When the Oscar nominations were announced on February 8, Troy Kotsur became only the second deaf actor after Marlee Matlin to be nominated in an acting role. On Sunday, he became the second deaf actor – and the first man – to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in CODA.
Matlin had previously won the Oscar for best actress for Children of a Lesser God in 1986.
Sian Heder’s film stars Kotsur and Matlin as Frank and Jackie Rossie, deaf parents who have a deaf son Leo (Damiel Durant) and a hearing daughter Ruby (Emilia Jones). Ruby’s decision to pursue a career in music and strike out on her own leads to tensions with her close-knit family.
At the ceremony at Los Angeles’s Dolby Theater, the 53-year-old actor signed his gratitude. The live telecast featured American Sign Language interpreters for the first time on its YouTube channel stream.
“This is our moment,” a visibly emotional Kotsur said through an interpreter. He dedicated his award to the deaf and disabled communities and sent up special thanks to his father, whom he said was “the best signer” in the family and his hero.
CODA is being streamed in India on Apple TV+.
Kotsur’s performance as Frank has won acclaim and a series of awards. Before the Oscars, members of the Deaf West Theatre Company in Los Angeles, where Kotsur has spent years performing in plays, offered their congratulations through American Sign Language.