Ke Huy Quan, fighting back tears, accepted the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in Everything Everywhere All at Once, the first acting role in 25 years for the child star of Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
“Dreams are something you have to believe in. I almost gave up on mine.” the 51-year-old actor said to an Oscar audience Sunday that included Steven Spielberg, who cast him as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom back in 1984. “To all of you out there: Please keep your dreams alive.”
Ke Huy Quan also noted that his 84-year-old mother was at home watching, and thanked his wife, Echo, “who month after month, year after year, for 20 years, told me that one day, my time will come.”
Everything Everywhere All at Once went on to win seven Oscars, including for Best Picture and Best Director for The Daniels, the duo of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
Kwan and Scheinert also won for Best Original Screenplay, Michelle Yeoh won for Best Actress, and Jamie Lee Curtis won for Best Supporting Actress. Paul Rogers won for Best Editing.
The film was nominated for 11 Oscars in all. Other Everything Everywhere All at Once nominees included Best Supporting Actress nominees Stephanie Hsu.
Among the films it beat in the Best Picture category was Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, but Spielberg didn’t seem to mind: He rose and applauded as the film received a rapturous standing ovation. Among the other Best Picture nominees were Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water.
Encino Man Stars Had a Big Night
His last major American role, for many years, was in 1992’s Encino Man, with future The Whale star Brendan Fraser — who is the other great comeback story of the last year.
Fraser won Best Actor for his performance in The Whale, in which he played a shut-in, 600-pound teacher who is struggling to reconnect with his estranged daughter.
Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel noted the good fortunes of the two Encino Man stars when he joked: “Two actors from Encino Man are nominated for Oscars. What an incredible night this must be for the two of you and what a very difficult night for Pauly Shore.”
When Ke Huy Quan left acting, he enrolled at the University of Southern California to learn filmmaking. In 1997, he appeared in the 1997 Chinese film Red Pirate. In 2000, he was part of the crew of X-Men. He also worked for several years for Wong Kar Wai’s production company.
Ke Huy Quan Never Gave Up
At 49, he decided to give acting another shot — and two weeks later, landed his role in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Ke Huy Quan told The Associated Press in December that he’s often overwhelmed by emotions thinking of his comeback.
“I didn’t think this day would come. It was a day I wanted for so long, for decades. And it’s finally here,” he said. “When you have a dream and you kind of bury it because you think it won’t come true, to see it finally come true is incredible.”
He added: “For the longest time, all I wanted was just a job. … Just an opportunity to act, to show people what I can do. This movie, Everything Everywhere All at Once, has given me so much beyond anything I could have ever asked for.”