The Best TV Moment You Missed While Watching Meghan & Harry

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We all love an awards season darling; a little curio who remains exuberant throughout the long slog of kissing rings and squeezing into couture. In 2017, Dev Patel toted Sunny Pawar, who played the child version of Patel’s Lion character, around the circuit, causing us to collectively lose our shit. Loyal Dev Patel followers got a glimpse of our man with a child (spoiler alert: as sexy as we dreamed it would be), while others got to know a talented, pint-sized actor from Mumbai. Jacob Tremblay, star of Room, and his hot dad gave us all something to write meme posts about in 2016. Julia Butters stole a scene from Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood and became a red carpet style star with turkey sandwiches in her bag as she did the rounds in 2020. 

This was supposed to be Minari star Alan Kim’s year, but things happened. Still, thanks to his win at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday night, he’s finally on his way to awards season darling status — no red carpet antics needed. Kim choked on tears Sunday night as he accepted the award for Best Young Actor/Actress in his preferred awards season attire of a sharp tuxedo. (Tuxes are only for the actual shows, it seems. Kim walked around Sundance dressed like a cowboy that also knows how to dab and wore his taekwondo uniform, complete with new purple belt — “I upgraded” — on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.)
Kim received the Critics’ Choice Award for his work in Isaac Lee Chung’s Minari, a semi-autobiographical film about Chung’s formative years in rural Arkansas as the son of South Korean immigrants. It’s a gut-wrenching film about not just the immigrant experience and the American dream, but what often goes unsaid about different family members’ individual pursuits of said dream. What if not everyone is on board with a patriarch’s plan? What if the leader of a household has to choose between giving his family water, or using it for the crops that he’s desperately trying to turn into financial security? And what is it like to be the child of a family trying to strike out on their own in an unknown climate, where someone at church asks a Korean-American boy why his “face is so flat?” And yet, Chung prevents the film from becoming one about assimilating to the stereotypical American Way, aka whiteness. The boy who asks about David’s face ends up being a friend. The family searches for a Korean community in Arkansas where they can be reminded of home.
As David Yi, Kim appears in nearly every frame of the movie opposite heavy hitters like Steven Yeun and Youh Yuh-Jung, a formidable presence as David’s grandmother. It’s through David’s interactions with his grandmother that the film gets its wry humor, a necessity when the Yis face unseen peril at nearly every turn. She asks for Mountain Dew; he pees in a cup and hands it to her. He constantly screams, “You’re not a real grandma!” at her, and in one of the most popular clips from the film, David insists, “I”m not pretty; I’m good-looking!”
Kim’s performance is transformative, and — not that awards are the be-all, end-all arbiters of what’s good — the accolades are rolling in now that we’re in the thick of awards season. His reaction to Minari’s Golden Globe win for Best Foreign Language Film went viral. The video of him screaming at the TV while Chung accepts the award with his squirming daughter on his lap is delightful, even to people who’ve never heard of Minari. Imagine being 7 (at the time of filming) and starring in a movie. Now imagine being 7 and having to laugh, cry, pout (Kim is an excellent pouter as David), and contemplate — Kim telegraphs the idea that a 7-year-old is having a deep think about things exceptionally well. David’s life is not Kim’s life, but Kim transforms into David for Minari.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we won’t get to see Yeun toting Kim around awards season in the princely way he deserves. Kim doesn’t seem to need the accolades, either. Before the awards show pomp and circumstance began, the L.A. Times asked Kim if Minari was going to make him famous. “Yes,” he said without a second’s thought. He’s prepared for when it happens, though: “I would have to stay inside all the time, because of Covid. I would also have to wear a hoodie and a full disguise.” 

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