Ariana DeBose is taking home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. She is the second actress to win the Oscar for playing the Broadway character, following Rita Moreno‘s win in 1962.
DeBose becomes the third Latina to win the statuette for Best Supporting Actress after Moreno and Mercedes Ruehl who won in 1992 for The Fisher King.
The North Carolina native is also making history as the first queer woman of color to win an acting Oscar.
“Imagine this little girl in the backseat of a white Ford focus, look into her eyes and you see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art,” DeBose said during her acceptance speech.
“So to anybody who has ever questioned your identity— ever, ever ever—or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us.”
DeBose spoke to Deadline at the MPTF The Night Before Oscar party on Saturday about how far she’s come, reflecting on serving as host of the Academy Awards pre-show last year when not many people knew who she was.
She is currently busy shooting Kraven The Hunter in the role of Calypso, which she says has been challenging in a way she hasn’t experienced before. After a busy award season and working on the Marvel film, she plans to take a much-needed vacation.
Other 2022 accolades include a BAFTA, Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and SAG Award.
Check out her speech above and her backstage comments below.
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