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Campaign starts to win Steve Yeun an Oscar nomination

According to an exclusive report by Variety, film studio A24 confirmed it is campaigning for Korean American actor Steve Yeun to be honored with an for an Oscar nomination for best actor.

Yeun, known for his role in The Walking Dead stars as patriarch Jacob in the film Minari, an immigrant drama about a Korean family that moves into an all-White rural neighborhood in hopes to cultivate a successful farm.

A24 will also seek nominations for co-star Yeri Han who plays Jacob’s wife Monica as well as supporting role nominations for other cast members.

Written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, the film won the dramatic grand jury prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Deadline reports. It will be released in theters by A24 in the coming months ahead, according to Vox.

The tearjerker documents tender moments between Jacob and his wife Monica, as well as the growing cultural differences between their son David and the rest of the family as they try to assimilate into American life.

“Remember what we said when we got married? That we’d move to America to save each other?” Jacob tells Monica in the film’s trailer, released Sept. 20 on Youtube.

Since its release, the trailed has garnered 1.5 million views.

In an Oct.20 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Yeun said the filming experienced resurrected in him memories of growing up in Michigan.

“The experience to me was in some ways deeply terrifying, and in other ways incredibly natural, and in other ways so cathartic,” Yeun said. “It was a reflection of a lot of our families.”

Furthermore, the film reveals a “truthful humanity,” Yeun said in the interview. He said he hopes Minari appeals to the “common humanity” of the viewers.

The film as well as the hopeful nomination of the actors are significant in more ways than one. Historically, only a select number of actors of Asian descent have been nominated or won Academy Awards.

This is despite the accolades that movies featuring actors of Asian descent have historically received, The Washington Post states. Even though films like Last Emperor, Memoirs of a Geisha, Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi received many nominations with “Parasite” receiving the best picture award at the most recent Oscars, it is still rare that Asian actors receive recognition for individual performance.

Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of Asian American and Asian diaspora studies at the University of California at Berkeley, told The Washington Post that history shows little Asian representation in the film industry itself.

“Asian and Asian Americans couldn’t even play themselves, the assumption being that talented acting belongs to White, Western actors,” Choy said. “That has also infused the industry’s consciousness, as well as of the general public.”

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