At the Oscars: The Most Inspiring and Most Emotional Acceptance Speeches

From a New York Times story headlined “A Starry Night With Highs and Lows”:

Most Emotional Acceptance Speech

How appropriate that last year’s supporting-actress winner, Yuh-Jung Youn (“Minari”), was the one to present the “CODA” star Troy Kotsur with his supporting-actor Oscar. Both performers utterly charmed their respective awards seasons by giving heartfelt and funny acceptance speeches. You knew you were in for the moment of the night when Youn announced Kotsur’s name in sign language she had learned for the moment.

Then Kotsur took the stage and delivered such an emotional speech — with a heartbreaking dedication to his father, who lost his ability to sign after being paralyzed in an accident — that even his translator’s voice cracked with feeling. “Dad, I learned so much from you,” the actor signed. “I’ll always love you. You are my hero.” — Kyle Buchanan

Most Inspiring Acceptance Speech

Ariana DeBose became only the second Latina to win an Academy Award, when she took best supporting actress for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” Rita Moreno, who was the first Latina to win an Oscar, for the same role in 1962, could be seen in the audience clasping her hands, undoubtedly proud of her protégée as DeBose accepted the honor onstage.

“Now you see why that Anita says ‘I want to be in America,’ because even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true,” DeBose said. She thanked Moreno, calling her a “divine inspiration” and adding, “I’m so grateful your Anita paved the way for tons of Anitas like me and I love you so much.”

But what made the acceptance especially moving came next. DeBose took a moment to reference being the first openly queer woman of color to win an acting Oscar — and to inspire others like her:

“To anybody who has 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.”

As someone who has lived in those gray spaces, I couldn’t help but tear up. — Maira Garcia

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