Oscars 2022: Ariana DeBose becomes first openly gay woman to win

Ariana DeBose gave a poignant speech (Picture: Getty)

West Side Story star Ariana DeBose has made history at the Oscars 2022, becoming the first openly gay woman to win an acting award.

The star, who wowed audiences in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation as Anita, picked up the best supporting actress award.

As well as becoming the first openly gay woman to win in an acting category, she’s also won for the same role as Rita Moreno did 50 years ago.

Thanking Steven and Rita, who played Anita in the original 1961 film, she went on to speak about being a queer woman of colour.

She said: ‘Now you see why Anita says I want to be in America because even in this weary world that we live in dreams do come true and that’s a heartening thing right now.’

On the production, she added: ‘It was the summer of a life time and I am the most privileged and grateful to have spent it with all of you.

‘My God thank you Steven Spielberg, you’re stuck with me now.’

Ariana DeBose

Ariana was over the moon (Picture: Reuters)

Ariana DeBose

Ariana starred as Anita (Picture: AFP)

The actress also paid tribute to Rita, saying she ‘paved the way for tonnes of Anitas like me.’

Concluding her speech, Ariana added: ‘Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus.

‘Look into her eyes, you see an openly queer woman of colour, an afro-latina, who found her strength in life through art.

Ariana DeBose

Ariana stunned in the new adaptation (Picture: AP)

Rita Moreno and Rock Hudson at the Oscars

Rita won for the same role 50 years ago (Picture: Getty)

‘And that’s what we’re here to celebrate.

‘So to anyone who has ever questioned their identity ever…I promise you this, there is indeed a place for us.’

Also nominated in the category were Belfast star Dame Judi Dench, The Lost Daughter’s Jessie Buckley, Kirsten Dunst for The Power of the Dog, and Aunjanue Ellis for King Richard.

Meanwhile, Kristen Stewart could also make history at the ceremony, if she wins best actress for her role in Spencer.

These nominations mark the first time openly LGBTQ+ actors have been nominated for acting roles since Ian McKellen was handed a nod for Lord of the Rings, in 2002.


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