Why Ariana DeBose’s 2022 Oscars Best Supporting Actress Win Is Historic
Ariana DeBose joined an elite group of Academy Award winners when she picked up the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress Sunday night (March 27).
The breakout star beat out Judi Dench, Kirsten Dunst, Jessie Buckley and Aunjanue Ellis to take home the award for her work as Anita in Steven Spielberg's adaption of West Side Story. In doing so, she made history several times over.
For starters, BeDose becomes the second actress to win the category for playing the role of Anita. Rita Moreno took home the trophy after playing Anita in the 1961 film adaption of the classic musical, according to the Los Angeles Times.
This is only the third time that an Oscar has been awarded to different actors for the same role. Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix were previously awarded for their portrayals of the Joker, while both Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro picked up wins for their respective runs as Vito Corelone from The Godfather series, according to People.
DeBose and Moreno are the first actresses to pull off the feat, and Moreno was on hand in the audience while DeBose accepted her award.
Watch "America" From West Side Story (2021):
That's not all, though.
In accepting her win, BeDose also becomes the first Afro-Latina actress and first openly queer woman of color to pick up an acting award at the Oscars, according to NBC News.
The West Side Story star acknowledged the historic nature of her win while picking up her trophy.
"Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus. 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.
"So to anybody who's ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever, or you find yourself living in the grey spaces, I promise you this: there is indeed a place for us," she concluded her statement.
Watch her full acceptance speech below:
Spielberg's West Side Story was in the running for seven awards with major nominations in the Best Picture and Best Director categories.