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Ariana DeBose Wins Oscar, Proud to Be Queer Woman In Acceptance Speech

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The out actress won the Oscar for playing Anita in West Side Story, the same role which Rita Moreno also won the Oscar for in 1962.

It's official! Ariana DeBose is now an Oscar-winning actress!

It was a jam-packed category filled with other icons like Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter), Judi Dench (Belfast), Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog), and Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard), but after slaying most of Awards Season these past few months, the West Side Story star and Out100 2021 honoree took home the gold at Sunday's 94th annual Academy Awards.

"Even in this weary world that we live, dreams do come true, and that's really a heartening thing right now," DeBose said when she got on the stage to accept her Oscar.

"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," she continued towards the end of her speech. "So to anyone who has ever questioned your identity, or if you find yourself living in the grey spaces, I promise you this: there is indeed a place for us."

DeBose won a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award earlier this year for her performance as Anita in Steven Speilberg's adaption of West Side Story, a role which legendary EGOT winner Rita Moreno also won the Oscar for after taking on the role in the 1961 film version.

DeBose and fellow actress Kristen Stewart (who is nominated in the Best Actress category for her role in Spencer) made headlines together this year, as this was the first time in Oscar history two out, queer actresses were nominated for acting awards in the same year.

"I am a Black-identifying biracial queer Afro-Latina. I say this frequently, and some people don't really get it, but most people do...I am America. I am damn near a member of just about every marginalized community. That is not a red badge of courage, because I have opportunity." DeBose told Out last year as part of the annual Out100 celebration about the representation she brings to projects she's part of and getting to help make space for others to shine. "Every time we see a woman elected to office, there's another crack in the glass ceiling...Every BIPOC woman or LGBTQ+ [community] member who gets an opportunity to play a leading role or play a really well-developed character -- a human with agency who might be a little bit messy but who is fully fleshed out -- that is a win."

Revisit Ariana DeBose's Oscar-winning performance in West Side Story, which is now streaming on Disney+.

RELATED | Here's Where to Watch All the 2022 Oscar-Nominated LGBTQ+ Movies

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Raffy Ermac

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and the digital director of Out.

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and the digital director of Out.