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Ariana DeBose continues to dominate this year's award season, and this time she's taking home an award on the most prestigious stage yet.

The openly queer actress, who identifies as Afro Latina, made history last night at the 94th Academy Awards as she accepted an Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for her portrayal of Anita in Steven Spielberg's 2021 adaptation of West Side Story.

The actress is the first queer woman of color to ever win an Academy Award, and only the second Latina actress to ever do so.

The first was Rita Moreno, who played the role of Anita in the original 1961 West Side Story film. The actress became the first Latina to win an Oscar for her role.

DeBose was greeted with a standing ovation as she took the stage to mark the historical moment and make her acceptance speech.

“I’m so grateful – your Anita paved the way for tons of Anitas like me, and I love you,” said DeBose as she gestured toward Moreno in the audience.
“Now you see why Anita says ‘I want to be in America’, because even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true, and that’s a really heartening thing right now,” said DeBose.

DeBose, who has swept this season's award shows, will have yet another award to add to quickly growing collection which already consists of best supporting actress at the BAFTAS, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards.

"Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus. When you look into her eyes, you see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina, who found her strength in life through art. And that's what I believe we're here to celebrate," DeBose said.

The actress concluded with a powerful message for those struggling with their identities.

"So to anybody who's ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us."

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