Troy Kotsur Is First Deaf Male Oscar Winner: Read His Emotional Speech Here

Troy Kotsur made Oscars history in 2022 as the first deaf male actor to take home a statuette for Best Supporting Actor.

In his Academy Awards acceptance speech, delivered in American Sign Language, the actor paid tribute to his father, director Sian Heder, and co-star Marlee Matlin, who was the first deaf actor to win an Oscar in 1987 at the age of 21.

He also revealed that the cast of Coda had met President Joe Biden at the White House, with Kotsur joking that Matlin was the only person who stopped him from teaching the President rude words in sign language.

The audience also gave Kotsur a standing ovation by waving their hands. He won for playing Frank Rossi in the Apple TV+ movie. His character is the deaf fisherman father of Ruby (Emilia Jones), a "child of death adults" who can hear, and is interested in a career in singing despite her parents' disapproval.

Oscars 2022
(L-R) Troy Kotsur accepts the Actor in a Supporting Role award for ‘CODA’ from Youn Yuh-jung onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Troy Kotsur's Oscars acceptance speech in full

"This is amazing to be here on this journey. I cannot believe I'm here. Thank you so much to all the members of the Academy for recognising my work.

"It's really amazing that that our film Coda has reached out worldwide. It even reached all the way to the White House. And they invited the cast to Kota to visit and have a tour of the White House.

"We met president Joe and Dr. Jill and I was planning on teaching them some dirty sign language but Marlee Matlin told me to behave myself, so don't worry, Marlee, I won't drop any F bombs in my speech today.

"Instead, I really want to thank all of the wonderful deaf theatre stages where I was allowed and given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor. Thank you.

"I read one of Spielberg's books recently and he said that the best director, the definition of the best director was a skilled communicator, Sian Heder, you are the best communicator. And the reason why is you brought the deaf world and the hearing world together.

"You are our bridge. And your name will forever be on that bridge, Sian Heder bridge here in Hollywood, and that was supported by Apple, Sundance, all of our cast or crew, our producers and the community of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

"So I just want to say, hey, fisherman, hey, Popeye's, don't forget to eat your spinach!

"My dad, he was the best signer in our family. But he was in a car accident. And he became paralysed 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.

"Thank you to my biggest fans, my wife and my daughter Kiera, and my hometown of Mesa, Arizona. And Mark Finley, my manager and our 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."