“West Side Story” actress Ariana DeBose made history on Sunday night after winning the award for best supporting actress.
Sixty years ago, Rita Moreno also won the award for playing the same character—Anita. This is the first time this has happened in Oscar history. Moreno made history as the first Latina to win the honor.
DeBose, an Afro Latina, is also the first openly queer woman of color to be nominated and win.
“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,” she added.
Debose can now add an Oscar to her ever-growing stack of awards, which includes a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
“Ariana DeBose is an immensely talented actress and a tremendous advocate for LGBTQ people and people of color,” GLAAD’s President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “She not only made history tonight as the first queer woman of color to win an Oscar, but she sent a beautiful and timely message to LGBTQ young people. I hope LGBTQ youth around the world saw her win, heard her speak and recognize that they too should dream big.”
The new iteration of the iconic play has come a long way. In the 1961 movie, Puerto Ricans were played by white actors who darkened their skin with makeup. This time around, actors of color were included in the casting.