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Hong Chau[nb 1] (born 1979) is an American actress known for her appearance in the US film Downsizing (2017) as Vietnamese amputee and political activist Ngoc Lan Tran. For her performance, she was nominated for Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, and several other awards for best supporting actress. Before Downsizing, she appeared in the US television series Treme (2010–2013) and the US film Inherent Vice (2014).[2] In 2018, she appeared as a guest star in several TV series.

Hong Chau
Born1979 (age 39–40)
Years active2006–present
Known for

Chau was born to Vietnamese parents who lived in a refugee camp in Thailand after fleeing Vietnam in the late 1970s. A Vietnamese Catholic church in New Orleans, Louisiana arranged for a family to sponsor Chau and her family. After growing up in New Orleans, Chau majored in film studies at Boston University and pursued an acting career.


Early lifeEdit

Chau's parents were among the Vietnamese boat people who fled Vietnam in 1979. Chau's mother was six months pregnant with her:[3] Chau was born in a refugee camp in Thailand later in the year.[4] A Vietnamese Catholic church in New Orleans, Louisiana organized for a local Vietnamese family to sponsor her family. Chau grew up speaking Vietnamese as her first language, and later learned English in school.[5] She was one of three children, and her parents worked in menial labor to ensure that the children could attend college.[6] She said that her family needed public assistance, that she went to public school, and needed lunch assistance. For college tuition, she depended on Pell Grants.[7] Chau said her parents, who speak in heavy Vietnamese accents, were shunned as Asian migrants. She said, "My whole life, I've always felt like I was the more acceptable of my parents, and they were always the people who had to stay in the background, or hide in the broom closet."[6] Chau was raised in the eastern part of New Orleans, where she attended Eleanor McMain Secondary School and Ben Franklin Senior High School. She finished at Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in Natchitoches, Louisiana.[8]

Chau attended Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts,[8] where she initially studied creative writing. She changed her major to film studies when her parents requested that she study something more practical. She explored acting to challenge her introvertedness;[9] she acted in other students' short films and was encouraged to pursue acting.[10] After college, Chau got a job with PBS and anticipated a career in documentaries.[9] She later moved to New York City, where she studied acting.[8] She began acting in film and television in 2006.[11]


One of Chau's first major roles was in the US television series Treme (2010–2013), which was set in New Orleans.[2] Her first feature film role was in Inherent Vice (2014).[12] For a year after her role, she was not able to get an audition for another film role. In 2015, she had a key role in the 2015 Off Broadway play John by Annie Baker, and Chau credited the experience for strengthening her acting. She also had a supporting role in the HBO TV miniseries Big Little Lies alongside Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.[13] She subsequently appeared in Downsizing (2017),[12] for which her performance was described as a standout by several reviews.[14] Chau was nominated for several awards for best supporting actress, including Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.[15] She was considered a potential nominee for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 90th Academy Awards. USA Today's Andrea Mandell said, "Hong Chau was snubbed ... a nomination many had assumed was a lock given the strength of her performance as a Vietnamese refugee."[16] Some criticized her character Ngoc Lan Tran as stereotypical because Chau spoke in broken English, but Chau said that she found her character "so multifaceted and complex and well-written".[12]

Following Downsizing, Chau appeared in guest roles in several TV series in 2018. The Ringer's Alison Herman said another actor would have sought to accumulate more recurring roles on TV series but that "In the Peak TV Era, Chau opted for something much savvier: taking some choice guest parts in a few critically acclaimed TV shows ... Chau benefits from these shows' prestige; the shows benefit from her talents."[17]

Chau had her first leading roles in the 2019 films Driveways and American Woman.[18]



Year Title Role Notes
2014 Inherent Vice Jade
2017 Downsizing Ngoc Lan Tran
2018 Duck Butter Glow
2019 Driveways Kathy
2019 American Woman Jenny Shimada
2020 Artemis Fowl TBA Post-production


Year(s) Title Role Notes
2008 The Sarah Silverman Program Asian Masseuse Episode: "Patriot Tact"
2010 How I Met Your Mother Cook Pu Episode: "Perfect Week"
2010 Trenches Spc. Wing 10 episodes; web series
2010 NCIS F.B.I. Lab Tech Molly Choi Episode: "Jurisdiction"
2010 My Boys Audrey Episode: "Puss 'N' Glutes"
2010 $h*! My Dad Says DJ Episode: "Code Ed"
2011–13 Treme Linh 13 episodes
2012 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Julie Blanch Episode: "Ms. Willows Regrets"
2012 Good Luck Charlie Theresa Episode: "Welcome Home"
2014–15 A to Z Lora 13 episodes
2017 Big Little Lies Jackie 6 episodes
2017 American Dad! Korean Spy (voice) Episode: "Casino Normale"
2018 BoJack Horseman Pickles Aplenty (voice) 5 episodes
2018 Forever Sarah Episode: "Andre and Sarah"
2018 Homecoming Audrey Temple 4 episodes
TBD Watchmen Lady T. Upcoming series



