Ke Huy Quan is the frontrunner to win the Oscar for best supporting actor thanks to his performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which has already nabbed him prizes from the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards. The upcoming Academy Awards will cap a three-year journey Quan has taken with “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The A24 multiverse drama shot in January 2020, but its theatrical release was held for two years until March 2022 because of the COVID pandemic.
During a recent interview on “The Late Late Show,” Quan said he spent the pandemic “at home trying to stay safe like everybody.” But he was also “so nervous” because no other acting offers were coming in since his comeback role in “Everything Everywhere” was being held for release for so long.
“I was about to lose my health insurance,” Quan said. “So, I called my agent and I said, ‘Can you please get me anything? It doesn’t matter, I just need one job to make the minimum requirement so I can qualify for health insurance the following year.’ And I could not get one single job. Sure enough, 2021 came and went [and I] lost my health insurance.”
After losing his health insurance, Quan realized the rest of his career and livelihood rested on the strength of “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” He called a producer on the film and asked: “Can you please tell me one thing? Am I good in the movie?” When the producer questioned why Quan would ask that, the actor told him the truth: “Well, nobody wants to hire me.”
“[The producer said], ‘Ke, Just be patient. You just wait,'” Quan said. “The movie came out in March of last year and my life has changed.”
Quan’s life really has changed. Not only is he an Oscar frontrunner, but he’s also got a new role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe courtesy of “Loki” Season 2. The actor previously told Variety that it was “Crazy Rich Asians” that motivated him to return to acting.
“When ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ came out and I saw my fellow Asian actors up on the screen, I wanted to be up there with them,” Quan said. “I called up an agent friend of mine, and I asked him if he wanted to represent me, and he said yes. Two weeks later, I got a call about this movie that stars Michelle Yeoh, written and directed by the Daniels [Kwan and Scheinert] and Waymond was one of the leads.”
Quan is of course referring to “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The film is nominated for a total of 11 Academy Awards, including best picture.