After months of talking up his work in Everything Everywhere All At Once, and winning every other award under the sun, including the Golden Globe and SAG Awards, Ke Huy Quan won the Academy Award for Best Supporting actor at the 2023 Oscars. As he tearfully took to the stage, the actor gave an emotional speech, reflecting on the trajectory of his career and giving heartfelt thanks to the people in his life.
“My journey started on a boat,” Quan started off. “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 can’t believe this is happening to me. This is the American dream!”
After thanking those who helped him along the way — including fellow Goonies actor Jeff Cohen, who is now his lawyer — Quan had a special shoutout for his wife.
“I owe everything to the love my life, Echo. Who month after month, year after year for 20 years told me that one day my time will come,” continued Quan. “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.”
Quan got his start in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, where he played the adventurer’s plucky kid sidekick Short Round. While he played a few other roles in his youth, Quan stepped back from acting in his adulthood, discouraged by the lack of roles. While he remained in the industry over the years, working behind the scenes on films (including in the stunt department on 2000’s X-Men), Quan finally broke back into the world of acting to after a successful audition for Everything Everywhere All At Once.
In Everything Everywhere All At Once, Quan played Waymond, the husband of Michelle Yeoh’s character Evelyn, and every iteration of him across the multiverse. That includes the cool, confident “Alpha Waymond”; the regular Waymond, who puts googly eyes on everything and wants to fix his marriage; and the ultra romantic and pining celebrity-universe Waymond.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is nominated for 11 awards tonight.