'It takes perseverance through all these years to make it,' Chinese American actor James Hong said.
James Hong, the Chinese American actor who plays Gong Gong in the sci-fi adventure film "Everything Everywhere All at Once," attended the Oscars for the first time at the age of 94. The movie, which has bagged the most nominations compared to any film at the 95th Academy Awards, received a total of 11 nods, including one for Best Picture. In an interview with ABC 13 on the Red Carpet at the Oscars preshow, Hong expressed his delight at finally attending the prestigious event. "It's a great pleasure to be here, the first time to be at the Academy Awards," he said. "Here I am, after 70 years, I'm here. Actually, I'm 94!"
Hong, who began his acting career in the 1950s, has appeared in almost 500 TV roles, over 150 feature films, more than 30 short films, and 20-plus video games. His acting credits include "Seinfeld," "The Big Bang Theory," "Chinatown" and "Big Trouble in Little China." He has also starred in several animated films, including voicing Mr. Ping in the "Kung Fu Panda" series and the villain Chi-Fu in Disney's "Mulan."
According to PEOPLE, the actor is hopeful that his first Oscars appearance will not be his last. "It takes perseverance through all these years to make it," he said. "And through my 500 movies and TV, I'm here. I hope to be here next year and the year after." He even joked that he plans to attend the Oscars when he turns 100. "When I'm 100, I'll come back and say hello to everybody," he added.
Hong's résumé is impressive, but it was his appearance at the 2023 SAG Awards that garnered him a standing ovation. During his acceptance speech for the outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture award, Hong shared the story of the first movie he acted in 70 years ago alongside Clark Gable. He recounted that the leading role was originally meant for actors with their eyes taped up and fake accents, as the producer believed Asians were not good enough for box office success. However, Hong's success proves that the producer's assumptions were wrong.
Hong has been married twice, first to Pearl Huang, whom he divorced in 1973 after almost six years of marriage and then to his current wife, Susan Hong, whom he married in 1977. They have a daughter named April Hong, who accompanied him to the Oscars.
Michelle Yeoh and the EEAAO cast honoring the great James Hong during their SAG speech has me EMOTIONAL: "He just turned 94 years young, and it's been 69 years in the making to get him to the stage. Our patriarch, our friend, our gung-gung: James Hong!" pic.twitter.com/PByqsvA5WM— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) February 27, 2023
For the ceremony, Hong wore a suit complemented by a blue bowtie featuring googly eyes, a reference to the movie "Everything Everywhere All at Once."