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Troy Kotsur, the first deaf actor to win an Oscar in the history of the Academy. Photo: gettyimages.
Troy Kotsur, the first deaf actor to win an Oscar in the history of the Academy. Photo: gettyimages.

A Deaf actor and a Queer Afrolatina actress make history at the Oscars

Ariana DeBose, Troy Kotsur from "CODA", and the Spanish short film "The Windshield Wiper” were winners of the Oscars in a controversial gala.

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“CODA: Signs of the Heart” was one of the winners of the night and won the statuette for best film at the 94th Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theater in Ovation Hollywood. The production of Apple TV won in this category to the great favorite: "The power of the dog", a production by Netflix streaming platform.

The movie, directed by the American Siân Heder, tells the story of a family with a deaf member: Ruby (Emilia Jones), 17, who discovers her passion for music. A teacher, a character played by the Mexican Eugenio Derbez, will encourage her to pursue her dream.

“CODA: Signs of the Heart”  has also been victorious in the other two categories in which it was nominated: “Best Adapted Screenplay”, in which it competed with “Drive my car”, “Dune”, “The lost daughter”, and “The power of the dog”; and also in the “Best Supporting Actor” category, in which Troy Kotsur won against Ciarán Hinds from “Belfast”, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-Mcpheede, both from “The Power of the Dog”, and JK Simmons from “Being the Ricardos”. With this prize, Kotsur became the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar in Academy history.

At the ceremony, the Spanish Alberto Mielgo and Leo Sánchez were also victorious for the animated short film “The Windshield Wiper”. The movie tells the story of a man who, inside a cafe, asks himself questions about love without expecting the answers to be found in a collection of vignettes and everyday life’s situations.

At night, the jury also awarded Ariana DeBose for her performance in Spielberg's musical "West Side Story”. With this prize, DeBose became the first Afro-Latin queer Oscar winner. Jessica Chastain also won as best leading actress for her role in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”, and Will Smith as best leading actor for his role in the film “King Richard”.

This actor threw the ceremony into chaos byt punching Chris Rock, after he made a joke about the alopecia of Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. While the public and Rock himself were stunned, he simply said: "Oh, Will Smith just gave me a good one." Smith, for his part, continued the argument from where he was sitting yelling, "Keep my wife's name out of your f*cking mouth."

Later, the actor went up to receive his award and apologized to the nominees and the Academy in a speech with more doubts and grays than certainty. ““Art imitates life. I look like a crazy father... just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.In this business, you got to be able to have people disrespect you and you got to smile and you got to pretend like that’s OK. I hope the Academy invites me back," he said without specifically referring to the violent act in which he was involved.

But it was too late: the punch and his words overshadowed the gala and provoked criticism from the public and the specialized press that he did not condone the justification of any type of violence. Neither did the Academy, which, after the gala, released a statement in which, without directly referring to Smith, it condemned violence in all its forms.

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