The comeback kid! How Ke Huy Quan resurrected his career to win an Oscar 40 YEARS after he first rose to fame in The Goonies and Indiana Jones
- Ke Huy Quan won an Oscar for his role in Everything Everywhere All At Once
- Read more: How the Oscars 2023 became the year of the comeback
Actor Ke Huy Quan topped off an incredible award season last night as he landed an Oscar nearly 40 years after he first rose to fame with appearances in eighties classics like The Goonies and Indiana Jones.
The 51-year-old has proven to be quite the Hollywood darling this season following his role in Everything Everywhere All At Once.
He played Waymond Qang, Evelyn’s husband, which earned him the award for Best Supporting Actor at the Critics Choice Awards, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture at the Golden Globes and Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards.
However he has been acting for decades but hadn’t received any major awards for his work until now.
He actually became an actor at the young age of 12, starring as the sidekick in the Harrison Ford-led movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Actor Ke Huy Quan topped off an incredible award season last night as he landed an Oscar nearly 40 years after he first rose to fame with appearances in eighties classics like The Goonies and Indiana Jones
He became an actor at the young age of 12, starring as the sidekick in the Harrison Ford-led movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Temple Of Doom went on to become a global hit, though some viewers found the film too dark and violent, and it was pivotal in the creation of the PG-13 rating for films that were too mature for children but didn’t qualify for an R rating.
Despite its financial and critical success, others criticized the film for what they found to be racist depictions of Indian and Chinese cultures.
After appearing in Steven Spielberg’s film, Quan was on screen the following year in the cult film The Goonies, which was based on a story by Spielberg and was directed by Richard Donner.
But despite playing prominent parts in two cultural major films, opportunities for the Vietnamese-born actor began to dry up in the late 1980s and 1990s.
After giving up on an acting career in the late 1990s, he enrolled in the University of Southern California’s film program to explore new opportunities.
He worked as a fight choreographer on 2000’s X-Men, and he served as acclaimed Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai’s assistant director on his science fiction romance 2046.
After the success of Crazy Rich Asians, Quan thought Hollywood was more accepting of Asian actors and began actively pursuing projects again.
He starred in last year’s surprise indie hit Everything Everywhere All At Once, which also earned widespread praise for its star Michelle Yeoh.
After appearing in Steven Spielberg’s film, Quan was on screen the following year in the cult film The Goonies, which was based on a story by Spielberg and was directed by Richard Donner
Iconic role: Quan played Indiana Jones sidekick Short Round int he second film in the series; Ford and Quan seen with Kate Capshaw in a publicity photo for Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984)
However during an appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden, the actor, 51, revealed his inactivity as a performer, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in him losing his health insurance.
While chatting with Corden, he admitted how worried he was when he was faced with the notion when the shoot for Everything Everywhere All At Once was shut down for eight months.
And then, after the filming was finally completed, Quan still faced the tough task of booking another acting job, because studios were still not going full force due to all the new health rules and regulations.
Like people all over the world, the actor recalled how he was ‘at home trying to stay safe like everybody’ during the pandemic.
Faced with losing his insurance as he approached a year of not booking a new acting job, the former child star’s worries were reaching a fever pitch.
After the success of Crazy Rich Asians, Quan thought Hollywood was more accepting of Asian actors and began actively pursuing projects again (pictured in September last year)
‘I was about to lose my health insurance. So, I called my agent and I said, “Can you please get me anything? It doesn’t matter, I just need one job to make the minimum requirement so I can qualify for health insurance the following year,’ he told Corden.
He went on to reveal, ‘I could not get one single job. Sure enough, 2021 came and went [and I] lost my health insurance.’
Now faced with living in the post-COVID world without insurance, and his confidence in limbo, Quan decided to call a producer on Everything Everywhere All At Once to ask about his performance.
‘”Can you please tell me one thing? Am I good in the movie?”‘ he said he asked the producer, who then told him to “Just be patient. You just wait.” The movie came out in March of last year and my life has changed.’
