Remembering Haing Ngor, The First Asian To Win Best Supporting Actor — For ‘The Killing Fields’ In 1985

Ke Huy Quan, the Vietnamese American actor widely expected to win Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards this weekend for his role in Everything Everywhere All At Once, is part of increased Asian representation seen at the Oscars in recent years. If he wins, he’ll be the second Asian actor to win the prize.

The first was Haing S. Ngor, nominated for his role in 1984’s The Killing Fields. The film told the true story of the Khmer Rouge regime and its brutal dictatorial rule of Cambodia, through the perspective of journalist Dith Pran, played by Ngor.

Ngor, who was not an actor, took the role to bring attention to what happened in his home country — a message he continued to spread until he was shot shot and killed outside his downtown L.A. Chinatown home 11 years later.

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