Ariana DeBose has won the Oscar for best supporting actress at the 94th Academy Awards, currently under way at the Dolby theatre in Los Angeles.
DeBose won the prize for her role in the Steven Spielberg-directed West Side Story remake, in which she plays the key role of Anita, the girlfriend of Sharks gang leader Bernardo, and sings the famous number America. In the original film Anita was played by Rita Moreno, who also won the best supporting actress Oscar for the role in 1962.
It makes DeBose only the second Latina actor to win an Oscar, after Moreno, and the first queer woman of colour.
To a standing ovation, DeBose celebrated Moreno as a trailblazer: “I’m so grateful – your Anita paved the way for tons of Anitas like me, and I love you," 그녀가 말했다, gesturing to Moreno.
“Now you see why Anita says ‘I want to be in America’, because even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true, and that’s a really heartening thing right now,” DeBose said.
DeBose has already won a string of awards for her role in the film, including best supporting actress at the Baftas, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards.
At the end of her speech, the 31-year-old actor harkened to her early days as an aspiring performer. “Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, look into her eyes," 그녀가 말했다. “You see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro-Latina, who found her strength in life through art. And that is, 나는 생각한다, what we’re here to celebrate.”
To anyone who “has ever questioned your identity” or “lived in the grey spaces”, 그녀는 덧붙였다, “there is, 과연, a place for us”.