spent a year in a refugee camp and somehow I ended up here on Hollywood's biggest stage," he said. "They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I cannot believe it's happening to me. This is the American dream."
He is the first person of Vietnamese origin to win an Oscar, and one of two nominated this year - the other was Hong Chau in The Whale, whose family also fled from Vietnam on a boat.
Yet in Vietnam the official reaction has been subdued. Reports in the media, which is nearly all state-controlled, have said little about Ke Huy Quan or his background.
Some have stressed the actor's ethnic Chinese ancestry, rather than his Vietnamese origins. He was born in the southern Vietnamese capital Saigon in 1971, his family part of a commercially successful ethnic Chinese minority, of the kind seen in many South East Asian cities. None mentioned his flight from Vietnam as a refugee, in the mass exodus of the so-called "boat people".
Thanh Nien newspaper wrote only that "he was born in 1971 to a Chinese family in Ho Chi Minh City [the official name for Saigon] and then moved to the US in the late 1970s".