Oscar nominations 2021: Steven Yeun becomes first Asian American nominated for best actor

LOS ANGELES -- Included in a year of Oscar firsts is the only Asian American ever to be nominated for best actor.

Steven Yeun, who plays Jacob in the tender family drama "Minari," is the first American of Asian descent to score the award show's top acting nod. He joins nine other actors of color nominated, a record, including fellow best actor nominees Riz Ahmed ("Sound of Metal"), the first person of Pakistani descent nominated in an acting category, and Chadwick Boseman ("Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"), who was nominated posthumously.

Yeun's co-star Yuh-Jung Youn also received a supporting actress nomination, and "Minari" totaled six nods.

"Minari" follows a Korean family who moves to a wide-open Arkansas plot to farm the land, a film loosely based on director Lee Isaac Chung's own American immigrant experience.

MORE: 'Minari' tells personal story of Korean family going for their American dream
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'Minari' has garnered attention in the form of nominations from several wards shows. It's a movie about a Korean family who moves from California to Arkansas searching for the American Dream.



Yeun too is a child of first-generation immigrants from Korea. The 37-year-old actor was born in Seoul, but his family emigrated when he was 4 and ultimately settled in Michigan.

Yeun told the Associated Press that he brought his father to the film's premiere, and at the end, they stood up, hugged and sobbed.

"This movie is a feeling for me. The feeling is the thing that keeps it connected to everybody," Yeun said. "I don't know how it's getting its way out there, specifically. But I just do know the feeling is getting out there."

Yeun's additional acting credits include "Burning" and "The Walking Dead."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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