Ke Huy Quan, a child star who returned to the limelight after decades for ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Earning the first standing ovation of the night, Quan took the stage and shouted out to his 84-year-old mother, who is watching at home. “Mom, I just won an Oscar!”
For Quan, the win marks a particularly emotional coda for awards season. He rose to fame before his teens, playing Harrison Ford’s sidekick in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” in 1984 and appearing in “The Goonies” in 1985. But Quan quit acting soon after because he discovered that there were not many substantial film roles for Asians. He didn’t return to acting until 2021 in “Everything Everywhere” as Waymond Wang, the goofy husband of Michelle Yeoh’s multiverse laundromat owner.
“My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refuge camp. And somehow I ended up here on the biggest stage in Hollywood,” he said in tears. “They say stories like this only happen in movies. I can’t believe this is happening to me. It’s – it’s the American dream!
He was the toast of awards season, earning statues at the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and SAG Awards, as well as landing his first Oscar nod. It’s a touching coincidence that he was able to hit the awards circuit with Steven Spielberg, who worked with Quan on “Indiana Jones” and is nominated for directing the semi-autobiographical drama “The Fabelmans.”
“Dreams are something to believe in. I almost gave up on mine,” he said, holding back tears. “To all of you, please keep your dream alive.”
Before leaving the stage, Quan expressed his gratitude to the Academy and Hollywood. “Thank you,” he said. “Thank you so much for welcoming me back.”
Quan was nominated alongside Judd Hirsch for “The Fabelmans”, Brendan Gleeson for “The Banshees of Inisherin”, Barry Keoghan for “The Banshees of Inisherin”, and Bryan Tyree Henry for “Causeway”.
Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” premiered at 2022’s SXSW to critical and commercial acclaim. At the box office, the film became the rare indie hit of the pandemic era with $100 million worldwide. This is the most profitable version of A24 ever.
It’s no small feat that the film has managed to not only stay – but also dominate – the Oscars conversation for 12 months. In its record-breaking awards season, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” became only the fifth film in history to win all four major guild awards (DGA, PGA, SAG and WGA). It’s off to 11 Oscars, the most films this year, including nominations for Best Picture, Best Director for the Daniels and Best Supporting Actress for Stephanie Hsu and Jamie Lee Curtis (who won won the trophy) and Best Actress for Yeoh.
Before his big comeback, Quan lost his health insurance during COVID because he was out of work. “Everything Everywhere” was filmed in early 2020, but its theatrical release was delayed by two years due to the pandemic.
“I called my agent and said, ‘Can you please get me something? It doesn’t matter, I just need a job to meet the minimum health insurance requirements. “, he recently recounted on “The Late Late Show With James Corden”. “And I couldn’t get a single job.”
It was then that he realized that his career could go up or down thanks to the success of “Everything Everywhere All at Once”. So he called a producer and asked, “Can you please tell me something? Am I good in the movie? Nobody wants to hire me.
He recalled, “(The producer said), ‘Ke, just be patient. You just wait.