“For the longest time, all I wanted was just a job,” Ke Huy Quan said. Now he’s one of five supporting actors being considered for an Oscar.
LOS ANGELES — The only downside of Ke Huy Quan being a lock for the best supporting actor win at the Oscars is that you don’t get to hear much from the other nominees as a result. And this is a category full of interesting performances and actors at all stages of their careers.
All will be celebrated during the Academy Awards, which airs live Sunday on ABC beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. There’s still time to catch up on their performances before the show.
Here’s a bit more about the contenders:
Brian Tyree Henry
While filming “Causeway,” Jennifer Lawrence would sometimes finish a scene with Brian Tyree Henry and say to him, “You’re going to get nominated for an Oscar” and then just walk away.
Henry was a little baffled at the time, but Lawrence (a four-time nominee and one-time winner) was right.
“She was unforgiving in reminding me that this was possible. I truly owe her a debt of gratitude,” Henry told The Associated Press. “She really believed it.”
Henry plays a grieving mechanic in the film, opposite Lawrence’s soldier who is recovering from a traumatic brain injury. His character is grappling with the trauma of a car crash that killed his nephew. The nomination, he said, feels bigger than himself.
“Every single person who had a hand in making this movie deserves recognition, it wasn’t just me,” he said. “I hope that what this does is that it breaks open people’s imaginations of what they want to see me do and then I can show up and give them that.”
With 42 years in between Oscar nominations, Judd Hirsch is having a bit of deja vu.
“The first one (“Ordinary People”) is because I did a scene with a kid who was 19 or 20 years old, the second one (“The Fabelmans”) is because I did a scene with a kid who was 19 or 20 years old,” Hirsch said. The biggest difference is with that first nomination, he didn’t want to win — he was up against his co-star Timothy Hutton in the category (who won).
“This time, it’s different,” he said. “I don’t have to apologize.”
For his brief role as the eccentric Uncle Boris in Steven Spielberg’s film, he realized at a certain point that he wasn’t playing a character so much as a memory.
“It’s his memory as a young man, not as Steven now,” he said. “I had memories when I was young and they all turn out to be slight exaggerations … I thought, now this is interesting.”
Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell and Martin McDonagh dreamt of working together again since their time making “In Bruges” and they finally got their chance with “The Banshees of Inisherin.”
“It feels like we just went back in the room and said, ’It’s going to be a good one, isn’t it?” Gleeson told the AP.
In “Banshees,” Gleeson’s Colm’s abrupt plea for solitude stems from his being tired of “aimless chatting.” Feeling time slipping away, he wants to devote himself to writing music. Their discord has symbolism; the Irish Civil War is raging on the mainland. But it most reflects the struggle of an artist, perhaps a self-serious one, to balance work with the demands of social convention.
Farrell, also a nominee, said he understands himself more through Gleeson.
“I think we all, basically, are romantics,” Gleeson said. “We’re not blind, either. We know the other side of the coin.”
Even if you haven’t seen “The Banshees of Inisherin,” there’s a good chance you’ve seen the viral, heartbreaking, clip of Barry Keoghan, as Dominic, asking Kerry Condon’s Siobhán if she might ever want to “fall in love with a boy like me.” When she politely declines, he sighs: “Well, there goes that dream. I best go over there and do whatever that thing over there I was gonna do was.”
The part, Keoghan told Vanity Fair in an interview, “Was a chance to show that I can come across sinister with a bit of naivety, with a bit of pure soul and honesty. I really did want to tackle that. I really did want to push it and bring people into that world of, I can make you feel as well, rather than make you hate me and be sinister and with an absolute, evil demeanor.”
Ke Huy Quan
Ke Huy Quan tends to get emotional any time he contemplates his sudden reversal of fate. Ever since “Everything Everywhere All at Once” opened in theaters earlier this year, 51-year-old Quan — who a lifetime ago was the iconic child star of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” as Short Round and Data in “Goonies” — has been, he says, “overwhelmed by emotions every day.”
After being one of the most recognizable faces of the 80s, Quan, disheartened by a lack of roles and opportunities, decided to quit in his 20s. At 49, he gave it one last shot and two weeks later booked “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”
“For the longest time, all I wanted was just a job,” Quan said. “Just an opportunity to act, to show people what I can do. This movie, ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once,’ has given me so much beyond anything I could have ever asked for.”
“There are so many people out there who doubt themselves, who have dreams they’ve given up or didn’t think would ever come true,” Quan added. “To those people, I hope my story inspires them.”