Best Actor - THE CHEF
2019 Lifetime Achievement Award
In a film career spanning almost four decades, Jim Lau has appeared in well over 100 films and television shows, working with some of the world's most celebrated actors and directors in Hollywood—such as Alan Alda, Michael Landon, Burt Reynolds, Kurt Russell, Roy Scheider, Kevin Costner, John Carpenter, and Jon
Turteltaub, among others.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Jim studied martial arts from a young age. While he speaks six different Chinese dialects, including Cantonese and Mandarin, his passion for the study of ancient Chinese classics, including Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, has deepened his appreciation of his inherited culture and history as well as broadened his horizon with regard to humanity.
Jim immigrated to the United States with his family in the early 70s, landing in San Francisco. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Film. He began his career as a Kung Fu instructor in Los Angeles, teaching martial arts at the Hollywood Stuntman Association while taking acting lessons from Jack Kosslyn, his mentor and acting coach, the person who inspired him to become an actor.
Lau's television and film career started in the early 80s with credits that include the finale of "M*A*S*H," "Little House On The Prairie," "St. Elsewhere," and "Big Trouble In Little China," in which he also served as an associate producer and martial arts consultant. His other screen credits during the 90s through the present day include "SeaQuest," "Mad About You," "The Practice," "House," "Everybody Hates Chris," "Grey's Anatomy," "The Hangover Part III," "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia," "Fear The Walking Dead," and "S.W.A.T."
In addition to acting, Jim also works behind the camera as a film producer, both in Hong Kong and Hollywood. Yet another major component to Jim's resume is his body of work as a voice actor and as a technical consultant in both film and television, in which he holds over 100 off-screen credits working as a crew member. Some of his recent work includes "Mulan," "Crazy Rich Asians," "The Meg," "NCIS-New Orleans," and "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," to name a few.
As much as Jim enjoys working regularly in Hollywood in film, television, and commercials, he's also a firm believer in supporting Indie films as well as student projects, particularly those involving the Asian-American experience. Over the years Jim has supported and participated in numerous Indie films, such as "Ping Pong Playa," "Paper Lotus," and last year's critically-acclaimed and award-winning film, "For Izzy," which won major awards from various film festivals, including Atlanta's Out on Film Festival's Jury Award for Best Ensemble Cast.
Once himself a film student, Jim realizes the importance and responsibility of assisting the new generation by giving back. Each year Jim donates his time to work on and participate in student films. He has a special bond with film students from the American Film Institute and USC film schools. Last year he worked with student director Hao Zheng from AFI in "The Chef," which has drawn tremendous attention from film festivals, including the South Dakota Film Festival, which extended an invitation to Jim to be a speaker in this year's event.