Ariana DeBose Becomes First Openly Queer Woman of Color to Win Oscar for Acting

Actress Ariana DeBose became the first openly queer woman of color to win an Oscar for acting for her role in Steven Spielberg’s version of “West Side Story.”

DeBose took home an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress on March 28 for reviving the iconic role of Anita in the film remake of the acclaimed Broadway musical.

DeBose is also the first Afro Latina to win such an award.

“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus. When you look into her eyes, you see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina, who found her strength in life through art. And that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate,” DeBose said in her acceptance speech.

“So to anybody who’s 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 further said.

With DeBose’ victory, she and legendary Latina actress Rita Moreno — who originated the role of Anita and the first Latina to win an Academy Award — became the first women to win an Oscar for portraying the same character.

Acknowledged Moreno in the audience at the Oscars, DeBose said she was “so grateful.”

“Your Anita paved the way for tons of Anitas like me. I love you so much,” DeBose said.

Last month, DeBose became the first Latina to win a film award from the Screen Actors’ Guild after she won best supporting actress. She was also the first queer woman of color to be recognized in an acting category at the awards show. 

DeBose also won supporting actress awards at the Critics’ Choice Awards and the British Academy Film Awards.


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