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Was this the ‘comeback year’ at the Oscars?

(Myung J Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Was this the ‘comeback year’ at the Oscars?


mark olsen

March 12, 2023

This year’s acting awards were marked by recognition of veteran performers, some making what can only be called a comeback.


. Others may never have gone, but have never received the acclaim and prestige of an Academy Award before.

Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Brendan Fraser and Michelle Yeoh everyone received recognition this year which was a long time


next. For all of them it was his first Oscar nomination and his first win. This year even industry figures like super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer received their first Oscar nomination for “Top Gun: Maverick,” where Tom Cruise’s nomination as the film’s producer was the first in more than 20 years since an actor secondary wink for “Magnolia”.

Quan was 12 years old when he was cast as the street character.

wise Short Round companion in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The following year he had a role in The Goonies. But as he got older, the roles became more and more rare. Eventually, he moved on to a variety of behind-the-camera jobs, including assistant director and fight coordinator, a particularly useful skill set for part of the job on Everything Everywhere All At Once. Within the film’s topsy-turvy multiverse, Quan was by turns a laundromat owner on the verge of divorcing his wife, a dashing romantic lead, and an action hero.

Now 51,

Quan, has said that he continued to pay his Screen Actors Guild membership dues even to


He hadn’t acted for years, hoping that one day he would return.

By accepting the

Secondary actor

award, an emotional Quan said his 84-year-old mother was watching at home


and speaking directly to the camera he said, mom, I just won an Oscar.

born in vietnam



made his way to America with his family and

acknowledged his immigrant roots in his speech. My journey began on a ship”,

he said. “

I spent a year in a refugee camp and somehow ended up here on the biggest stage in Hollywood.

He added: They say that stories like this only happen in the movies.


I can’t believe it’s happening to me. This, this is the American Dream.

He recognized his wife, Echo Quan, who, month after month, year after year for 20 years, told me that one day, one day, my time would come. Dreams are something you have to believe in. I almost gave up on mine. To all of you please keep your dreams alive.

He concluded by saying: Thank you very much for welcoming me.

Among other awards this season, Quan was nominated for

BAFTA British Academy Film Awards

and the Critics Choice Awards and


at the Spirit Awards,


Golden Globes, Los Angeles Film Critics Awards,


National Society of Film Critics,


New York Film Critics Circle and

the SAG Screen Actors Guild


Throughout awards season,

Quan has given a series of deeply felt and moving speeches, obviously not taking this moment for granted. Her smiling selfies with other actors have become an unexpected highlight of the season. Accepting a Spirit Award recently, he took the time to thank the Everything Everywhere All at Once team, many named after him, including boom operator Kirbie Seis. “I’ve done this job before, it’s not easy,” he added.

Jamie Lee Curtis, who won

Oscar for Supporting Actress

for his role as an IRS agent in one timeline and a loving long-term partner in another in Everything Everywhere All


t Eleven, of course, was born into a Hollywood family, as the daughter of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis (both Oscar nominees). But Curtis has been acting since he was 19 years old, starting with a brief appearance on an episode of the TV show Quincy.


ME, and now has a long career of his own.

Although the Halloween franchise has been a constant


her feature film debut in the 1978 original through 2022’s “Halloween Ends,” she has appeared in many other notable films


her range as a performer, including Trading Places, A Fish Called Wanda, “Road Games,” “Blue Steel,” True Lies, and most recently Knives Out.

When his name was announced as the winner, an apparently incredulous Curtis could be seen mouthing the words, “Oh, shut up!”

Accepting the Oscar, Curtis said


“I know it looks like I’m standing here alone, but I’m not. I’m hundreds of people.”

She separately recognized her Everything Everywhere team, her behind the

scene crew, his family, fans of genre cinema who supported his career for a long time, and his parents, each time saying: We just won an Oscar.

Accepting an award at the SAG Awards recently, Curtis said: My parents were actors and I married an actor. I love actors. I love acting. I love the work we do. It is such a beautiful job. I know a lot of people in our industry who are actors can’t do this job.

He added, I am 64 years old and this is just amazing.

Among other accolades throughout the season, Curtis was also nominated for a BAFTA and a Spirit Award,

the latter

which he lost to his co-star Quan.

brendan fraser


once a huge box office star with movies like Encino Man

(which also featured Ke Huy Quan),

School Times, George of the Jungle and The Mummy,


had seen his career slow down


. Having a leadership role as demanding and challenging as that of a 600 pounder

man in “The Whale”

brought a return to the spotlight

and an Academy Award for Lead Actor


For Fraser, 54, the

the return was

Earned Hard He’s dealt with physical injuries from stunts during his years making action movies and also dealt with the trauma of an alleged groping incident he suffered from the former Golden Globes boss.

Fraser has been a humble and constant presence


through a long awards season. When The Whale, directed by Darren Aronofsky, had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Fraser visibly wept during a prolonged standing ovation. At the Toronto International Film Festival, he received a special tribute award and was again obviously moved by the award. This is new to me, he said when receiving the award. Normally, I’m the guy on the podium who hands out these things.

Accepting the lead actor award, Fraser tearfully said: I am grateful to Darren Aronofsky for providing me with a creative lifeline.

He added, I started in this business 30 years ago and things didn’t come easy for me, but there was an ease that I didn’t appreciate at the time, until it stopped. And I just want to say thank you for this recognition.



Among other accolades for the role, Fraser won the Critics Choice


neighborhood and the SAG


and was nominated for the Golden Globes and the Gotham Awards.

Lead Actress Winner

Michelle Yeoh has also had an extensive career.

. you

he Malaysian-Chinese actor became a huge international star in the

years 80 and



action movies


did many of his own stunts, such as Yes, Madam, The Heroic Trio


and Supercop. She appeared in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and became even more of a global superstar with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000. More recently, she has been seen in films like Crazy Rich Asians and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

In everything Everywhere everything


t Once, Yeoh plays Evelyn, a woman worn out by life


the pressures of caring for his sick father (James Wong)

. She

she takes her husband (Quan) for granted and is disappointed in her daughter (Stephanie Hsu). But through the movie she comes to appreciate everything she has.

Among Yeoh’s other awards this season, she was nominated for BAFTAs and Gothams and won at the Spirit Awards, Golden Globes, and SAG Awards. Yeoh, 60, dedicated the award to his 84-year-old mother, who was watching in Malaysia.

After being announced as the winner of the lead actress award, Yeoh said, “To all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibility. This is proof that dreams

Dream big and dreams come true. And ladies, don’t let anyone tell you that you’ve ever been past your prime.

Call it a comeback, call it a long-awaited recognition, but this year’s acting awards went to veteran performers who finally earned the acclaim from the public that they’ve long deserved.