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Ariana DeBose becomes 1st openly queer woman of color to win an acting Oscar

Ariana DeBose made history at the 2022 Oscars. 

DeBose won Best Supporting Actress at Sunday's Academy Awards for her role as Anita in West Side Story. This made her the first openly queer woman of color to win an Oscar for acting, according to Variety. She was also the first to be nominated. 

"Even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true, and that's really a heartening thing right now," she said in her acceptance speech. 

DeBose also became the second person to win an Oscar in this category for playing Anita in West Side Story, as Rita Moreno won in 1962 for the original film. According to The Wrap, DeBose became the second Latina acting winner at the Oscars after Moreno.

DeBose thanked Moreno on Sunday for paving the way for "tons of Anitas like me," and she described herself as an "openly queer woman of color, an Afro-Latina, who found her strength in life through art."  

"To anybody who has ever questioned your identity ... I promise you this: there is indeed a place for us," DeBose said. 

Speaking to Variety in February, DeBose became emotional after learning she was the first openly queer woman of color to be nominated at the Oscars. 

"It's overwhelming," she said. "And also, it's paramount because I didn't have that growing up. When people ask me about representation, I frequently say, 'If you can see it, then you can be it.' I believe in our young people; we need them. And they need to see themselves in the work that we make. So if I can do that for one or two young people in the world, then it will have been worth it." 

DeBose previously became the first openly queer woman of color to win an individual Screen Actors Guild Award — but, she said, "If I'm the first of anything that means I won't be the last."