  1. ^ Vietnamese: Hồng Châu[1]
  2. ^ The Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award is presented to the ensemble cast, director, and casting director of a film.
  3. ^ Per Variety, "The Virtuosos Award is given annually to artists who have distinguished themselves through breakthrough performances in film."[25]


  1. ^ "Hành trình tới Hollywood của diễn viên Mỹ gốc Việt Hồng Châu". An nhân dân điện. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b Ford, Rebecca (September 5, 2017). "Hollywood's Next Big Thing: 'Downsizing' Breakout Hong Chau on Asian Typecasting and Working With Matt Damon". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Ryan, Patrick (December 21, 2017). "Awards breakout Hong Chau brings her personal history as a refugee to 'Downsizing'". USA Today. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  4. ^ Brown, Jacob (November 13, 2017). "Hong Chau is a rising star on a miniature scale". Interview. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  5. ^ Gugliemi, Jodi (January 5, 2018). "Five Things to Know About Downsizing Star and Golden Globe Nominee Hong Chau". People. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Vlessing, Etan (September 10, 2017). "Toronto: 'Downsizing' Star Says Asian Typecasting 'Pushed Aside' Refugee Parents". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  7. ^ Rosen, Lisa (December 21, 2017). "Playing an Asian activist with a disability in 'Downsizing,' Hong Chau hopes to see more diversity in films". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Walker, Dave (November 18, 2012). "Actress Hong Chau brings New Orleans background to role as 'Treme's' Linh". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Nobil, Taryn (December 8, 2017). "'Downsizing' Star Hong Chau Turned to Acting to 'Burst Out of My Introvertedness'". Variety. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  10. ^ Riley, Jenelle (October 4, 2017). "10 Actors to Watch: Hong Chau Steals Scenes in 'Downsizing'". Variety. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  11. ^ Chi, Paul (December 19, 2017). "Downsizing's Hong Chau Knows the Secret to Getting Through Awards Season". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Yamato, Jen (November 3, 2017). "Hong Chau is poised to break big in 'Downsizing,' her second film". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  13. ^ Fretts, Bruce (December 25, 2017). "'Downsizing' Actress Breaks Through, for Better and Worse". The New York Times. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  14. ^ Kroll, Justin (September 27, 2017). "'Downsizing' Breakout Hong Chau to Star in Patty Hearst Movie 'American Woman' (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  15. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 11, 2019). "'Watchmen': Hong Chau Joins Cast Of HBO Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  16. ^ Mandell, Andrea (January 23, 2018). "Oscars nominations 2018: Not so white, but Latinos and Asians are missing". USA Today. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  17. ^ Herman, Alison (December 13, 2018). "Best Guest Star: Hong Chau". The Ringer. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  18. ^ Lambe, Stacy (April 26, 2019). "Hong Chau on Taking the Lead and Why She Hasn't Watched Her Acclaimed 'Forever' Episode (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  19. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 11, 2019). "'Watchmen': Hong Chau Joins Cast Of HBO Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  20. ^ Mandell, Andrea (January 23, 2018). "Oscars nominations 2018: Not so white, but Latinos and Asians are missing". USA Today. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  21. ^ "Inherent Vice: Nominated for Robert Altman Award". Film Independent. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  22. ^ Hammond, Pete (December 6, 2017). "Critics' Choice Awards Nominations: 'The Shape Of Water' Leads With 14; Netflix Tops TV Contenders". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  23. ^ "'The Shape of Water' Leads 2017 Florida Film Critics Awards Nominations". Florida Film Critics Circle. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  24. ^ France, Lisa Respers (December 11, 2017). "Golden Globe nominations 2018: The list". CNN. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  25. ^ a b Rubin, Rebecca (November 29, 2017). "Gal Gadot, Kumail Nanjiani, Timothee Chalamet Among Recipients for Virtuosos Award at Santa Barbara Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved February 6, 2018. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has tapped Daniel Kaluuya, Gal Gadot, Hong Chau, John Boyega, Kumail Nanjiani, Mary J. Blige, and Timothée Chalamet for this year’s Virtuosos Award.
  26. ^ Staff (December 13, 2017). "2018 SAG Award Nominations: See the Full List". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  27. ^ Stone, Sasha (December 11, 2017). "The Shape of Water Leads St Louis". Retrieved December 13, 2017.

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