In a glorious moment for the Deaf community, Troy Kotsur has become the first Deaf man to win an Academy Award for acting at the 2022 Oscars.
His speech, which was translated in American Sign Language (ASL), was met with a standing ovation from the crowd as he dedicated his win to the Deaf community, the CODA community and the Disabled community, adding: “This is our moment.”
“This is amazing to be here on this journey,” he said. “I cannot believe I’m here.”
“I was planning on teaching some dirty sign language but Marlee Matlin told me to behave myself,” he added.
He also thanked the “wonderful” Deaf theater stages “where I was allowed and given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor” and paid a special tribute to his father.
“My dad, he was the best signer in our family,” he said. “But he was in a car accident and he became paralysed from the neck down and he was no longer able to sign. Dad, I learned so much from you. I’ll always love you. You are my hero.”
Kotsur is the second Deaf person to win an Oscar, the first being his CODA co-star Marlee Matlin who won the Best Actress award for her role in Children of a Lesser God back in 1987.
The esteemed actor starred in the hit film CODA in which he played Frank Rossi, a fisherman and the patriarch of a fam whose wife and son are also Deaf.
In the film, Frank struggles to understand why his daughter dreams of becoming a singer.
The dude has cleaned up during awards season, taking out top acting awards with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Screen Actors Guild, Film Independent Spirit and Critics Choice movie awards.
Big congrats, mate!