CODA’s Troy Kotsur made Oscars history by becoming the first deaf actor to win Best Supporting Actor.
“This is amazing to be here on this journey. I cannot believe I’m here,” he signed while accepting his award. “It’s amazing that our film, CODA, has reached out worldwide. It even reached all the way to the White House and they invited the cast of CODA to visit and have a tour of the White House.”
Kotsur joked how he planned on teaching President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden “dirty sign language” but said co-star Marlee Matlin told him to behave. “So don’t worry, Marlee, I won’t drop any F bombs in my speech today,” he cracked.
The Oscar winner thanked “all the wonderful deaf theater stages, where I was allowed and given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor.” He also shouted out director Sian Heder for being “the best communicator,” noting, “The reason why is you brought the deaf world and the hearing world together and you are our bridge.”
He also spoke of his father, calling him “the best signer of our family.” Kotsur revealed how his dad was in an accident and paralyzed from the neck down, which robbed him of his ability to communicate. “Dad, I learned so much from you,” the actor emotionally conveyed, “I’ll always love you. You are my hero.”
He dedicated his win to the deaf, CODA and disabled community, declaring, “This is our moment!”
It should be noted that Kotsur’s passionate speech caused the man who read his sign language out loud to become overcome with emotion as well.
The Power of the Dog’s Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee as well as Being the Ricardos’ J.K. Simmons and Belfast’s Ciarán Hinds were also up for Best Supporting actor.
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