Ariana DeBose won the Best Supporting Actress Award on Sunday evening, at the 94th Academy Awards for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story – making her the the first out queer woman of color to win an Oscar award. DeBose is also the first Afro-Latina queer Oscar winner in an acting category.

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 in her acceptance speech.

In a nod to actor Rita Moreno, who won a Best Supporting Actress in 1962 – the first Latina to ever win an Oscar – for the same role of Anita in the original film.

There Is A Place For Us

“I’m so grateful – your Anita paved the way for tons of Anitas like me, and I love you,” she said to Moreno.

“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, 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 is, I think, what we’re here to celebrate.”

DeBose also had a message for her queer community. “Even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true….To anybody who has ever questioned your identity….I promise you this, there is indeed a place for us.”

DeBose had also won Best Supporting Actress awards at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards for her performance in West Side Story.

Queer Moments At 94th Academy Awards

There were other queer moments on Sunday evening during the show that ran for three hours and 40 minutes. New Zealand director Jane Campion took home the Best Director Award for The Power of the Dog. Based on the novel by Thomas Savage, The Power of the Dog, is a powerful movie about toxic masculinity, the closet and queer desire.

Oscar hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall took aim at Florida’s took ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ during their opening act. The law that was passed by the Florida legislature bans any discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms.

“Well, we’re going to have a great night tonight and for you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night,” said Sykes, who came out in 2008. The hosts then sang “Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay…”, to loud cheers from the audience.

Earlier on the Oscar Red  Carpet Encanto actress Jessica Darrow told Deadline, “Here I am being queer and gorgeous and I’m on the red carpet, and I’m very happy to represent fellow gorgeous queer people that consume Disney.”




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