There wasn’t any doubt going into tonight’s Oscars that Troy Kotsur was going to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in CODA … despite presenter Youn Yuh-jung pausing for dramatic effect after opening the envelope. The deaf actor has swept all of the precursors, but his prolific awards season run has been leading up to this point: an acceptance speech that will make you weep big ol’ baby tears. Kotsur begins with a funny confession before pivoting to sincerity, signing how he came this close to teaching Joe and Jill Biden “some dirty sign language, but Marlee Matlin told me to behave myself. Instead, I want to thank all the wonderful deaf theater stages where I was allowed and given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor.”
It should be noted that by this point, his interpreter is audibly sniffling back tears. Also, Youn Yuh-jung is holding his award for him with the sweetest expression on her face the entire time. Kotsur continues, signing beautifully:
My dad, he was the best signer in our family. But he was in a car accident, and he became paralyzed from the neck down. And he no longer was able to sign. Dad, I learned so much from you. I’ll always love you. You are my hero. Thank you to my biggest fans, my wife and my daughter Kyra and my hometown of Mesa, Arizona, and Mark Findley, my manager and my team. I just wanted to say that this is dedicated to the deaf community, the CODA community, and the disabled community. This is our moment. To my mom, my dad, and my brother, Mark. They’re not here today, but look at me now: I did it. I love you. Thank you.