Backstage Interview: ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Backstage Interview: ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

INTERVIEW WITH: Ariana DeBose

FILM: "WEST SIDE STORY"

Download Video

          Q.    Hi.  Baz --

          A.    Baz.  Hi, honey.

 

          Q.    Hi to you too.  Congratulations.

          A.    Thank you.  Crazy.

 

          Q.    You know, the path to winning this Oscar started a long time

                ago because I saw you on Broadway 12 years ago working your

                Wotsit off.  Tell me how you got from there to here, please.

          A.    I think -- I don't know if there's an easy way to put that or

                it's a question, I can tell you.  A lot of hard work, a lot of

                determination, a lot of active choice to take my rejections as

                redirections.  I was just saying, you know, when I was in the

                ensemble of Hamilton -- mind you, as an ensemble member, I had

                a role that barely spoke.  All I did was dance.  But I chose at

                some point to try for more and, to be frank, it wasn't met

                with, you know, thunderous applause.  Some folks kind of looked

                at me like I was crazy, and I had to choose to believe that I

                was deserving of more and go and train to be better.  And,

                honestly, just choosing -- choosing myself and choosing to

                believe that I was worthy and the willingness to humble myself

                and do the work, that's how this happened.  This is magic, but

                it's magic that did not come without effort, yeah.  Thanks,

                Baz.

 

          Q.    Over here.  Hi, Queen.  I just, again, want to say

                congratulations.  I loved you in WEST SIDE STORY, and this is

                also such an important award twofold because this is your first

                big major role in a feature film and nomination and win.  And

                you won the award that Rita Moreno won as the first

                Puerto Rican woman and Latina person to win the Academy Award

                for Supporting Actress in the same role.  So I just kind of

                wanted to ask you about this kind of full circle moment and,

                you know, your reaction to it?  And, like, you know, if you

                talked with Rita earlier tonight about your win, and, like, you

                know, compared Oscars or --      

          A.    No, you know, it is -- it is -- I don't -- I don't know.  I see

                it as a historical moment.  It's a layer on a layer on a layer,

                and I think this is the first time that a female role has been

                honored twice, but I think it's really important to note that

                our Anita, as well, they share a name.  They are different

                women, you know.  Her Anita is iconic and legendary and will

                always will be, and now mine has been shown light upon in this

                way, and I'm very proud of that because I set out to create a

                woman that stood on her own two feet.  And while there is our

                60 years of legacy between our Anitas, my Anita is not

                dependent on it.  She celebrates what was and what is and what

                can be, how we move forward, so it is historical.  And it is --

                gosh, I don't know.  It's overwhelming because I could see Rita

                tonight.  It was really special to be able to see her sort of

                willing me to say what I wanted to say.

                And I think the other layers, I'm an openly queer woman of

                color and not for nothing.  That's frickin' awesome, you guys.

                So I'm the second Latina to win an acting award.  I'm

                Afro-Latina.  I'm an openly queer woman of color, and I think

                that just proves that there's space.  There's space for us, and

                it's a beautiful moment to be seen, and I'm really honored by

                that.  I hope that answered your question.

 

          Q.    Hi.  BuzzFeed actually, I think, took my question a little bit

                because I wanted to ask if you had had a chance to talk at all

                with Rita since your win.

          A.    No, I hadn't.  I have not spoken to her yet.  I'm really hoping

                I can catch her at the Governor's Ball, but we did have a

                beautiful moment on the carpet.  I'm really hoping someone got

                a photo of it.  And she just said, "Are you ready?  You are in

                for the ride of your life, and I'm rooting for you."  And I

                think that's -- I don't know, that type of support, it is -- I

                don't know, it's everything, it's generationally between

                actresses.  You know, the industry has changed so much, and,

                quite frankly, her existence has opened many doors, not just

                for me, but for many women in this industry, many Latinas, and

                I don't know.  It makes me really happy to be able to stand

                beside her because she's not alone anymore.

                People don't talk about that.  When you are the first of

                something, it's lonely.  It's lonely.  I mean, at least that's

                what I've learned sometimes.  So it's really -- I don't know.

                It's a privilege and it's an honor to be the person that gets

                to stand beside her.  And guess what?  We are ready and waiting

                for more folks, so -- because there's space.  Let's go.

Acceptance speech transcripts for the 94th Academy Awards are created by a team of transcribers in real time and with minimal editing, for the benefit of the press on the night. They may contain omissions and errors, especially in the spelling of names. Clips of winner acceptance speeches may be found on oscar.com.

These transcripts may not be reproduced except as brief quotes used in conjunction with news reporting about the 94th Academy Awards®. All content Copyright 2022 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "Oscar®," "Oscars®," "Academy Awards®," "Academy Award®," "A.M.P.A.S.®" and "Oscar Night®" are the trademarks, and the ©Oscar® statuette is the registered design mark and copyrighted property, of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Additional information regarding the "Terms & Conditions of Use" and "Legal Regulations for Using Intellectual Properties of the Academy" may be accessed online at https://www.oscars.org/legal.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Communications Department
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211-1972
Phone (310) 247-3090
FAX (310) 271-3395
https://www.oscars.org
publicity@oscars.org