“There is indeed a place for us,” the West Side Story star said during her acceptance speech.
Ariana DeBose has become the first openly gay woman of color to win an Oscar for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story.
DeBose, who is also the second actress to win an Academy Award for the role (Rita Moreno won the same award for the original film), made a point of stating it during her acceptance speech at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles (27 March).
Holding back tears, she told the audience: “Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white ford focus, look into her eyes, you see a queer, openly queer woman of color, an Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art.”
“There is indeed a place for us”
“And that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate,” the actress continued as she triumphantly shook her gong to thunderous applause.
“So to anybody who has ever questioned your identity, ever, ever, ever or you find yourself living in the grey spaces, I promise you this: there is indeed a place for us,” she went on to say.
Ariana also paid tribute to Moreno in her speech saying, “You’re staring at me right now, and I’m so grateful. Your Anita paved the way for tons of Anitas like me. I love you so much.”
One person described the speech as” “perfect” adding, “perfect performance, perfect human. @ArianaDeBose you are PERFECTION.”
As reported by Variety, DeBose later said to the gathered press: “I’m an openly queer woman of color — and not for nothing, that’s freaking awesome, you guys.
On being the second Latina actress to win an Oscar (Moreno being the first) she said. “I think that just proves that there’s space for us. It’s a beautiful moment to be seen. And I’m really honored by that.”
The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion’s epic about a closeted cowboy in 1920s rural Montana, was beaten out for Best Picture by Coda, a film about the deaf community.
Campion, on the other hand, received the Best Director award, while the film was ineffective in all acting categories.