CODA's Troy Kotsur becomes first deaf male actor to win an Academy Award; Shares inspiring message in speech

Troy Kotsur is now the first man who is Deaf to win an Academy Award for acting, collecting the trophy for best actor in a supporting role

Updated on Mar 29, 2022 04:48 PM IST  |  363.3K
CODA's Troy Kotsur
Troy Kotsur made a powerful speech via an interpreter, recounting his extraordinary journey
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Troy Kotsur became the first deaf male person to receive an Academy Award for acting on Sunday night. He collected the award by giving an emotional speech about persistence. The 53-year-old actor, who portrays fisherman and patriarch Frank Rossi in the highly acclaimed film CODA, is the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar, along with his CODA co-star Marlee Matlin, who won Best Actress in 1987 for Children of a Lesser God.

As per Daily Mail, in his first nomination, Kotsur beat off Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), Jesse Plemons (The Power Of The Dog), J.K Simmons (Being The Ricardos), and Kodi Smitt-McPhee (The Power Of The Dog) for his first Oscar. However, as Kotsur approached the stage, a number of celebrities were spotted using the 'applause' sign in American Sign Language (ASL), which involves holding up both arms and twisting your hands at the same time.

Meanwhile, Kotsur made a powerful speech via an interpreter, recounting his extraordinary journey to the Oscar podium. "This is amazing to be here on this journey. I cannot believe I'm here. Thank you so much to all the members of The Academy for recognizing my work," Kotsur began. "It's really amazing that our film CODA has reached out worldwide. It even reached all the way to the White House," he added, revealing the cast was invited to the White House. "They invited the cast of CODA to visit and have a tour of the white house. We met President Joe and Dr Jill. And I was planning on teaching them some dirty sign language but Marlee Matlin told me to behave myself. So don't worry, Marlee, I won't drop any "F" bombs in my speech today," Kotsur joked. 

He added that he read one of Steven Spielberg's books recently, where, "he said that the best director, the definition of the best director was a skilled communicator," before turning to his CODA writer-director, Sian Heder. Troy also paid respect to his father, Leonard, a police chief in Mesa, Arizona, who was killed in a sad accident. "My dad, he was the best signer in our family. But he was in a car accident and he became paralyzed from the neck down. And he no longer was able to sign. Dad, I learned so much from you I'll always love you. You are my hero," he said.

Kotsur concluded his speech by thanking his wife and daughter, whom he called "my biggest fans," as well as other members of his family. Meanwhile, CODA also received two additional awards on Sunday, including best-adapted screenplay for Heder and The best picture award which was accepted by CODA producers Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger.

ALSO READ:Oscars 2022 Highlights: CODA wins Best Picture; Will Smith & Chris Rock get into an altercation

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