7 Great Stephanie Hsu Performances, Including Everything Everywhere All At Once
While Stephanie Hsu was not among the winners at the 2023 Academy Awards, her Best Supporting Actress-nominated performance in this year’s Best Picture Oscar winner, Everything Everywhere All At Once, has undoubtedly earned her a bright future in Hollywood. Yet, those who have been paying attention to her career — and have not mistaken her for Lana Condor — should know that this is far from her first rodeo.
The 32-year-old California native — who, according to Today, was born to a Chinese single mother who immigrated to the States from Taiwan — has been acting since she was in her teens and made her Broadway debut as Karen the Computer in SpongeBob Squarepants: The Musical in 2017, before landing small roles in the Netflix original TV show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and the Netflix rom-com, Set it Up, to name just a few. For this article, however, we are focusing on some of the biggest roles of Hsu’s skyrocketing career so far and the performances that led to her stunning breakthrough turn in Everything Everywhere All At Once. In fact, that is exactly where we shall start.
Joy Wang/Jobu Tupaki - Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)
I certainly empathize with those who found it surprising Jamie Lee Curtis won Best Supporting Actress Oscar Stephanie Hsu because, while the legendary horror movie Scream Queen was fantastic in Everything Everywhere All At Once — one of the best movies of 2022 — what Hsu achieves playing two different roles at once is phenomenal.
As Joy Wang, she demonstrates the heartbreaking lack of acceptance that many children of immigrant parents can relate to, and her variant — the ultra-powerful Jobu Tupaki — is an exaggerated representation of the rebellion such conflicts can lead to. Invoking a compelling vulnerability as Joy and dazzling sass as Tupaki, she sticks the landing in this cross-dimensional balancing act flawlessly.
Soo - Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (2021)
Just a year before starring in one of the greatest movies about the Multiverse, Stephanie Hsu stepped into the Marvel Multiverse — or became a part of the central continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, at least. She appears in two scenes of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — also starring Michelle Yeoh, Hsu’s onscreen mother from Everything Everywhere All At Once — as Soo, who gives our title hero (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) trouble for their stunted approach to adulthood when catching up over dinner. It is her shocked reaction later after learning their story about saving the world was true that makes her stand out as an MVP MCU scene-stealer.
Shu Shu - Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens (2020-2021)
Before appearing alongside Awkwafina and Simu Liu in the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings cast, Stephanie Hsu worked with them on the comedian’s hit Comedy Central series, Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, which could be the peak of her comedic brilliance. She first appeared as a friend of Nora’s grandmother (Lori Tan Chinn) named in Shu Shu in Season 1’s Korean drama-inspired flashback episode, “Grandma & Chill,” which is also helmed by Everything Everywhere All At Once’s Oscar-winning directorial duo, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Sheinert. Hsu would reprise the role in the present day-set Season 2 episode, “Don’t F**k with Grandmas,” with only a silver-haired wig to show that time had passed.
Mei Lin - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2019-2022)
On second thought, the peak of her comedic brilliance might actually be her recurring role in the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel cast as Mei Lin. She entered the picture as the spunky, fast-talking Chinese-American woman who sparks up a romance with the title character’s ex-husband, Joel (Michael Zegen), in Season 3 of the beloved Amazon Prime original TV show. Hsu’s performance is so endlessly charming and funny that I am convinced she deserves a good chunk of credit for the series’ win for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2020.
Jenny - Asking For It (2020)
The first time that Hsu was given the chance to bring her gifts for humorous acting to the spotlight, front and center, was in 2020 with the dark comedy movie, Asking For It. Written by first-time screenwriter Becky Scott, who also co-directs with Amanda Lundquist, the movie stars Hsu as Jenny — a journalist whose pleas for help against a threatening internet stalker are ignored, forcing her to take matters into her own hands. As a fun, quirky film with an empowering message and a grim edge elevated by Hsu’s performance and the star-power of Janeane Garofalo and David Krumholtz, it is a good one to cite as a first leading role, even if it is one of her lesser known credits.
Morty - Poker Face (2023)
One of Hsu’s more recent dips into dark comedy came when she joined the star-studded cast of guest actors from the acclaimed Peacock original TV show, Poker Face. We do not really know the true name of her role in the ninth episode of creator Rian Johnson’s latest twist on the whodunnit (“Escape from Shit Mountain”), but after she pays for gas with a credit card under the name “Mortimer Bernstein” (which she very likely stole), our lie-detecting protagonist, Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne), begins calling her new kleptomaniac road buddy “Morty.”
In an episode the also stars two-time Emmy winner and frequent Johnson collaborator Joseph Gordon-Levitt and The Umbrella Academy’s David Castañeda, Hsu totally steals the show here in one of the most memorable of the series’ many A-list guest appearances.
Zhen - Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight (2022)
The most recent instance of Stephanie Hsu working with one of her Everything Everywhere All At Once co-stars was when she leant her voice to Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight, on which James Hong (who plays her grandfather in the Oscar-winning movie) reprises his role as noodlemaker, Mr. Ping — the adoptive father of Po (Jack Black).
Hsu stars in three episodes from the first season of Netflix’s series spin-off of the hit Dreamworks Animation movie as Zhen — a young, angsty member of a monastery run by hedgehogs. After she is wrongfully accused of nearly destroying her village, Po and his English knight mentor, Wandering Blade (Rita Ora), break her out of imprisonment to help them find the real, dangerous culprit.
She will also be reuniting with Hong, Yeoh, and Ke Huy Quan from Everything Everywhere All At Once and Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton soon for Disney+’s upcoming series adaptation of the graphic novel, American Born Chinese. The actress also joined the star-studded voice cast of the upcoming Netflix movie, Leo, and has the comedy Joy Ride coming out in 2023. No matter what, we will always, always want to see what she has next in store.