'CODA' star Troy Kotsur makes history at the Oscars, offers moving ASL acceptance speech

Troy Kotsur holding an Oscar and signing I love you.
Troy Kotsur wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for CODA at the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood. (Reuters)

Troy Kotsur made history at the Oscars on Sunday. The 53-year-old star is the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar and second deaf performer overall. It was a standout moment of the show when Kotsur, who won Best Supporting Actor for his role in CODA, gave one of the most memorable speeches of the night.

"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 recognizing my work," he began, noting how CODA has reached audiences worldwide — including the White House.

Kotsur joked how he wanted to teach President Biden and first lady Jill Biden "dirty sign language," but co-star Marlee Matlin told him "to behave." (Matlin was the first deaf performer to win an Oscar, for Children of a Lesser God, in 1987.)

"Don't worry, Marlee. I won't drop any F-bombs in my speech today," added Kotsur, who still brought laughs — and tears. The actor moved many people in the audience, including his translator, when he began talking about his late father.

"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 wasn't able to sign," he said, with Kotsur's translator choking up. "Dad, I learned so much from you, and I'll always love you. You are my hero."

Kotsur dedicated his Oscar award to the deaf, CODA and disabled communities.

"This is our moment," he declared. "I did it!"

Kotsur got a standing ovation from the star-studded audience, many of whom signed applause.