03 February 2023
The actor Ke Huy Quan has traveled an often-changing path on his way to America's most important movie honors, the Academy Awards.
The 51-year-old was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the 2022 film, Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Few Oscar nominees this year have gone as far to reach the Academy Awards as Quan. Born in Vietnam, he and his family fled that country in 1978. They settled in California.
As a child, he starred in two of the most popular films of the 1980s. Quan played the characters Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Data in The Goonies.
But after this early success, Quan struggled to find work as an adult. The film industry had few parts for Asian-American actors. The actor went to film school, and later began working behind the camera. He left his dreams of acting in the past, mostly.
But Everything Everywhere All at Once changed it all for Quan. The movie leads the 2023 Academy Awards race with 11 Oscar nominations. That includes the award for best picture. Quan is now living the dream he thought he had surrendered. The actor spoke recently with the Associated Press about the experience.
"When I heard the nomination, I jumped up and I screamed so loud," he said. "It just seemed so far-fetched. Especially when I had to step away from acting for so many years, that dream seemed like it was dead."
Quan was thankful for the support. But he had been afraid about returning to acting.
"The last time they saw me up on the screen, I was a little kid. Now, I'm a middle-aged man," he said.
"Ever since our movie came out, they have shown me nothing but love and kindness," Quan said. "This has been a wild and unbelievable ride. I didn't expect any of this. But I do hope that my story inspires them to not give up on their dreams."
The Academy Awards will take place in Hollywood, California on March 12.
I'm Caty Weaver.
The Associated Press wrote this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
scream – v. to shout or cry out
far-fetched – adj. to be unlikely to happen, not real or untrue
inspire – v. to make someone what to do something or to give them the idea that causes them to do or create something
screen – n. the flat area where movies are shown or that creates to see on a television or computer