The Walking Dead fan favorite Steven Yeun is reportedly campaigning for a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars for his role in Minari. Additionally, co-star Yeri Han will campaign for Best Actress with co-stars Alan S. Kim, Will Patton, and Yuh-Jung Youn hoping to be considered for supporting categories. Word of the talent gearing up for Oscar nominations comes from A24, the studio behind the acclaimed movie.
Steven Yeun could become the first Asian-American ever to be recognized for Best Actor if he manges to get a nomination for Minari. Russian-American actor Yul Brynner, who was part Mongolian, won a Best Actor Oscar for his lead role in the 1956 movie The King and I. Years later, half-Indian English actor Ben Kingsley managed to get the win for starring in 1982’s Gandhi, which also won Best Picture; Kingsley received an additional Best Actor nomination for 2003’s House of Sand and Fog.
If any Minari actors are nominated at the Oscars, it would also mark the first time anyone of Korean descent has been recognized in the acting categories. South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho won big last year for Parasite, taking home major Oscar wins including Best Director and Best Picture, but none of the actors were nominated. Yeun had previously worked with Joon-ho on the 2017 action movie Okja, which is also critically-acclaimed and competed for the Palme d’Or at the Canne Film Festival.
Yeun is perhaps best known for starring as Glenn Rhee for over six seasons on The Walking Dead, and can still be considered one of the most popular characters the zombie drama ever featured. When he was killed off at the start of Season 7, millions of viewers stopped watching immediately, bringing about a large drop in viewers by the next week. Since then, ratings have only continued to drop, culminating in The Walking Dead getting its lowest-ever ratings near the end of Season 10. It would appear that AMC underestimated just how valuable to the series Yeun really was.
For his part, Yeun hasn’t looked back since leaving The Walking Dead, not even coming back for a special appearance. Although that could change with Tales of the Walking Dead revisiting characters from the past, Yeun has kept himself rather busy with other projects. Along with movies like Minari and Okja, he also starred in the Joe Lynch horror movie Mayhem and can be seen in the upcoming movie The Humans. He also has recurring voice roles on the animated programs Tuca & Bertie and Final Space and starred in an episode of Jordan Peele’s reboot of The Twilight Zone.
In Minari, Yeun plays Jacob Yi, a Korean man that moves his family to a small farm in Arkansas to pursue the American Dream in 1980s America. After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this year, the movie has garnered tremendous critical acclaim, scoring a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Minari is written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, who grew up on a small Arkansas farm with his South Korean family before becoming a filmmaker.
Best of luck to Yeun and the cast of Minari with their potential nominations at the Oscars. This news comes to us from Variety.