Film academic Rajendra Roy recently introduced the star of “Downsizing” with the claim: “This is the last day in your life when you’ll ask the question, ‘Who is Hong Chau?'”
The endorsement ahead of a recent Los Angeles screening proved astonishingly prescient: within a week, the actress had been nominated for some of the biggest awards in Hollywood for her role in Alexander Payne’s satire.
“After you see this movie you will never ask that question again, because she will be the brightest star in your universe, as she is for all of us who have experienced this,” gushed Roy, chief film curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
If the tribute sounds over-the-top, it is an assessment shared by the film industry and critics alike.
Chau, 38, has amassed best supporting actress nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Awards — seen as the most reliable predictor of Oscars glory — as well as the Critics Choice Awards and the prestigious Golden Globes.
Don’t expect elaborate navel-gazing about her method or motivation, however, because Chau doesn’t see movie acting as a particularly complicated job.
“I never like to sit and discuss my character, the other character, our relationship or anything like that,” said the “Big Little Lies” actress, who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand.
“I feel like if I did my job and I trust that the other person has done theirs, you just go on set, play around with it, chew the scene for a little bit, then we roll and that’s it.”