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Commentary Entertainment

Ke Huy Quan stole everyone’s hearts at the 2023 Oscars

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The 2023 Oscars celebrated box-office hits and non-traditional stories from indie studios. The studio A24, while no stranger to the Oscars with their wins for “Room” and “Moonlight,” swept the four acting categories.

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” was the clear winner of the night, taking home seven of the 11 Oscars it was nominated for, and anyone who has seen the movie knows why. The universe-bending family drama is the perfect blend of witty dialogue with incredible action sequences and a plot you need to see twice to fully comprehend.

It was no surprise to me or many of the fans watching when Harrison Ford announced its Best Picture win at the end of the night, but it was beautiful to watch this diverse cast and production team take the stage – and to see Ke Huy Quan reunite with his 1984 “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” co-star.

Quan, who won the hearts of fans for his contagious joy on every red carpet he walked during awards season, seemed more and more surprised every time his name was called this season to accept the award for Best Supporting Actor.

Quan’s story of immigration to the United States, his uphill climb after being a child star and his incredulous joy to be among some of Hollywood’s brightest makes his awards season journey that much more incredible. If you haven’t seen his collection of celebrity selfies on Instagram, please treat yourself.

Michelle Yeoh also had a spectacular path to her own gold statue. After appearances in “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and a host of other action films, Yeoh wowed audiences with her kung fu skills and acting chops, so it was no surprise when her name was called the first non-white actress to accept the lead actress award in 20 years.

I was thrilled to see “Everything at Everywhere All At Once” have a big night, but the speeches delivered by its winners were the real treat.

All the film’s winners have waited such a long time for this coveted moment on one of the largest stages in the world. They expressed gratitude to all the people who helped get them to this point, but then they turned the spotlight on those waiting for their moment.

Yeoh, Quan and the Daniels, as directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert are called, expressed that their dreams had come true and inspired others to make their dreams a reality. They dedicated their awards to those that look like them and who one day want to be like them.

Scheinert’s speech stuck out to me in particular. His comment about drag being a “threat to nobody” was received with cheers and applause.

While this year’s Oscars participants didn’t take a particular political stance like previous years, it was heartwarming to hear a room full of people be so supportive of a community that state governments are working against right now.

My one complaint about the Oscars winners is this: Angela Bassett was robbed.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Jamie Lee Curtis did a great job in her role in “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” and she was the best hype woman for her costars and fellow nominees.

However, Bassett’s 2023 awards season wins set her up to earn the crown jewel. As the first actor or actress to be nominated for an acting role in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, I hoped she would win. It’s not often that box-office blockbusters receive Oscar buzz, and I think if anyone could pull it off, it would be Bassett.

All in all, the Oscars were a success. Host Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue was funny enough to excuse some lines that didn’t hit the mark.

Some of the presenters’ jokes could have been cut to shorten the three and a half hour show, but sometimes America needs pretty people on its screens just a little longer.

Who knows what the 2024 Oscars will bring, but I hope the Academy continues to recognize phenomenal, diverse stories and the people who tell them.

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