Underdogs win

These four actors gave moving acceptance speeches, which all had the common theme of never giving up.

Asians reigned supreme in the recently held Academy Awards which saw two winners from the region win top awards.

Michelle Yeoh, a well-known Malaysian actress who starred in a James Bond film, in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and more recently “Crazy Rich Asians,” bagged the Best Actress plum, while Ke Huy Quan, a Vietnam-born former child actor, won Best Supporting Actor — both for the movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which won Best Picture.

We can call this a sweep for this breakthrough film where Marvel-like multiverses were given a more humane perspective, affecting a hardworking immigrant family faced with the challenge of coping with the realities of life and American society.

I must admit, however, that I am not a huge fan of the movie, but I do appreciate the effort poured into its production, editing, and acting — to which I say the Academy chose well and deservingly. Maybe it was too sci-fi for me, or I was expecting Spiderman to jump in at any time. Another Oscar winner, Jamie Lee Curtis, stole the show with her rendition of a tough IRS officer cum villain. I can’t help but remember her in the 1990s action film with Arnold Schwarzenegger called “True Lies,” a movie I saw too many times.

Brendan Fraser, an actor best known for his early 2000s action-comedy roles (something Dwayne Johnson is enjoying right now), won Best Actor for his performance in “The Whale.” Fraser literally vanished from the entertainment scene for nearly 20 years and suddenly found himself back at its epicenter with his victory. I am also a huge fan of “The Mummy” movies he starred in with Rachel Wiesz, and I smell a revival of these movies pretty soon.

These four actors gave moving acceptance speeches, which all had the common theme of never giving up. At a certain point, they were underdogs, nobodies in an industry that can certainly eat you up with its critics and rumormongers. Perhaps, the most significant victor for me should be Ke Huy Quan, who was nowhere to be found after his childhood roles in the Indiana Jones and Goonies movies and who had to reinvent himself as a stuntman for action flicks. With Hollywood opening up to Asians, Ke Huy Quan found an opportunity to try his luck, auditioning for a film to be starred by Michelle Yeoh, and ended up winning an Oscar for it.

I was reminded of Seth Godin’s book, “The Dip,” in which he wrote about perseverance and staying the course. The Dip is the stretch between beginner’s luck and real accomplishment, something we all experience before we reach our life goals. For Ke Huy Quan, his beginner’s luck was in the form of child roles in the iconic Hollywood films we know today. He stayed the course for 30 years and became an Oscar winner in the end. Fraser experienced the same and experienced depression but overcame it. The women winners, Yeoh and Curtis, had it more difficult in Hollywood, and considering that both are now in their 60s, they continued without giving up.

In his book, Seth Godin wrote, “Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.” These actors were darlings of Hollywood at a certain point but had to deal with the intense pressure of getting back in the limelight. Now, after years of persevering, they can rightfully call themselves Oscar winners. Hollywood always loves the underdog.


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