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Ke Huy Quan‘s impressive awards season run and celebrated return to Hollywood capped off at the 2023 Oscars with a joyous embrace of his Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom co-star Harrison Ford.
Ford, whose latest Indiana Jones adventure The Dial of Destiny is set to hit theaters this June, served as the presenter for the best picture category at the 95th annual ceremony. Thus, he was already onstage when Quan accepted the win alongside his castmates and the creative team of Everything Everywhere All at Once.
The result was an exciting moment in which the two elated stars embraced while celebrating EEOAO‘s historic win. Their reunion capped off a season of the duo repeatedly celebrating each other’s presence in Hollywood and on the awards circuit nearly 40 years after making the Steven Spielberg-directed Temple of Doom. And it became one of the main moments of the night, with Quan standing to cheer for Ford as he took the stage to present the category and, once onstage together, briefly breaking away from Ford to ensure the 1923 and Shrinking star could hand the Oscar to the film’s producers ahead of the Everything Everywhere All at Once team’s acceptance speech.
According to Entertainment Weekly, that reunion was not limited to the stage, with the duo reconnecting — with an added handshake between Ford and EEAAO co-director Daniel Kwan — as Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel said his closing remarks.
All throughout the 2023 awards season Quan, who played Wan Li — a young pickpocket in Shanghai nicknamed “Short Round” who happens to make Ford’s Indiana his target before the two bond — reconnected, with he and Ford repeatedly seen celebrating. “I’m so happy for him. He’s a great guy,” Ford said in a January interview with Entertainment Tonight. “He’s a wonderful actor. He was when he was a little kid, and he still is.”
And in a December interview with Uproxx, Ford expressed that Quan’s New York Critics Circle award for supporting actor and a potential Oscar nomination was “well deserved!”
“I’ve had the opportunity to see the film. He is really terrific in his movie. And I’m so glad to see him … and what he has become,” Ford added. “I’m so happy for him.”
The question was in response to the duo’s initial reunion, which took place at the D23 Expo back in September. Quan was in attendance to promote season two of the Disney+ series Loki, with Ford also there for Marvel’s Captain America: New World Order.
“As I get closer, he turns and points his finger at me, and he has that classic, famous, grumpy Harrison Ford look,” Quan told The New York Times about the reunion. “I go, ‘Oh my gosh, he probably thinks I’m a fan and he’s gonna tell me to not come near him.’ But he looks and points at me and says, ‘Are you Short Round?’ Immediately, I was transported back to 1984, when I was a little kid, and I said, ‘Yes, Indy.’ And he said, ‘Come here,’ and gave me a big hug.”
Recalling their relationship at the time of filming the Indiana Jones movie, Quan added that while he didn’t know who Ford was, having not seen Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark until after they finished their shared film, “he was an amazing guy.”
“So down-to-earth, so humble, and really generous as an actor,” he recounted of how they bonded. “And he taught me how to swim. We were just hanging out at the swimming pool in Sri Lanka in our hotel, and he says, ‘Ke, do you know how to swim?’ I didn’t, so he says, ‘Come on, I’ll teach you.'”
Their reunion highlights the long journey Quan has had with Hollywood, in which the actor of Vietnamese decent stepped back from onscreen roles and pivoted to behind-the-camera work amid a dearth of opportunities.
“I remember not having one single audition for an entire year,” Quan told The Guardian in November of his acting experiences in his early 20s. “I thought: ‘What am I doing? I can’t be waiting for the phone to ring every day.’ I was 23 at that time. I was so lost. I just didn’t see a future for myself as an actor.”
That was, until 2018, when — as he recounted several times during awards season — the success of Crazy Rich Asians gave him hope that there were opportunities for Asian actors in Hollywood.
Oscars night also saw Quan reuniting with his Encino Man co-star, Brendan Fraser, who also took home an Academy Award on Sunday, and his Indiana Jones and Goonies director Spielberg. Quan and Fraser marveled at their wins 32 years after Encino Man, with Quan telling GMA backstage of the Oscar statuette: “One of the most beautiful things this season is seeing this man again, and seeing him hold that.”
When speaking backstage to press, including THR, the Goonies star added, “During one of the commercial breaks, I ran up to Steven Spielberg and he gave me a big hug. He said, ‘Ke, you are now an Oscar-winning actor,’ and hearing him say that meant the world to me. I still cannot believe it. My younger self would not know all the struggles I went through to be here because he was just having the time of his life being a kid, being on a set, on a pirate ship going down a water slide. [Goonies castmates] Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Jeff Cohen, every single one of them is so happy. Sean [Astin] reached out. Josh [Brolin], Martha [Plimpton] and we are family forever. Goonies never say die.”
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