DeBose won the Academy Award on Sunday night for her acting, singing and dancing as Anita in her breakthrough role in the Steven Spielberg reimagining of the classic musical.
She becomes the first Afro-Latina and openly LGBTQ actor win in the category. “To anybody who has ever questioned your identity,” she said, “I promise you there is a place for us.”
Largely unknown in film circles before landing the coveted role, the 31-year-old North Carolina native became the clear Oscar favorite after an awards season full of victories.
She was previously primarily known as a stage actress, with Broadway roles in “Bring It On: The Musical,” “Motown: The Musical” and “Hamilton.”
DeBose beat out fellow nominees Jessie Buckley, Judi Dench, Kirsten Dunst and Aunjanue Ellis. She thanked Rita Moreno, who starred in both 1961 and 2021 film adaptations.
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