Teo Yoo Wears Turtle Brooch to the Oscars in Honor of His Pet Tortoise

96th annual academy awards arrivals
Teo Yoo Wears Turtle Brooch to the 2024 OscarsArturo Holmes - Getty Images

Teo Yoo is paying tribute to a very special pet on the red carpet: His beloved pet tortoise, Momo, who passed away last year.

Yoo, the star of Past Liveswhich is one of ten films nominated for Best Picture tonight—wore a turtle brooch to the Oscars 2024 red carpet to honor Momo, and it was absolutely the star of his classic Hollywood outfit at the Oscars this evening.

96th annual academy awards arrivals
Yoo poses on the red carpet.Marleen Moise - Getty Images

"I had Momo for ten years, after the book by Michael Ende," Yoo said, referring to Momo, a German fantasy novel published in 1973. (Yoo was born and raised in Germany; he now lives in South Korea.)

"I'm going to grieve for a while," he said about his pet, and has no plans to get a new one anytime soon. "I was in tears for about three days" after Momo died, he said. "It's the moment you have with your pet like, 'Oh my god, life is over!'"

96th annual academy awards arrivals
A close-up of Yoo’s brooch.Arturo Holmes - Getty Images

Yoo's pet Momo was a leopard tortoise. According to the Spruce Pets, leopard tortoises are "slow, quiet, and not aggressive. They're generally good-natured animals and not the most exciting of pets." Momo had his own Instagram account, @momotort, dedicated to his life. Yoo adopted him back in 2013, and has spoken about his love for his pet in interviews over the years. Plus, his fan club in Korea is also called Momos, after his turtle.

Past Lives is up for two awards tonight: Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, for writer Celine Song. She already made Oscars history as the first Asian woman to be nominated in the category, and would further make history as the first Asian woman to win if she takes home the trophy this evening.

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