Troy Kotsur wins Best Supporting Actor Oscar for ‘CODA,’ makes history as first Deaf male champion

Troy Kotsur is this year’s Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor, claiming victory for his heartfelt performance in Apple Original Films’ “CODA.” (See the complete Oscars winners list.) The 53-year-old actor has earned rave reviews since the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year, praising Kotsur’s expressive turn as the crude yet lovable fisherman, Frank. He now becomes the second Deaf actor in history to win an Oscar for acting.

Fittingly, Kotsur’s “CODA” co-star, Marlee Matlin, was the first Deaf performer to win an acting Oscar, back in 1987 for “Children of a Lesser God.” Ever since Matlin’s victory 35 years ago, Hollywood has largely failed to provide strong opportunities for Deaf actors compared to their hearing peers, with Kotsur becoming only the second Deaf actor to even be nominated for an Oscar, let alone win.

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While Kotsur is now the only male Deaf performer to win an Oscar, he joins a long line of actors over 50 to win the Supporting Actor award. He is not anywhere near the oldest actors to win Best Supporting Actor, with Christopher Plummer still holding the record at 82 when he won for “Beginners” in 2012, but Kotsur represents the kind of actor that voters love to reward in this category.

Kotsur’s Oscar victory comes after sweeping the other televised awards, including the Screen Actors Guild Awards, BAFTA, the Critics Choice Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards. He won an additional SAG Award with the “CODA” ensemble in the best cast category.

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At Sunday’s Academy Awards, Kotsur defeated the following Best Supporting Actor co-nominees: Ciaran Hinds (“Belfast”), Jesse Plemons (“The Power of the Dog”), J.K. Simmons (“Being the Ricardos”) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”). Last year’s supporting actress winner Yuh-Jung Youn (“Minari”) presented the trophy.

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