By THOUSIF INC
DeBose, Black, Latina, and white, is now the first openly queer woman of color to win for her acting and the only to be nominated.
"Even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true," she said in her acceptance speech.
"To anybody who has ever questioned your identity, I promise you this, and there is indeed a place for us."
DeBose initially rejected the invitation to audition for West Side Story because she worked on Broadway.
When she finally agreed, she got the script only a day before the audition, and she told Variety.
"I will sing and dance," she said but couldn't read her lines."
"But both Spielberg and the film's casting director, Cindy Tolan, loved her performance so much that they asked her to return."
The original West Side Story film has received widespread criticism about its historical lack of diversity and misrepresentation of Puerto Ricans.
In the 1961 movie, the cast meant to portray Puerto Ricans was made up of white actors, their skins darkened with makeup.
Early in the production process of the remake, director Steven Spielberg said he would strive for authenticity.
Still, critics have argued that the film cannot be salvaged and that its problems run deeper than representation.
DeBose told the media in a 2021 interview that she believes the film got it right.
"It is not every day that an Afro-Latina becomes part of the main event," DeBose told the media.
"And identity as an Afro-Latina informs the story."
"So it's not an afterthought. It's everything about this character."