The Walking Dead has had its slew of amazing actors come and go over the years but one of the OG cast members made history Monday morning. Actor Steven Yeun, who played Glenn Rhee on AMC’s The Walking Dead for multiple seasons, was nominated for an Academy Award. Why does that matter you ask? Yeun is the first Asian American actor to ever be nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. Why it never happened sooner with other actors is beyond me.
However, it was Yeun’s earnest and heartfelt acting in the film Minari that won over the academy.
Yeun is nominated in the 2021 Best Actor Oscar race opposite Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Riz Ahmed for “Sound of Metal,” Anthony Hopkins for “The Father,” and Gary Oldman in “Mank.” Some pretty stiff competition. But an honor to be recognized among the elite.
In an interview with Variety published last December, Yeun reconciled himself with the prospect of becoming the first Asian-American Best Actor nominee at the Academy Awards. “It’s probably a bummer that that is the case. This is a hard one for me,” the actor said. “As great as it would be to set a precedent or be part of a moment that breaks through a ceiling, I personally don’t want to be ensnared by that moment, either. The truth that I’m trying to understand for myself is who I am, individually.”
Yeun continued, “I’m happy to serve a larger moment for the community. And I’m happy to push narratives and show who we are because I am that, too. I am an Asian American and the pride I have for that is immense. But also, for me, it’s really about carrying my space and myself through this life and making sure that I tell it true from my perspective. But it would be awesome, and I hope that we can have many more of those and that it won’t be an issue moving forward.”
In the film Minari, the plot follows a family of South Korean immigrants who try to make it in rural America during the 1980s.
The 2021 Academy Awards will take place Sunday, April 25.