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Steven Yeun smiles at a red carpet event. He wears a dark suit and t-shirt.

Steven Yeun Becomes the First Asian American Nominated For the Best Actor Oscar

It’s a history-making kinda day….

Riz Ahmed became the first Muslim Best Actor nominee. Viola Davis became the most nominated Black actress ever. Chloe Zhao and Emerald Fennell scored Best Directing nominations, the first time two women have been acknowledged in the category….And now we’re hearing Steven Yeun who has scored a Best Actor nomination is the first Asian American actor to do so!


He stars in the widely praised film Minari, from Lee Isaac Chung who is nominated for Best Director, about a Korean American family living in rural Arkansas in the 80s.

Others nominated in the category are Riz Ahmed, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman and the late Chadwick Boseman.

Steven is one of only a handful of actors of Asian descent to be recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, ever. 


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A post shared by Steven Yeun (@steveyeun)

Gandhi star Ben Kingsley did win the Best Actor award waaaay back in 1982 and there are those who’ve earned Best Supporting Actor or Actress nominations including Pat Morita in 1985 for his role as Mr Miyagi in The Karate Kid, sisters Jennifer and Meg Tilly in the 80s and 90s for their roles in Bullets Over Broadway and Agnes of God and Dev Patel in 2016 for his role in Lion.

Actress Yuh-Jung Youn who stars in Minari alongside Steven has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress this year.

The film has also received nods for Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Score.

Actress, comedian and director Mindy Kaling was one of the first to respond to the diverse nominations:

“So much Asian excellence I could scream,” she posted on Twitter.

Meanwhile, actress Poorna Jagannathan who currently stars in Mindy’s Netflix hit Never Have I Ever, said it best in a post on Insta:

“The talent and contributions of Asians (well POC in general) are so often overlooked or minimised, that the nominations came as a relief actually. But what really has move me is that each of these artists nominated has done it on their own terms: they weren’t playing best friends to any white leads. They were the centre of these complex stories and each of these artists nominated chose to tell stories of marginalised communities…of people we simply pass by without seeing,” she writes sharing photos of Riz Ahmed, Chloe Zhao and Steven Yeun.

She adds: “We are here and we are doing it our way. What a victory today is.”

(Feature Image Credit: Eugene Powers/Shutterstock.com)

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