Youn’s Soon-ja comes at a time when her character’s son-in-law Jacob (Steve Yeun) and daughter Monica (Yeri Han) are struggling to set up their dream garden. The family live in a rectangular house on cinder blocks and adjust to small town life with their two children, between Anne (Noel Cho) and high school student David, who has a heart problem (Alan Kim). At first, David dislikes his grandmother with her wrestling fixation on television, disparaging her by saying, “She smells of Korea.”
But roommates quickly become thieves with a shared penchant for swallowing Mountain Dew and wandering around the nearby forest. This is where Soon-ja finds the right place near a cove to grow Korean herb minari. His contribution turns out to be the probable salvation for those close to him. The scenes with Granny and David together are pure movie magic, even though she wears male underwear and swears. Then there’s the Screen Actors Guild Awards, where Youn will compete in the Supporting Actress category, as well as for Outstanding Cast in a Film.
Helena Zengel (“News from the World”)
This 12-year-old Berlin-born girl has more than her own face to Tom Hanks in Paul Greengrass’ latest film. She appeared in the lead role of an aggressive and traumatized nine-year-old girl in the 2019 drama “System Crasher”, which won her the German Film Award for Best Actress in her country’s version of the Oscars. This led her to orphan Joanna Leonberger in “News of the World”, which takes place in 19e century Texas as the country tried to heal its divisions after the Civil War.
Zengel has no problem following Hanks on screen, and they make a colorful pair – part “True Grit” and part “The Miracle Worker”, as she grows up to trust Captain Kidd and learns her language. Zengel’s lauded performance saw her join other child stars like Anna Paquin, Macauley Culkin and Haley Joel Osment as one of the youngest Golden Globe nominees. Unfortunately, she lost to a former child actress, Jodie Foster in “Le Mauritanien”.
How did she seal the deal to win her role gem? As she told Variety, she and her mother flew to London so that she could meet the filmmakers. During the audition, “I had a moment where I had to bite my mother, and I got the part.” Zengel was nominated for Best Young Performer at the Critics Choice Awards, but lost to Alan Kim from “Minari”. Next is the Screen Actors Guild Awards, where she is nominated for Best Supporting Actress.