Oscar winner Ke Huy Quan felt joy when his “born name” was read aloud at Dolby

Ke Huy Quan attends the 95th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Announcing his name at the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday was “a very special moment” for newly crowned Oscar winner Ke Huy Quan – who was advised to change his name early in his career.

After winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, a triumphant Quan stopped by the press room next to the Dolby Theater and remembered his manager for once encouraging him to take a stage name. The ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ star was credited as ‘Jonathan Quan’ or ‘Jonathan Ke Quan’ in some of his early films like ‘Breathing Fire’ and ‘Encino Man’.

“When I started as a kid, it was my real name, Ke Huy Quan, and then I remember when it got really difficult, my manager said to me, ‘Maybe it’s easier if you sounded an American name,'” Quan told reporters in the press room.

“I was so desperate for a job that I would do anything. And it’s crazy that … I would try a different name – not the name I was given – but it can only show you how desperately I’ve tried trying and trying to do things differently.”

Quan won his first Oscar for his moving role as immigrant father and laundromat owner Waymond Wang in All At Once on Sunday night – which took home the coveted Best Picture award. During the 2023 awards season, Quan has been vocal about being shunned by Hollywood after breaking into the entertainment industry as a child actor.

“When I decided to get back into acting … the very first thing I wanted to do was go back to my birth name,” Quan continued.

“And tonight to see Ariana [DeBose] Open this envelope and say “Ke Huy Quan”… I was so emotional. The first image that came to my mind was my mother…who is the reason I am in America was the reason I have a better life. I have all these options. … She sacrificed so much.”

Quan was ecstatic when he arrived in the press room – smiling from ear to ear, hopping up and down, holding up his Oscar trophy and blowing kisses to the crowd before leaving to celebrate.

“Wow wow wow!” he exclaimed. “You are the most beautiful looking group of people I have ever seen. First, can you believe I’m holding one of these? … So that’s the famous room where all the winners go. Wow. Hello! “

The 51-year-old actor also shared a nostalgic salute with his ‘Goonies’ co-stars almost four decades after playing Data in the 1980s cult classic.

“My younger self wouldn’t know all the struggles I went through to be here because he was just having the time of his life, as a kid, being on a set… on a pirate ship, going down a water slide,” Quan said , while reminiscing about his “Goonies” days.

“I love them all so much and every single one of them was so happy. sean [Astin] outstretched—Josh [Brolin]Martha [Plimpton] – and we are always connected. Family is forever. Idiots never say die.”

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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