Ke Huy Quan (Short Round) from Indiana Jones Shocked at the Oscars

in Movies & TV

Steven Spielberg and Ke Huy Quan on the set of 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' (1984)

Credit: Lucasfilm

If you’re of a particular vintage, you will remember the character Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). Those fans of The Goonies (1985) will remember him as Data.

Actor Ke Huy Quan in his role as Short Round in Indiana Jones
Credit: Paramount Pictures

The actor in question is Ke Huy Quan, a man whose career trajectory wasn’t too dissimilar to that of Brendan Fraser in the noughties and 2010s. I.e., a downhill slalom slope. On Sunday evening, March 12, 2023, these two wonderful guys shook off all the negativity and cobwebs of that era (for them both) and launched themselves into the 2020s with “Whale-sized Hearts” and shouting out loud, “This is the American dream!”

Ke Huy Quan landed the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Going from famous actors in the 80s and 90s to all but anonymous and out of acting work for nearly 20 years, then coming full circle to win an Oscar? Sounds damn sure like the American dream. Impossible is nothing.

The story of Ke Huy Quan seems as unlikely as it is improbable. He regaled us in his impassioned acceptance speech tales of how he spent a year in a refugee camp in Hong Kong as a child. He was later resettled to the USA on a refugee resettlement program. Shortly after, he was plucked from obscurity from a casting at his elementary school to land a role in one of the biggest movie franchises on the planet, Indiana Jones. He credits Steven Spielberg and George Lucas for his career to this day.

After Indiana Jones, Ke Huy Quan’s next big pop culture moment was starring as Data in the classic 80’s children’s movie The Goonies (1985).

Jeff Cohen, Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, and Ke Huy Quan in 'The Goonies' (1985)
Credit: Warner Bros.

           Related: Disney+ Set To Develop New Goonies TV Series

After that, however, the work dried up for the actor previously widely known for his turn as Short Round. He struggled to find acting work in the United States after exiting childhood, as is often the case for famous child stars. Quan turned to stunt choreography in the late 90s after enrolling in the University of Southern California film program. It was in that line of work he would remain until recently.

Inspired by the success of Crazy Rich Asians (2018), starring the incredible Michelle Yeoh, he felt there were roles for him once more. In 2018, he got a talent agent, and two weeks later, the co-director of Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Daniel Kwan, gave him a call to audition for the movie. The rest, as they say, is history!

The casting director had Quan in mind for the role, but he found out he had left acting and had moved on with the search. Serendipity. That’s the story of Quan´s life. Harrison Ford was onstage at the Dolby Theatre to congratulate Quan…And who knows, perhaps fresh from his best-supporting actor win, we’ll hear him call after Dr. Jones again? The following Indiana Jones franchise installment returns to the big screen on June 1, 2023.

indiana jones harrison ford
Credit: Lucasfilm

           Related: Report: Disney Plans the Future of ‘Indiana Jones’ Franchise

As if the Oscars show 2023 wasn’t nostalgic enough with the stellar comeback of Brendan Fraser into the public Zeitgeist, we not only had two but three actors of nostalgic 80s and 90s vintage triumph on Sunday evening at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Jamie Lee Curtis, the Hollywood genre film icon, also picked up a gong for best supporting actress. Which many fans have been quite unhappy about, given the beautiful performance from Golden Globe winner Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Nevertheless, Sunday evening was an epic pop culture triumph for folks who grew up in the 80s or early 90s. It transported us back to the childhood days of Indiana Jones movies when they were as fresh as the sweet cinema popcorn you bought to watch them.

So, to Brendan Fraser and Ke Huy Quan (Short Round), it’s good to have you back; we missed you!

What did you think about the epic comeback of Ke Huy Quan (Short Round)? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

in Movies & TV

View Comment (1)