Ke Huy Quan Isn’t Jaded by Awards Season: ‘This Is What I’ve Always Wanted for So Long’

The "Everything Everywhere All at Once" star just won Best Supporting Performance at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 04: Ke Huy Quan accepts the Best Supporting Performance award for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”  onstage during the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 04, 2023 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Ke Huy Qan at the Independent Spirit Awards
Getty Images

Ke Huy Quan has won pretty much every award you could possibly win in a season for his supporting performance in Daniels’ “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the likely Best Picture winner at this year’s Oscars. And he just won Best Supporting Performance at the Film Independent Spirit Awards — which this year un-gendered their acting categories — for his turn in the beloved A24 film. In the film, he plays Waymond Wang, the jaunty counterpart to Michelle Yeoh’s perhaps existentially darker Evelyn Wang, who plays his wife.

Backstage at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica on Saturday, Quan was largely unflappable, considering he’s gone through the awards gauntlet to a wild degree, winning SAG, Critics Choice, BAFTA, and many other significant prizes along the road in recent weeks. He’s not jaded about it at all — and is even grateful, as the former “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “The Goonies” star now has many more opportunities than he would have otherwise.

“I don’t even know how I got here, how all of this happened,” he said backstage at the Film Independent-hosted event. “It feels incredible to be here. This is what I’ve always wanted for so long, but I didn’t think it would ever happen to me. It was just during the pandemic, not that long ago, that I couldn’t get a job. It’s been so amazing since our movie came out … I’ve been so grateful … I’m so excited every time I come to an event like this and meet so many people I’ve loved and admired for so long.”

Quan earlier this week revealed that he was struggling so much professionally, even just after the completion of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” that he lost health insurance until recently.

He also took time backstage the Independent Spirit Awards to appreciate the many craftspeople that work behind the scenes on movies that often get forgotten — roles the inevitable Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner has also filled during his long tenure in Hollywood.

“I did the boom operator. I was an assistant actor choreographer. I was an AD. I even pushed a dolly. I did various jobs,” Quan said. “I was so fascinated with all the different departments … it opened my perspective up … when I walk on set, I see everybody, I see the production assistants, the unsung heroes. The first to show up, the last to leave. They get the least pay, they are always so passionate on set and they work so hard. That’s what’s so nice. I’m looking through all of this with a new perspective now, and I love it.”

Here are all the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Award winners.

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