In case you had your head buried in a sandpit for the past year, yes, that is the kid from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies who just won an Oscar.
Quan was widely expected to triumph after sweeping through almost all the precursor awards and in addition to winning gongs, he’s also won hearts with his amazing “can you believe this is happening?” energy.
Quan has given plenty of inspirational speeches pointing to his unexpected comeback in the industry, but his Oscars one will be one for the ages.
In his speech, he said, “Thank you! My mum is 84 years old and she’s at home watching. Mum! I just won an Oscar.
“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 happens in the movies. I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This, this is the American dream.
“Thank you so much. Thank you so much to the Academy for this honour of a lifetime. Thank you to my mum for the sacrifices she made to get me here. To my little brother, David, who calls me every day just to remind me to take good care of myself. I love you, brother!
“Thank you to Kendall for all your support and everything you’ve done.
“Thank you to A24, the Daniels, Jonathan, Jamie, Michelle and, my brother for life, Jeff Cohen.
“I owe everything to the love of my life. My wife 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! Thank you for so much for welcoming me back!”
Quan was discovered as a child actor by Steven Spielberg who cast him as Short Round opposite Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
When he won at the Golden Globes in January, he even thanked Spielberg who was in the audience. He said, “I am so happy to see Steven Spielberg here tonight. Steven, thank you.”
The year after Indiana Jones, he starred in The Goonies. After a couple more roles in the early 1990s – Breathing Fire and Encino Man with Brendan Fraser – Quan found the roles dried up.
He told Interview, “Stepping away from acting was not an easy decision to make. I had to be realistic, there were not a lot of opportunities for an Asian actor at that time. I had no choice but to do something else, so I went to film school, graduated, and started working behind the camera.”
After a 20-year break, Quan decided to have another go at his dream, and within two weeks he read the script for Everything Everywhere All At Once.
“And I got the part! So for all those doubters out there who don’t think their dream can come true, look at me. Your dream can come true as well.”
In that same speech, Quan talked about the challenges he faced as an actor of Asian heritage in an industry where the opportunities were few and far between.
“For so many years, I was afraid I had nothing more to offer. No matter what I did I would never surpass what I achieved as a kid.”