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Hong Chow she was surprised to hear her name in the Supporting Actress category when they were announced the Oscar nominations last month.

The actress, who stars alongside Brendan Fraser in “The Whale,” hadn’t intended to wake up early to watch the nominations live on TV, but with a 2-year-old daughter and a sick 15-year-old dog, she and her husband were up from at 5 in the morning. “We were drinking coffee in bed and watching,” he tells US magazine People. “I couldn’t process it. I was surprised”.

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They celebrated with prosecco and donuts that her husband ran to get. A little later, Chow adds, “I found myself in the rain talking to a guy who’s going to give us an estimate to repair the house. So it was a very exciting day and a very normal one.”

It was also a day he never thought would come. Chow, who came to the US at a young age with her parents and two older brothers as refugees from Vietnam, has had a long road to becoming one of Hollywood’s most talked about actresses.

“My whole professional identity was about being an outsider and trying to fit in. So this is amazing. It took years to become successful, it didn’t happen overnight,” he said.