Ariana DeBose's History-Making Oscars Speech in Full: 'You See a Queer'

Ariana DeBose made history at the Oscars on Sunday, when she became the first openly queer woman of color to win in an acting category.

Scooping the Best Supporting Actress trophy for her lauded efforts as Anita in Steven Spielberg's reimagining of classic musical West Side Story, it was also a moment of history somewhat being repeated.

Rita Moreno, who co-starred with DeBose in the film, also won an Oscar for the same role in the 1962 version of the fan favorite. As such, it marks the first time that two actresses have won an Oscar for the same role in different films.

As she took to the stage in her striking red Valentino gown, the Broadway star proudly held her gleaming statuette aloft as she delivered a powerful and moving speech about the significance of her win for herself and others.

Ariana DeBose's Oscars speech in full

"You know what, now I see why that 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 really a heartening thing right now.

"If I took the time to say thank you to every single beautiful person who has lifted me up on this stage, you fine people would be sitting here until next Oscars, so I'm not going to do that. But just allow me to say that it was the summer of a lifetime and I am the most privileged and grateful to have spent it with all of you.

"My God, thank you, Steven Spielberg. You're stuck with me now! Yay! Thank you Kristie Macosko Krieger and Tony Kushner and the divine inspiration that is Rita Moreno. You are staring at me right now and I'm so grateful. Your Anita paved the way, the way for tons of Anitas like me. And I love you so much.

"I'm going to wrap this up and talk about my family, my mother, who is here tonight. Mama, I love you with my whole heart and this is as much yours as it is mine. Some of my tribesmen, my family, my love, Sue, Jonathan, Diana, Anthony. I couldn't do what I do without each and every one of you.

"Lastly, imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, look into her eyes: You see a queer, 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.

"Yeah, so, to anybody who has 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. Thank you to the Academy and thank you all."

Ariana DeBose
Ariana DeBose poses with her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for "West Side Story" in the press room at the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. She is the first openly queer woman of color to have won an acting Oscar. David Livingston/Getty Images