Those who’ve been reading our rolling Oscar predictions over the years know why we’re predicting this category so early, as it’s as close to a done deal as one of these races can possibly be. That definitely can’t be said about any of the other acting categories.
And so, we’re not going to beat around the bush. That is, bore you with detailed breakdown of how Ke Huy Quan, who made his screen debut almost 40 years ago in Steven Spieberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, checks off more “boxes” than any of his fellow nominees in what is an incredibly strong category. Or how the Vietnamese-American actor’s trajectory feels as if it’s coming full circle with Everything Everywhere All at Once and the accolades that he’s collected at a steady clip throughout this prolonged awards season. That sort of accounting can be diminishing of the work that AMPAS seeks to honor every year, especially when that work is as deserving of praise as Quan’s performance in Daniels’s multiverse picture.
The quiet anchor of a film that suggests a maelstrom spinning in different directions, Quan pivots from playfulness to pathos with an eloquence that’s disarming. As when his Waymond Wang stares at Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn and says, “So, even though you have broken my heart yet again, I wanted to say, in another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.” Implicative and laced with history, it’s one of the most quietly devastating moments in a film from last year. It’s certainly in some kind of league with the scene from The Banshees of Inisherin where Barry Keoghan’s Dominic is rejected by Kerry Condon’s Siobhán. Only Quan proves his winning hand by holding out hope through his character’s pain.
Will Win: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Could Win: Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
Should Win: Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
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