Though the moment the Korean performer called English people "snobbish" after winning the British organization's honor for Best Supporting Actress made headlines as one of the best moments of the night, the performer has since clarified that she chose the wrong word, and her true intent was lost in translation.
"I'm sorry," she said Thursday night during a Q&A tied to her ongoing Film at Lincoln Center retrospective. "Actually, I admire the British very much."
She explained that, since British people have a long history and "big pride," they deserve to act snobbish, though she stressed: "Hear me saying this: Oh, please, big apology for the British [people]. Hello, Britain, forgive me."
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) April 11, 2021
The 73-year-old actress also expressed admiration for many British actors, including Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, and Maggie Smith ("I love all of them," she said) as well as Ian McKellen, who she "adores."
During the April 11 BAFTA telecast, the actress — who plays the charismatic grandmother at the center of Lee Isaac Chung's Best Picture-nominated immigrant story about a Korean family working toward prosperity in rural America — appeared shocked when she claimed an acting prize.
"I'm just very honored being nominated — well, not nominated, I'm the winner now!" she said. "Every award is meaningful, but this one, especially being recognized by British people, known as snobbish people, [that] they approve of me as a good actor, I am very, very, very happy. Thank you so much."
When moderator Dennis Lim told her he hoped she'd have another opportunity to give an acceptance speech at the April 25 Oscars, where she's nominated for Best Supporting Actress, she didn't mince words.
"I didn't expect to be having this well-reception in America. So, this is a happy surprise but it's really tiring... It's too much for a -year-old lady," she said. "I know why you call it 'racing' or 'campaigning!'"
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