Minari: Steven Yeun Should Become First Asian American Best Actor Oscar Nominees (Underrepresentation)

‘Minari’ Star Steven Yeun Should Become First Asian American Best Actor Oscar Nominees

Photo courtesy of A24

A24 has committed to campaign for Steven Yeun as a lead actor for his performance in Minari.

Along with Yeun, co-star Yeri Han will also campaign for best actress, while his cast mates Alan S. Kim, Will Patton and Yuh-Jung Youn will look for consideration in the supporting catgeories.


Asian representation in the acting categories has been one of the most underestimate in the Academy’s long history.

If nominated for best actor, Yeun would be the first Asian American to ever be recognized in the category.

Yul Brynner, of Mongol descent, won best actor for 1956’s “The King and I,” while Ben Kingsley, who is half Indian, won best actor for 1982’s “Gandhi,” which took home best picture. Kingsley was also nominated for 2003’s “House of Sand and Fog.”

Directed by Lee Isaac Chung, the film has not yet been given an official release date. Sources close to the film have said there are plans to release the movie before the end of the 2020 calendar year. This would keep the film eligible to receive awards from the New York and Los Angeles Film Critics, who are keeping the Dec. 31 movie release deadline.

Han’s turn as Monica, Jacob’s wife, is undeniably rich but has very stiff competition in a competitive lead actress field.

To date, only Merle Oberon, who was part Indian and Maori, has been nominated for best actress for 1935’s “The Dark Angel.”

There have been just two Asian-descent winners in the supporting categories — Haing S. Ngor in 1984’s “The Killing Fields” and Miyoshi Umeki in 1957’s “Sayonara.”

Alan S. Kim, who at 8-years-old could be the second youngest actor nominated in the supporting category, and Yuh-Jung Youn will compete to join that list.

It is also important to note that if any of the “Minari” actors are nominated, it will be the first time the Academy has nominated any Korean performers in an acting category.