Journalists kept asking Oscar winner Youn Yuh-jung about Brad Pitt

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Sunday night, actress Youn Yuh-jung won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Minari. It certainly wasn’t her first award. Hell, it wasn’t even her first American award. Yuh-jung has had a long, critically acclaimed career, even if Minari was most Americans first introduction to her. Unfortunately, that did not stop some American journalists from showing their @sses when they had this accomplished woman in front of them. After what was arguably the most entertaining acceptance speech of the evening, Yuh-jung faced reporters who, instead of asking her anything relevant to her performance, award, career or even being the first Asian woman to win this category, only found their notes to ask about what it was like to meet Brad Pitt, who had escorted her off-stage.

Youn Yuh-jung has had it, officially, with fielding questions about Brad Pitt. Was he nice? What did he smell like? Who cares? After winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Minari, she was escorted off the stage by presenter Brad Pitt and his sad little man-bun situation.

Afterward, in the press room, journalists wasted her time asking the least-interesting question possible: Was she excited to meet Brad Pitt? This actress just gave one of the best performances of the year. Speaking to the Korean media after winning the Academy Award, she was asked by a journalist about the American media’s fixation on her Pitt encounter. In a television clip posted to Twitter by a Loona stan account, she responds with the world’s classiest eye-roll, then says, “They kept asking me how it was meeting Brad Pitt,” and then she sips a glass of white wine.

[From Vulture via Pajiba]

It a sad coincidence (or is it a coincidence?) that the other major gaffe in the press room was with another non-American, Daniel Kaluuya, who gave an equally entertaining acceptance speech. They have these fascinating people before them, and they can only think to frame questions around an American. Prior to Sunday, Yuh-jung had won the Golden Globe, the Critics’ Choice, the BAFTA and the Independent Spirit Award for her performance as Soonja. There was a very good chance she was taking home the Oscar so even cursory research into her career should have been done before she walked on that platform. Even her speech gave enough fodder for questions. Like the fact that she was shunned for being a divorcee for much of her career. Because of this, she would take almost any role she could. In one such role, a “spiteful queen” on a Korean soap opera, Yuh-jung was so good, people would curse her on the street when they saw her. All of this is far more interesting that what Brad Pitt smells like.

Fortunately, You-jung doesn’t suffer fools lightly. When the dolt asked what Brad smelled like, she responded that she hadn’t smelled him because “I’m not a dog.” Later, when she was asked if she would appear in a movie with Brad, she said it would never happen because of her “English and age.” Most reporters probably chalked that up to a charming wish of a nice older lady, but I suspect it was a jab at the tunnel vision of Hollywood’s ageism and misogyny. Below is Yuh-jung’s reaction when the Korean journalists ask about her American media reception. I wish I spoke Korean so I could fully appreciate it, but her expression says enough.



Photo credit Getty Images, Twitter and Avalon

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43 Responses to “Journalists kept asking Oscar winner Youn Yuh-jung about Brad Pitt”

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  1. Sierra says:

    It doesn’t matter how much people of colour especially women of colour accomplish. If a white man is involved, he will get the limelight.

    I am sick and tired of that and bravo to this lovely woman for putting these journalists in their places.

  2. BlueSky says:

    “Yeah yeah yeah, Oscar win was great, congrats, so Brad Pitt….” 🙄🙄

  3. lalisa says:

    White people centering themselves in our (POCs) experiences is a tale as old as time.

    An Asian woman wins, and all the talk they want to hear from her is about a white man.


  4. Myra says:

    Shania Twain’s ‘That Don’t Impress Me much’ comes to mind. Entertainment “journalists” need to do better. I suppose they are under pressure to get a soundbite so they try to force one, but it’s so embarrassing. I love the way she sipped that wine, though.

  5. Lily P says:

    The inherent racism of mainstream media and journalists is awful. How they can think an Oscar win is on par with how a pickled white man smells is beyond me. She’s consistently called out Plan B’s poor investment in her film and I think it’s pretty shoddy that Pitt’s PR has sought to capitalise on her win as an image boost. There’s a fantastic clip of her sipping champagne in discussion with Korean media about the continuous Pitt questions.

