CODA Star Troy Kotsur Is The Second Deaf Actor To Win An Oscar

When the Oscar nominations were announced in February, veteran actor Troy Kotsur made history after becoming the second deaf actor to have been nominated in an acting role. At the 94th Academy Awards, the 53-year-old star of "CODA" home the prize for Best Supporting Actor, becoming the first deaf man to win an Oscar, but not the first deaf actor — his co-star Marlee Matlin won the Best Actress trophy for "Children of a Lesser God" back in 1987.

Kotsur plays Frank Rossi, a funny and foul-mouthed fisherman in Siân Heder's "CODA" (the movie's title is an acronym for "child of deaf adults"), which is the remake of a 2014 French film titled "La Famille Bélier." The poignant coming-of-age film tells the touching story of Ruby, a teenage girl who is the only hearing member of her family. Frank struggles to relate to his daughter's artistic pursuits, who is torn between her dream of becoming a singer and helping her family in their fishing business.

The milestone comes after 35 years

Kotsur's win is a milestone that arrives 35 years after his "CODA" co-star Marlee Matlin became the first deaf performer to win in the Best Actress category.

The actor was visibly emotional during his heart-warming speech (which is the highlight of the Oscars so far, and also made his interpreter tear up), as he shared, "This is our moment." The actor dedicated his historic win to the deaf and disabled community, while taking a moment to thank his father — who he described as his "hero":

"My dad, he was the best signer in our family, but he was in a car accident and he became paralyzed 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," Kotsur said.

Kotsur had long been the frontrunner in the Supporting Actor category this awards season, and won the BAFTA, the Critics Choice Award, as well as the Screen Guild Award for his role.

"CODA" writer-director Sian Heder also won an Oscar in the "Best Adapted Screenplay" category, and the Apple TV+ film is also nominated for "Best Picture" alongside "Belfast," ​​"Don't Look Up," "Drive My Car," "Dune," "King Richard," "Licorice Pizza," "Nightmare Alley, " "The Power of the Dog" and "West Side Story." Kotsur was nominated alongside Ciarán Hinds ("Belfast"), Jesse Plemons ("The Power of the Dog"), J.K. Simmons ("Being the Ricardos") and Kodi Smit-McPhee ("The Power of the Dog").

If you haven't already watched Kotsur's compelling performance in "CODA" yet, the film is available to stream on Apple TV+.