To every awards season, a speech slayer is born, and this year that titan of the dais has been Troy Kotsur, who capped off the biggest season of his long career with the Best Supporting Actor win for CODA, in which he played a career fisherman who’s struggling with letting his hearing daughter, who serves as the entire family’s ears, follow her dreams out of town.
Presenter and last year’s Best Supporting Actress Youn Yuh-jung signed the winner as well as announced him and was happy to hold Kotsur’s statue while he gave his speech in ASL, resulting in signed applause from the audience and rivulets of tears on multiple faces.
“It’s really amazing that our film, CODA, has reached out worldwide,” Kotsur said through a translator. It even reached all the way to the White House.” He planned on teaching the Bidens some “dirty sign language, but Marlee Matlin told me to behave myself. “Don’t worry, Marlee, I won’t drop any F-bombs in my speech today.”
Matlin, who plays his wife in the film, was the first deaf performer to ever win an acting Oscar, Best Actress for 1986’s Children of a Lesser God, and Kotsur is only the second.
He also shared that his late father was the best signer he ever knew, before he was paralyzed from the neck down in a car crash and could no longer communicate. “Dad, I learned so much from you,” Kotsur said. “I’ll always love you, you are my hero. I just wanted to say that this is dedicated to the deaf community, the C.O.D.A. community and the disabled community. This is our moment.”
Wait, you’re crying?! We’re crying too!