In September, he reunited with Harrison Ford for the first time in 38 years to promote their new projects in California.
Great guys: Harrison Ford, 80, praised his Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom co-star when he reacted to Quan getting an Oscar nomination
Quan shared two sweet photos of the actors catching up, both showing him wrapping his arms around the older screen star.
The two even matched each other with their jeans and gray blazers.
‘”I love you, Indy,”‘ Quan wrote in his caption, referencing a pivotal moment from Temple Of Doom.
‘Indiana Jones and Short Round reunited after 38 years,’ he added.
Describing their reunion to The New York Times, Quan approached the superstar with a ‘pounding’ heart and wondered: ‘Is he gonna recognize me? The last time he saw me, I was a little kid.’
Looking at Quan with his ‘classic, famous, grumpy Harrison Ford look,’ the 1923 star asked: ‘Are you Short Round?’
‘Yes, Indy,’ Quan replied.
Hanging in there: After starring in the classic 1985 film The Goonies, Quan’s acting prospects gradually dried up. He transitioned into roles behind the camera, working as a stunt coordinator and assistant director
Comeback vehicle: Quan has been dominating the awards circuit for his stellar performance as a naive husband in Everything Everywhere All at Once, repeatedly winning the category for Best Supporting Actor (Pictured in a still from the film with co-stars Stephanie Hsu and Michelle Yeoh)
‘Come here,’ replied Ford, giving his former sidekick ‘a big hug.’
Quan said that the moment ‘transported [him] back to 1984, when [he] was a little kid.’
And in January, Harrison praised the actor for his work as he began receiving critical acclaim for his role in Everything Everywhere All At Once.
‘I’m so happy for him,’ Ford told ET, saluting the Hollywood comeback of 51-year-old Quan. ‘He’s a great guy.’
‘He’s a wonderful actor,’ Ford said. ‘He was when he was a little kid, and he still is. I’m glad. I’m very happy for him.’
And the Hollywood icon would love to work with Quan again in the future.
When asked about the potential of a reunion on-screen, Ford replied: ‘That’d be great.’
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Quan detailed his reaction to learning about his Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
‘When I heard my name announced. I jumped and I screamed so loud.’ Quan went on to add: ‘I just cannot believe it. For so many years, I’ve always loved watching the Oscars.’
Frontrunner: The former child star recently took home a Critics’ Choice Award after winning a Golden Globe
Poignant moment: The legendary actor, 80, presented Best Picture to Quan’s film Everything Everywhere All at Once
In fact, Everything Everywhere All at Once was awarded seven Oscars on the night.
The film won Best Picture, Best Lead Actress, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor.
After receiving his Best Supporting Actor award for role as Waymond Wang in the movie, the star made a moving speech on stage.
‘My mom is 88 years old and watching from home – Ma, I just won an Oscar!’ the visibly emotional actor stated.
He then continued: ‘My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp. And somehow, I ended up here on Hollywood’s biggest stage.
‘They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This — this is the American dream!’
What a comeback: The former child actor was moved to tears accepting the award for best supporting actor
Toast of the town: Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser and Jamie Lee Curtis celebrate back stage after their Oscar wins on Sunday night
He added: ‘I owe everything to the love of my life – my wife Echo – who month after month, year after year for 20 years told me that one day one day my time will come.
‘Dreams are something you have to believe in. I almost gave up on mine. To all of you out there please keep your dreams alive.
‘Thank you so much for welcoming me back.’
His co-star James Hong, who is 94, commented: ‘He wasn’t really retired, he was waiting to ambush – and once he came back into Hollywood again he said I’m going to do it big.’
Quan’s excitable personality and habit of grabbing delighted selfies with every famous person he has met over the course of the Oscars campaign has made him probably the most beloved figure of this year’s event.
Everything Everywhere All at Once came about after director and writer Daniel Kwan said to his partner Daniel Scheinert: ‘Let’s put my mum in the Matrix.’
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