Troy Kotsur, an alumnus of Gallaudet University in D.C., won best supporting actor at the 94th Academy Awards Sunday night, becoming the first male deaf actor to win an Oscar, and only the second deaf actor to do so.
It began on Oscar nomination day when Kotsur, learning of his supporting actor nod for "CODA," literally fell off his chair in a video that went viral. He continued to charm Hollywood and by Oscar night Kotsur, who plays a randy father in the film about a deaf family with a hearing child, was a clear favorite.
Still, his win was emotional — many in the audience, including Chastain, Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman, responded with waving hands — what is known as a deaf clap. Even his interpreter choked up during Kotsur’s speech.
He joined "CODA" costar Marlee Matlin as the only deaf Oscar winners. "I just wanted to say this is dedicated to the Deaf community, the CODA community and the disabled community," Kotsur signed. "This is our moment."
Gallaudet University tweeted about the historic moment saying, "Congratulations to Troy Kotsur, E-‘92, for his historic win of an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. We’re over the moon and could not be prouder of the strides he has made in deaf representation in entertainment! Join us in celebrating this monumental milestone!"
"CODA" also went on to win multiple awards, including best picture.
Besides being a huge moment for the Deaf community, it was the first win for a streaming service; though a small movie, it had deep support in Apple TV+, which scored its first best picture prize.
Later at the Governor’s Ball, the entire cast walked in and was mobbed by photographers and well-wishers, with Kotsur clutching his Oscar in one hand and happy co-star Matlin in the other.