Academy Awards 2019: Ariana DeBose, Rita Moreno is the First Openly Queer Woman of Color to Win an Acting Oscar, Award-winning actress Ariana DeBose and Rita Moreno have received the honor of winning the Oscar Award in the category of Best Supporting.
Actress at this year’s Academy Awards. This marks the second time that the Academy has recognized an actress for playing Anita in West Side Story, with Rita Moreno being the first to win in 1962 when she played Anita.
Academy Awards Ariana DeBose Rita Moreno
DeBose earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk. She also shared a Screen Actors Guild Award with her co-stars for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for her role as Anita. DeBose previously won BroadwayWorld’s Audience Choice Award for Best Actress in 2015 and 2017.
Rita Moreno is best known for playing Anita from West Side Story. Last year, she became one of seven performers in history to win back-to-back Oscars in different categories. After accepting her award on Sunday night, DeBose said There is indeed a place for us—an allusion to the show tune.
There’s A Place For Us from West Side Story. In addition to thanking God and remembering that without His grace she would not be here today, DeBose called out other marginalized people including trans women of color. It was a beautiful moment! And thank you Academy for recognizing that there is indeed a place for us!
Thank you! Thank you! This year we honor stories that reflect what it means to be human at its fullest—love and laughter; grief and loss; courage and fearlessness; compassion and joyfulness. The Academy has shown itself time and again to be progressive when it comes to representing queer people in the film. This year marked several milestones for LGBTQ representation at the Academy Awards.
A Star Is Born starring Lady Gaga opened up about queer desire last fall. Several scenes included multiple kisses between Gaga and actor/musician Anthony Ramos (who plays Ramon). Two queer characters were nominated for awards at last night’s ceremony: Melissa McCarthy received a nod for Can You Ever Forgive Me?
she lost to Glenn Close who won Best Actress for The Wife. Meanwhile, Mahershala Ali was recognized with his second Academy Award win in two years as Best Supporting Actor for Green Book—the first Muslim actor to ever win in that category.
Also of note was Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya who won Best Actor in a Leading Role; he had previously been nominated twice before without winning (for Black Panther and Sicario).
While his role as Chris did not explicitly identify him as gay or bisexual, some critics have interpreted his character as such because he was never shown pursuing women on screen. In any case, Kaluuya made history as one of only five black men ever to win an acting award from The Academy since its inception in 1927.
On top of all that, Academy President John Bailey made news last month when he came out as gay in response to reports about a film executive sexually harassing actresses and staff members. This year’s Academy Awards also saw two openly queer performers take home awards.
Roma director Alfonso Cuarón took home his third Oscar for Best Director. He has openly identified as gay throughout his career, though has not publicly discussed having relationships or children until recently.
The Honorary Award Recipients
HONORARY AWARD RECIPIENTS An honorary award is given to honor specific contributions by individuals or groups of people. In 2015, it was announced that Academy Award winner Marc Lawrence would be receiving a special honor at The Oscars.
This same year he had starred in and produced many Academy Award-nominated films including American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook which both went on to win. Due to his lifetime achievements and versatility in film, Lawrence became a recipient of The Honorary Award for his work as a director and producer.
In 2016, after being diagnosed with brain cancer at only 49 years old, Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall was one more individual who became eligible for receiving an Honorary Award from The Academy.
For her role in How To Marry A Millionaire, she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Bacall’s career spanned over 60 years where she appeared in over 40 movies.