Former The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun had a big day yesterday as he landed his first Oscar nomination for his work in Minari. New Jeopardy! guest host Katie Couric noticed, and shared a post celebrating what is also an Academy Awards milestone: the first major nomination for an Asian American in the Best Actor category. It’s a big month for diversity in the world of entertainment, as Katie Couric is herself breaking barriers this month -- in her case on television -- as well.
It was a big day for the Oscars yesterday, as the most recent batch of nominations was officially announced. Not only were two women nominated for Best Director, but nine of the 20 acting nominees came from varying backgrounds ethnically. Minari ultimately landed six nominations, including one for actor Steven Yeun, who has been nominated in the Best Actor category for his work. Katie Couric had recently interviewed Yeun and director Lee Isaac Chung, and celebrated with the two on Twitter:
It’s a big month for milestones in general, as Katie Couric just hit one of her own. After a long tenure with Alex Trebek as the host of Jeopardy!, the long-running game show has had on a series of guest hosts to fill Trebek’s shoes in the short term. This has included previous Jeopardy! winner Ken Jennings and also executive producer Mike Richards. This week, Katie Couric began her tenure as the Jeopardy! guest host, becoming the first female to do so.
A slew of other guest hosts are going to take the reins over the next few months, including former NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Dr. Oz and some other leading ladies, including The Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik and Savannah Guthrie. (The Big Bang Theory actress even mentioned it was a lifelong "dream come true.") It's hard telling which person -- if any of the upcoming hosts -- the show will stick with, but it is currently making history either way.
As for Minari, the new movie had a quietly charming release. It initially won multiple awards upon release at the Sundance International Film Festival before the world shut down. Then in February of 2021, A24 released the film into theaters and onto VOD platforms, where it racked up impressive notices and now some awards nods.
Steven Yeun himself has been quiet online since his Oscar nomination, though he told the LA Times he ate a Chia seed pancake to celebrate. Still, he has spent a considerable amount of time promoting Minari in the days and weeks leading up to and after the release of Lee Isaac Chung's film. Minari has clearly been a big focal point for the actor over the last year, and some of his former peers and co-workers shared their support after the big nomination came through, including The Walking Dead showrunner and famous co-stars such as Norman Reedus.
We'll have to wait and see if he ultimately takes home the major trophy, particularly since Chadwick Boseman landing a posthumous nod for Netflix's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom has been a big topic of conversation, but it an exciting development nonetheless.