Albany Times Union
Quan, Curtis win at ‘no nonsense’ Oscars
LOS ANGELES — Jimmy Kimmel promised “no nonsense” at the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday as Hollywood reconvened for a ceremony that will try to move past one of the most infamous moments in Oscar history.
In one of the night’s first awards, former child star Ke Huy Quan capped his extraordinary comeback with the Oscar for best supporting actor. Quan, beloved for his roles as Short Round in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and Data in “Goonies,” had all but given up acting before being cast in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
His win, among the most expected of the night, was nevertheless one of the ceremony’s most moving moments. The audience — including his “Temple of Doom” director, Steven Spielberg — gave Quan a standing ovation as he fought back tears.
“Mom, I just won an Oscar!” said Quan, 51, whose family fled Vietnam in the war when he was a child.
“They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I can’t believe it’s happening,” Quan said. “This is the American dream.”
Minutes later, Quan’s cast mate Jamie Lee Curtis won for best supporting actress. Her win, in one of the most competitive categories this year, denied a victory for comic-book fans. Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) would have been the first performer to win an Oscar for a Marvel movie.
It also made history for Curtis, a first-time winner who alluded to herself as “a Nepo baby” during her win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. She’s the rare Oscar winner whose parents were both Oscar nominees, something she emotionally referenced in her speech. Tony Curtis was nominated for “The Defiant Ones” in 1959 and Janet Leigh was nominated in 1961 for “Psycho.” Curtis thanked “hundreds” of people who put her in that position.
The early back-to-back wins for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was perhaps a sign of things to come. The film, up for a leading 11 awards, is the clear best-picture favorite.
The telecast, airing live on ABC, opened traditionally: with a montage of the year’s films (with Kimmel edited into a cockpit in “Top Gun: Maverick”) and a lengthy monologue. Kimmel, hosting for the third time, didn’t dive right into revisiting Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock at last year’s ceremony.
But after a number of jokes — including one that noted two stars of “Encino Man,” Quan and Brendan Fraser are nominated — Kimmel noted that there are numerous Irish actors up for Oscars, “which means the odds of another fight on stage just went way up.”
The late-night comedian struggled to find lessons from last year’s incident, which was followed by Smith winning best actor. If anyone tried any violence this year, he said, “You will be awarded the Oscar for best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute-long speech.”
But Kimmel, hosting for the third time, said anyone who wanted to “get jiggy with it” this year will have to come through a fearsome battalion of bodyguards, including Michael B. Jordan, Michelle Yeoh, Steven Spielberg and his show’s “security guard” Guillermo Rodriguez.
The night’s first award went to another Guillermo: “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” for best animated film. That handed Netflix its first Oscar in the category.
Later, Daniel Roher’s “Navalny,” about the imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, took best documentary. The film’s win came with clear overtones to Navalny’s ongoing imprisonment and Vladimir Putin’s continued war in Ukraine. Yulia Navalnaya joined the filmmakers on the stage.
“My husband is in prison just for telling the truth,” she said. “Stay strong my love.”
Some big names weren’t in attendance for other reasons. Neither Tom Cruise, whose “Top Gun: Maverick” is up for best picture, nor James Cameron, director of best-picture nominee “Avatar: The Way of Water,” appeared to be at the ceremony. Both have been forefront in Hollywood’s efforts to get moviegoers back after years of pandemic.
And presenter Glenn Close said she would not present at the show because she had tested positive for COVID -19.