Phoenix area native wins Oscar for his role in CODA: 'This is for the Deaf community'

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 27: Troy Kotsur attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

The star-studded Oscar award ceremony took place on March 27, and one of the winners is an Arizona native who went to Phoenix Day School for the Deaf.

Troy Kotsur, from Mesa, won supporting actor for his role in CODA, a film about a deaf family with a hearing daughter. He's the first man who is deaf to win an Academy Award for acting.

"We were in tears. There were a lot of comments. To see him up there and his words … gave us chills," said Belinda Carroll, administrative assistant, with the school.

Students and staff at the day school have been celebrating ever since his win.

"A lot of our students have someone to look up to. If he can do this, if he can make it as an actor, I can as well," Carroll said.

Kotsur attended the school between 1972 and 1984. The day following his win, they pulled out the old yearbooks to reminisce and found pictures of him on the varsity football team, basketball team and signing the Star-Spangled Banner.

"It is always nice to have a local person, someone we know, and he is from Phoenix Day school for the Deaf and that is even better. He's an alumni. He is a part of our local culture, our local community. It is so inspiring," Carroll said.

School administrators say because the film is about a deaf family with a hearing daughter, it is so important to have this kind of representation on the world stage.

"This is for the Deaf community, the CODA community and the disabled community," said Kotsur, signing from the stage. "This is our moment."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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