Michigan Man Nails An Oscar First
Troy's Steven Yeun became an important first at the Academy Awards when nominations for 2021 were announced on Monday.
Steven became the first ever Asian-American to be nominated in the Best Actor category. Yeun was nominated for his role in the Korean-American production of 'Minari', a heart breaking tale of a family's struggle to adjust to a new home.
Eight year old Alan Kim recently won the Critic's Choice Award for his role as young David Yi in the film.
Yeun graduated from Troy High School in suburban Detroit, and later attended Kalamazoo College before moving west to launch his career.
His first big break came in 2010, when he landed the role of Glenn Rhee in the AMC dystopian zombie drama, 'The Walking Dead'. While Yeun appreciated the exposure the show gave his career, he thought Glenn was a 'beige' character, meaning a little bland.
Yeun told Slate magazine after his six year run on the show that:
“That was a little bit of the frustration that I could never explain to the wider society, to fans of the show… It’s like: nice guy, dependable, supportive, benign — beige. And as a Korean man, I am not beige.”
Yeun has been in various film roles since before landing the job as Jacob Yi. the hard scrabble father of a Korean American family trying their hand at farming in Arkansas in the 1980s. The film was written by Lee-Isaac Chung, partially based in his experiences as a child growing up on a farm.
The movie won the Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globe Awards, even though it was produced by Americans in the US. Which brought some criticism of the Golden Globes.
Critic Lulu Wang called it the most American film of the year, tweeting:
"I have not seen a more American film than Minari this year. It’s a story about an immigrant family, IN America, pursuing the American dream. We really need to change these antiquated rules that characterize Americans as only English-speaking."
KEEP READING: See the richest person in every state