‘Minari’ Youn Yuh-jung, Steven Yeun make it to TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list

Published September 16, 2021, 10:54 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

TIME magazine released its annual list of the 100 Most Influential People and it includes “Minari” stars Youn Yuh-jung and Steven Yeun.

Youn Yuh-jung won best supporting actress at this year’s Academy Awards, making her the first Korean to win an Oscar acting award, while Yeun was nominated for best actor. “Minari” was also nominated for best picture, best director, best original score and best original screenplay.

Youn Yuh-jung and Steven Yeun in “Minari” (Korean Film Council, A24)

“It features extraordinary leaders from around the world working to build a better future, from entertainers striving to make Hollywood more inclusive to activists fighting for sustainability and human rights,” wrote Edward Felsenthal, editor-in-chief and CEO of TIME about the 18th annual TIME 100 list.

Yeun wrote a piece for TIME to introduce Youn Yuh-jung, saying, “It’s not easy to write about someone you admire. Part of my admiration for YJ [Yuh-jung] is that she would refuse and reject any sort of lionizing. She embraces being human. Imperfectly perfect.”

“The first time I ever met her, I was so drawn in by her presence. It required your full attention. It forced you into the moment. I’ve rarely met people with her level of confidence—it feels like a confidence born from a deep sense of self. I think it’s easy to say that she might have attained this through age, but those who know of Youn Yuh Jung’s career and life would know that her entire existence has been a protest against the boxes that tried to trap her,” he said.

He added, “From navigating and breaking through societal expectations to playing fully realized (and deeply human) characters on the screen, she has forged a path that only she could have. I am a fan not just because of her acting prowess but because she has been a singularly unique presence in everything I’ve ever seen her do.”

“For the world to know her better, following her Oscar-winning performance in our film Minari, makes me happy for the world. That we all might receive a genuine person: one who isn’t afraid to tell the truth, and who does so with a care and grace that connects with everyone,” Yeun said.

American actress Tessa Thompson wrote the piece about Yeun, saying, “Steven Yeun is somebody that people want to rally around. When we worked on the 2018 film Sorry to Bother You together, he would come on set and lift the collective energy of everyone with his natural spirit. He has such a tremendous capacity for compassion, for empathy, for love, for vulnerability, for care.”

“In Minari, all of these things were seamlessly funneled into his role as the family’s hardworking father. He’s handled the accolades from that film—including, in 2021, becoming the first Asian American to ever be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor—with a tremendous amount of grace,” she added.

Thompson said, “Steven has always cared for the people in his community, and seeing his leadership gives me hope that we will come to a place where accomplishments like the ones he’s achieved will be frankly just less noteworthy. He’s a deeply fantastic human and a true leading man. It’s been very gratifying to see him become one of the Internet’s boyfriends.”

Here is the complete list of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021:


Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Naomi Osaka

Alexei Navalny

Britney Spears

Sherrilyn Ifill

Dolly Parton

Shohei Ohtani

Cathy Park Hong

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Manjusha P. Kulkarni, Russell Jeung and Cynthia Choi

Muna El-Kurd and Mohammed El-Kurd


Billie Eilish

Ben Crump

Adi Utarini

Sunisa Lee

Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy

Fatih Birol

Aurora James

Adar Poonawalla

Phyllis Omido

Frans Timmermans

Indyra Mendoza and Claudia Spellmant

Roger Cox

Olimpia Coral Melo Cruz

Dorottya Redai

Esther Ze Naw Bamvo and Ei Thinzar Maung


Simone Biles

Tim Cook

Shonda Rhimes

Timbaland and Swizz Beatz

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Tom Brady

Youn Yuh Jung

Allyson Felix

Angélique Kidjo

Kenneth C. Frazier and Kenneth I. Chenault

Luiza Trajano


Kate Winslet

Bad Bunny

Chloé Zhao

Jason Sudeikis

Scarlett Johansson

Lil Nas X

Jessica B. Harris

Bowen Yang

Tracee Ellis Ross

Mark Bradford

N.K. Jemisin

Steven Yeun

Daniel Kaluuya

Omar Sy

Barbara Kruger

Kane Brown


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Joe Biden

Xi Jinping

Liz Cheney

Kamala Harris

Mario Draghi

Tucker Carlson

Naftali Bennett

Stacey Abrams

Nayib Bukele

Donald Trump

Narendra Modi

Mahbouba Seraj

Joe Manchin

Ebrahim Raisi

Rochelle Walensky

Mamata Banerjee

Ron Klain

Elisa Loncon Antileo

Abdul Ghani Baradar


Jensen Huang

Elon Musk

Adrienne Banfield Norris, Willow Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

Katalin Kariko

Mary Barra

John Nkengasong

MiMi Aung

Vitalik Buterin


Barney Graham

Friederike Otto and Geert Jan van Oldenborgh

Kengo Kuma

Sara Menker

Lidia Morawska