    Plan B do produce some fantastic films but it’s not just diversity on camera that matters, it needs to happen throughout the production process. Anyway, Youn Yuh-Jung has had an incredible career that outshines Pitt’s and I’m happy she’s now getting ‘Western’ recognition and is emerging as the highlight of the Oscars and this years overall awards season.

  6. Amy Bee says:

    Apparently she also told Korean press that Plan B didn’t spend enough money on the film and that she had to spend her own money to fly to and from the US. When the white people thought she was so impressed with Brad, she was really calling him out for not doing more for the film.

    • Jais says:

      @Amy Bee- Didn’t know that part about the travel. Omg if she had to pay her own travel she prob was not v impressed and then to have all those journalists asking bout him. The disrespect!
      Also, the clip with the wine is amazing. Her face and eyes say it all.

    • Jenn says:

      Right. It wasn’t until I learned Pitt was a producer on Minari that it occurred to me that her “Brad Pitt! Finally! So nice to meet you” made it clear that he was never on-set or otherwise around.

  7. VIV says:

    Is Brad even an exciting person to meet these days?

  8. Sunday says:

    i’m convinced that a random sampling of people on twitter could come up with more interesting questions than these so-called journalists. Same goes for the white house press pool, whose sole job seems to be trying to make jen psaki lose it due to the sheer stupidity and utter lack of depth and nuance in their questions.

  9. Aphra says:

    Good for her! I like her, and her impressively healthy glass of wine!

  10. Scarlett says:

    I just watched Minari last night, as the child of first generation immigrants, it moved me so much, Youn Yuh-jung deserved all the awards for her performance, it was heartbreakingly beautiful. Also Brad Pitt presented her Oscar, but back to Youn Yuh-jung, she is the star!!

    • megs283 says:

      Scarlett, where is it available? Did you rent it from Amazon?

      • Scarlett says:

        I rented it from Amazon, was $19 and change if I remember right, worth it!! I will be buying the movie. It is just so well made, I was in tears for most of it, the subject matter hit too close to home, pun unintended.

  11. Erin says:

    I took her comment about Pitt (“where were you when we were filling?”) in her speech to be a dig and I loved it. He deserved it.

    • Particle says:

      Yes! When I was reading this, I thought, “Wait, didn’t she say it was nice to finally meet Brad Pitt?” I remembered those headlines and thought, maybe that’s one of the reasons for the questions. Then, I looked up the quote. “Mr. Brad Pitt, finally. Nice to meet you. Where were you when we were filming in Tulsa? It’s an honor to meet you.” This is clearly a dig! How did so many people miss out on this?

    • whybother says:

      this. I thought I dont understand english because most english article framing it as if she is smitten with him. she clearly not

  12. Veronica S. says:

    Honestly, you just kind of want to crawl under a rock when you see how incredibly dumb a lot of entertainment journalists are. If regular journalists in America tend to be myopic, then hoo boy does the Hollywood lot make them look positively cultured. Talk about a total waste of an opportunity to ask a woman with an amazing career and different cultural perspective to weigh in her performance.

  13. Lauren says:

    I love her! She really gives zero fcks and calls them as she sees them. Plus she is a beautiful mature lady, really classy.

  14. observing says:

    I kind of thought she accidentally drew attention to him during her speech. After she mentioned his name, it seemed inevitable that they’d all ask about him. Maybe that wasn’t her intention to give attention to him (especially as it seems she may have been critiquing rather than complimenting him), but it seems a but naive to assume that mention of his name wouldn’t garner a certain line of questioning.

    Under any other circumstances, I’d think it to be bad form to ask about him during her win. But since she was the first to mention his name, I could see how he’d be drawn into her win. Note to self: don’t mention big actor’s name during speech if I don’t want to be asked about him.

    My opinion is probably unpopular, but if Julia Roberts did the same thing we’d probably be thinking she was a little obtuse to bring up his name during a speech if she wanted to talk about herself rather than the guy who presented the award.

    • Willow says:

      But would they have asked Julia Roberts what Brad Pitt smells like? Ask an intelligent question at least. Something that has to do with acting or the differences between the Korean and American movie industries.

      • observing says:

        Yes, I think they’d ask Julia Roberts dumb questions.

        I think they’d be foolish enough to take it a step further and ask her to compare Brad Pitt’s smell to George Clooney’s.

