Steven Yeun is finally getting the recognition he deserves thanks to his role as Jacob Yi Minari. In addition to receiving his first Oscar nomination on March 15, Yeun also became the first Asian-American nominee for best actor in Oscars history. Along with Riz Ahmed's nomination in the same category, this year's ceremony marked the first time two men of East or South Asian descent were recognized in the same year. Miyoshi Umeki and Haing S. Ngor are currently the only Asian-American actors to win Oscars in the supporting actor and actor categories.
In the history of the Oscars, only five men of East or South Asian descent have been nominated for best actor. Of the five – including Yeun, Ahmed, Yul Brynner, Topol, and Sir Ben Kingsley – only Brynner and Kinglsey took home the Brynner award for 1956 The king and me and Kingsley for 1982 Gandhi. Despite Brynner's Buryat ancestry, his casting as King of Siam was viewed as problematic. It's been 18 years since Kinglsey was nominated for his role as Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani in House made of sand and fogSo Yeun's nomination was a long time coming.
"It's probably a bummer that it does. This is a tough question for me," Yeun said earlier diversity write about potential story with a nomination. "As great as it would be to set a precedent or be part of a moment that breaks a ceiling, I personally don't want to be caught up in that moment either. The truth that I try to understand for myself is who I am , individually. "
He continued, "I'm happy to be serving a bigger moment for the fellowship. And I'm happy to be driving narrative and showing who we are because I am, too. I'm an Asian American and the pride that I am But for me it is really about carrying my space and myself through this life and making sure that I say it from my point of view, but it would be great and I hope that we can do a lot more of it and it won't be a problem for the future. "