Youn Yuh-Jung says being the first South Korean actress to be nominated for an Oscar is "very stressful".
The 73-year-old star is up for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the drama film Minari and feels like she will be representing her country at the awards, which will be held on Sunday (Apr 25).
Asked what being the first person from her country to be nominated for an Oscar meant to her, Youn told Deadline: "Very stressful. I was just very happy being nominated. I never even dreamed about being nominated for an Oscar.
"People will be very happy for me if I get the win, but it's very stressful. It's not like I'm representing the country by going to the Olympics, but I feel like I'm competing for my country. It's stressful."
Youn has been dubbed the Meryl Streep of South Korea for her acting but insists that she doesn't want to be compared to other performers.
She said: "I feel sorry for me and for Meryl Streep — she doesn't know me! To be honest with you, I don't like to be compared with somebody. I don't like to be the competition. I admire her work and everything, but there's a story for her and there's a story for me. I'm Korean."
Youn also drew on the differences between working on an American movie and a Korean production.
She explained: "I didn't have any problem, but in Korea, I had a long career, more than 50 years. Everybody knows me. I'm not bragging about myself but... in Korea, they know me.
"They know what I don't like and what I prefer on set. They know all the details. Here, nobody knows me. I was just nobody to them and I realised that I've been very spoiled in Korea."
At the Oscars, Youn is up against Maria Bakalova for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Glenn Close for Hillbilly Elegy, Olivia Colman for The Father, and Amanda Seyfried for Mank. So far, she already won Best Supporting Actress honors at both the BAFTA Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Youn will be attending the Oscars this weekend but in light of the recent anti-Asian violence in the US, she does have some reservations.
She said, “My son, who is Korean American, is living in the States. He was worried about me coming to the States for the Oscars, because he was scared I would get hurt. He asked, ‘Don’t you need to have some guard or something like that?’ It’s a sad thing. Just because you are Asian, there’s no reason to be attacked randomly like that.” — BANG SHOWBIZ
Photo: TPG News/Click Photos