James Hong earned a standing ovation with his hilarious and moving acceptance speech after “Everything Everywhere All at Once” won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAG Awards on Sunday.
Cast members Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeoh helped cue up Hong, each taking a turn to speak and continue where the last person left off during the speech. Hsu remarked on how the word “ensemble” comes from the Latin word for “at the same time,” which Quan followed by noting that the cast was an ensemble in their constant support for each other.
“But there is one of us who has been supporting ensembles for longer than any of us has been alive,” Yeoh continued. “He’s been acting since there were only 49 states and he just turned 94 years young. It’s been 69 years in the making to get him to this stage. Our patriarch, our friend, our gong-gong, James Hong.”
Hong began his speech in Cantonese, with Yeoh translating his thanks before he switched to English.
“Actually, I said that because we might be broadcast in Hong Kong and I hope next year the network won’t change their mind and put us on again,” Hong said. “So I got my first card, SAG card… 70 years ago. My first movie was with Clark Gable.”
But back in those days, I have to tell you that the leading role was played by these guys with eyes taped up like this and they talk like this, because the producer said the Asians were not good enough and they are not box office. But look at us now, huh?
Hong then cracked a joke about Curtis’ name and affectionately called his castmates “jerks.”
“We are not all Chinese but Jamie Lee, Lee is a good Chinese name,” he said. “And I’ve never had such a good time as being with these jerks.”
“I don’t know what they’re thinking when they wrote that script. It’s right that you understand all of it. Like, sure. Well go see that second and third time and maybe you’ll understand,” he said.
“Those two, Daniel boys, you know. But of course, he’s not Asian, but we excuse that,” he joked, singling out Scheinert.
He finished his speech by acknowledging that he has more stories to tell, but he and his co-stars had gone past their allotted time and would be kicked off the stage.
“I’ll quote what Michelle says, ‘Shut up. I can beat you up,’” Hong concluded, referencing Yeoh’s viral moment during her acceptance speech for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” recently became the most-awarded film in SAG history with four wins: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture; Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role (Yeoh); Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Quan); and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Curtis). Hsu was also nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.