Ke Huy Quan, the comeback star of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” has been the feel-good story of the awards season — and he just made history at the Screen Actors Guild Awards with his win for best performance by a male actor in a supporting role.
Quan is the first Asian male to win a film acting award at the annual guild ceremony since its inception in 1994. He’s also only the second Asian actor to win any individual SAG prize in either film or television, one year after “Squid Game’s” Lee Jung-jae won for male actor in a drama series.
While on stage accepting his award, an emotional Quan revealed that he only recently heard the news that he would be the first Asian male film winner. “This moment no longer belongs to just me, it also belongs to everyone who has asked for change,” he said. “When I stepped away from acting it was because there were so few opportunities.” The SAG winner then looked across the crowd calling out the current nominees including co-stars Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu. “The landscape looks so different now than before. So thank you so much to everyone in this room who contributed to these changes.”
He then turned to address the actors watching from home, “Please keep on going because the spotlight will one day find you.”
Quan’s performance as Waywond Wang, the meek and goofy husband who sets out on a quest with his wife Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) to save the multiverse, is the undisputed frontrunner for the Oscar after garnering multiple industry accolades including the Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards.
If the 51-year-old Vietnamese actor wins the Oscar, he would be only the second Asian winner ever in supporting actor, after Haing S. Ngor for “The Killing Fields” (1984). In 95 years of the Academy Awards, only five actors of Asian descent have won Oscars in any of the four categories: Ben Kingsley (“Gandhi”) and F. Murray Abraham (“Amadeus”) for best actor, Miyoshi Umeki (“Sayonara”) and Yuh-Jung Youn (“Minari”) in supporting actress, and the aforementioned Ngor.
Quan isn’t the only Asian nominee from this year’s ceremony. His “Everything Everywhere” co-stars Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu are among the nominees in lead and supporting actress, respectively. The former is the second Asian woman nominated in lead since Ziyi Zhang for “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005). In addition, Hong Chau (“The Whale”) is nominated alongside Hsu, marking the first time in SAG history two Asians are nominated in the same category.
The only other Asian men who have competed in supporting actor at SAG have been Ben Kingsley (2000’s “Sexy Beast”), Ken Watanabe (2003’s “The Last Samurai”) and Dev Patel (2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire” and 2016’s “Lion”).
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is nominated for 11 Oscars including best picture. Final Oscar voting begins on March 2.
To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.