  15. Traci says:

    Yeah, I speak fluent Korean and grew up watching her on television and movies with my Korean mother. She’s always been amazing and we were so happy about her win. The comment in the Korean press conference was classic Asian woman energy who has zero f’s to give…equal parts exasperation, annoyance and pure disdain. LOL

  16. Willow says:

    I watched another interview with her and they asked her about what it was like to film in America compared to Korea. She said, you know, I’m an old woman, I’ve been acting for a long time, I’ve won a lot of awards…basically she very politely explained that she’s an accomplished, well known actress in the rest of the world. Then she said, it’s been a very long time since someone told me to be on set at 4am, and stay until 6/7pm, every day. It was surprising, but I signed up for the job, I agreed to do it, and I did.
    Can you imagine an A-list Hollywood actor being treated that way? They would have walked off the set. But it’s okay to expect an A-list Asian actor with a 50 year career to do the job of a brand new intern. That’s why she has no respect for Brad Pitt.
    It’s disgusting how disrespectful and ignorant the Western entertainment industry is about anything outside their bubble.

  17. anp says:

    The focus should be totally on her winning the Oscar not on Pitt.

  18. Case says:

    Entertainment journalists need better training about these kinds of things, I think. The amount of YouTube complications there are of journalists asking talented actresses sexist questions and asking their male counterparts legitimate questions is unacceptable. And it’s made even worse here by her being Korean, because Americans are so freaking self-centered that we can’t seem to conceptualize there are accomplished people in other parts of the world that we might not have heard of before.

  19. nicegirl says:

    Love this write up, Hecate. What a shame on our media to waste a moment with this amazing woman.

  20. AM says:

    I’m Korean and speak it fluently. She wasn’t accidentally mentioning Brad Pitt in her speech. She was joking and it was also a dig. Brad Pitt produced the film, and it got a lot of accolades through the awards season but the Oscars stage was the first time she met him. That says a lot. She was calling him out while making a joke. She was basically saying she helped get his film get all this buzz and he never bothered to introduce himself or say hello. Also, in Korea, her career is as prolific as Meryl Streep or Frances McDormand and her saying “Where were you in Tulsa?” was another dig showing that his production company didn’t take Minari or her seriously. She is known for giving zero f**** in Korea and always says what she wants to say, because she’s basically earned that right.

  21. Blues clues says:

    Her speech was wonderful and if she had not mentioned his name, just by him walking in front of her off stage( he didn’t bother to help) the HW media would have talk about him. His bots immediately went to work saying she flirted with him. Puke worthy.
    They have failed at covering, coddling and praising this yoke because other than them he is irrelevant.
    She politely said in the speech that Prom King stinky mispronounced her name and didn’t care to meet the cast or show up on set of a movie he slapped his executive producer name on.
    Typical Pitt and I will tell u given his track record of being a spiteful drunk idiot he is upset with her for her remarks!

    • Shari says:

      Saying that he didn’t “bother to help is silly”. There are protocols. He showed her how to go because she was heading to the steps. Which was not the right way. They usually have other people there but notice they didn’t have anyone handing out awards. All COVID protocols. She’s in her 70′s and social distance is the best. Goodness. I get that he’s not a favorite, but trying to say he ignored or is a bit over the top.

  22. Grant says:

    God I hate people sometimes. Good Lord.

  23. Shari says:

    Blame the journalist. I guess there weren’t many big names. They need to get a name in the story to generate interest. And all the people complaining should have actually watched the show. Which they didn’t. Brad didn’t walk the RC, didn’t do any interviews. Didn’t talk to anyone. So whatever the focus was, he didn’t ask for it.

    • Blues clues says:

      Really I hope you don’t believe that bull crap. He is receiving everything he deserves. He slapped his name on a film to get credit if it was received well. Didn’t bother to do anything else. Those are facts. He has been galavanting maskless on beaches and art galleries all the world and when he is on camera at the Oscars he abides by protocol and COVID 19 restrictions. Bwaahhaa

  24. Dierski says:

    She is amazing, and I love that she dgaf.

    On a superficial note, I’m late to reviewing all the the oscar fashions this week, but I love her all black ensemble with the front pockets! She looks great, but also comfortable, and I want a version for my closet.