‘Minari’s Lee Isaac Chung Talks History-Making Oscar Nominations; Hopes Film Brings Unity To The Country As Violence Against Asians Continue

“Honestly, my head has not caught up to it,” Minari director/writer Lee Isaac Chung told Deadline in regards to the six Oscar nominations his American family drama received on Monday morning. “My heart is full but my head can’t wrap around what happened this morning.”

Minari earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures. In addition, Steven Yeun made history as the first Asian American nominated for Best Lead Actor at the Oscars while Youn Yuh-jung made history as the first Korean actress to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Needless to say, it was a huge day for the A24 film about the American Dream.

Chung said he felt humbled for the nomination because it is the Academy and to be recognized by his peers and colleagues. “It means so much to me because we made this as a team…we made this as a family,” he said. “I just feel so damn proud for the entire family behind Minari.”

He said it was so “gratifying” to see all the respect and praise Minari has received. In regards to Yeun and Youn’s history-making nominations, he said that those are not lost on him. He’s happy that the Korean and Asian community as a whole can celebrate the movie. More than that, he is happy that this film has reached a wider community.

“I hope that what we are putting forward with this film is that we are not an issue — we are human beings first and foremost,” said Chung. He goes on to talk about how he is disheartened about the surge of violence against the Asian community in the country but has also seen that people outside of the Asian community are connecting with Minari and seeing as one of their own. He feels a sense of unity and says that the response to Minari is a “step in the right direction.”

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