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CODA actor Troy Kotsur had half of Hollywood on their feet and signing their applause after an emotional acceptance speech that brought his interpreter to the verge of tears.
The 53-year-old star became the first deaf man to win an Academy Award for acting when he picked up the gong for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his part in CODA, at Sunday’s Oscars.
Handing his statue to Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung - who signed Kotsur's name as she announced him as the winner - Kotsur gave his acceptance speech in American sign language.
He thanked his family and the film’s director Sian Heder, saying to the latter, “you brought the Deaf world and the hearing world together, and you are our bridge, and your name will forever be on that bridge.”
— Anne Beaulac (@annebeaulac) March 28, 2022
Kotsur went on to pay tribute to his father, with his words eliciting a very emotional response from the interpreter, whose voice trembled as he translated.
“My dad, he was the best signer in our family,” Kotsur said, “But he was in a car accident, and he became paralysed 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.”
Troy Kotsur's Oscars acceptance speech... The way Youn Yuh-jung is looking at him... His interpreter tearing up...
I'm not crying you're crying pic.twitter.com/jsDMeXmtir
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The speech was met with an enthusiastic response from the audience, with many rising to their feet and signing their applause by holding both hands in the air and waving them.
Kotsur dedicated his win to the Deaf community, the CODA community and the disabled community, saying, “This is our moment.”
Kotsur’s CODA co-star Marlee Matlin became the first deaf woman to win an Oscar when she picked up Best Actress for her role in Children of a Lesser God 35 years ago.
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