Ke Huy Quan’s feel-great comeback story notched another milestone on Sunday night. The 51-year-old actor, a beloved child star in the 1980s, won the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” becoming the first Asian man to win one of SAG’s film awards.
“It’s a really emotional moment for me,” a choked-up Quan said on Sunday. “Recently, I was told that if I won tonight, I would be the very first Asian actor to win in this category. When I heard this, I quickly realized that this moment no longer belongs to just me.”
His victory comes one year after history was made on the television side of the SAG Awards, when Lee Jung-jae (“Squid Game”) became the first Asian male actor to win a TV award.
Quan, who was born in Vietnam, pointed out the other Asian and Asian-American nominees for film awards at the SAGs: his costars Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu and “The Whale” actress Hong Chaum, as well as his “Everything Everywhere” costars Harry Shum Jr. and 94-year-old James Hong.
He continued, “When I stepped away from acting it was because there were so few opportunities. The landscape looks so different now than before. So thank you so much to everyone in this room who contributed to these changes.”
Quan finished his speech with his voice breaking, as he said, “To all those at home, who are struggling and waiting to be seen, please keep going because the spotlight will one day find you. Thank you everyone or rooting for me. I will be rooting for you.”
Quan’s victory Sunday was in addition to numerous accolades the actor has collected this season, including the Golden Globe, Broadcast Film Critics Award, New York Film Critics Award and National Society of Film Critics Award.
He is the frontrunner to win the Oscar on March 12, where he would join Cambodian actor Haing S. Ngor (1984’s “The Killing Fields”) as just the second Asian man ever to win Best Supporting Actor.