a number of TV shows and films. She's played a seductress in Fire Woman, a wealthy mistress in The Taste of Money, and now the eccentric grandmother in Minari. Now, she reveals, she's working on the Apple TV adaptation of New York Times bestselling book, Pachinko

Read also: Disney's Raya And The Last Dragon: Southeast Asian And Filipino Cultural References

4/5 Alan Kim as David Yi

UNSPECIFIED LOCATION – MARCH 7: In this screengrab, Alan Kim, winner of Best Young Actor/Actress Award, arrives at the press room at the 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards on March 07, 2021. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association)
UNSPECIFIED LOCATION – MARCH 7: In this screengrab, Alan Kim, winner of Best Young Actor/Actress Award, arrives at the press room at the 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards on March 07, 2021. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association)

Minari is supposed to be a semi-autobiographical film based on director Lee Isaac Chung's life. In it, David Yi is set to represent Lee Isaac Chung. In the movie, David Yi has a serious heart condition which causes Monica trouble as they move to the farm. His representative character is played by Alan Kim, and adorable 8-year-old child actor who's already been awarded a Critic's Choice Award

5/5 Noel Kate Cho as Anne Yi

PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 26: Noel Kate cho attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival - "Minari" Premiere at Library Center Theater on January 26, 2020 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 26: Noel Kate cho attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival - "Minari" Premiere at Library Center Theater on January 26, 2020 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Noel Kate Cho plays Anne Yi, the Yi family's eldest daughter. She's also an important figure in David's life, especially as their parents continue to fight. 

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