By Mia Galuppo | The Hollywood Reporter | March 27, 2022
He is the first deaf male and the second deaf actor to earn an Academy Award for acting.
Troy Kotsur has made history by winning the best supporting actor Oscar and becoming the first deaf male, and the second deaf actor, to earn an Academy Award for acting.
Kotsur won for his role in CODA, playing deaf Massachusetts fisherman Frank Rossi. In 1987, Marlee Matlin, Kotsur’s CODA co-star, was the first and until tonight only deaf performer to win an Oscar, for her break-out role in Children of a Lesser God.
Kotsur’s Oscar comes at the end of a whirlwind awards season, during which time he earned best supporting actor nods at the Gotham, Independent Spirit, Critics Choice, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild awards.
“I wanted to thank all of the wonderful Deaf theater stages where I was given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor,” said Kotsur in his acceptance speech after he was presented his award by last year’s supporting actress winner, Yuh-Jung Youn. Kotsur is a longtime performer with Deaf West, an L.A.-based performance organization that produces theater inspired by Deaf culture, with credits that include Our Town, Spring Awakening and American Buffalo.
Sian Heder’s Apple movie follows the Rossis, a blue-collar fishing family in Gloucester, Massachusetts, as their hearing daughter (played by Emilia Jones), who also acts as the family interpreter, is considering college. The movie became an awards darling, nominated for several awards at the 2022 Oscars, including best picture.
Kotsur was nominated in the category with Ciarán Hinds (Belfast), Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) and J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos).
“This is dedicated to the Deaf community. The CODA community. The disabled community” concluded Kotsur. “This is our moment.”