Mesa native Troy Kotsur becomes 2nd deaf actor to win an Oscar
PHOENIX — Troy Kotsur won the Academy Award for best supporting actor on Sunday for his role in the Apple TV+ film “CODA.”
Kotsur, who was born in and resides in Mesa, is the second deaf actor to win an Oscar, the first being his “CODA” co-star Marlee Matlin in 1987 (“Children of a Lesser God”).
The 53-year-old played Frank Rossi, a father in a deaf family with a hearing daughter who dreams of becoming a singer. His performance made history before his win on Sunday, as he was the first deaf actor to earn a British Academy Film Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and Critics’ Choice Award.
In the film directed by Siân Heder, which was also nominated for best picture, Kotsur had one spoken-aloud line, as he shouted “Go!” to his daughter, played by Emilia Jones.
He has said in interviews that he hopes his success with “CODA” can inspire deaf people to feel unlimited.
Kotsur was born deaf and made his mark early in his career as a stage actor. He played the lead in “Cyrano” and Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles.
His first on-screen credit on IMDB came in 2001 in the television series “Strong Medicine.” He has since made appearances on “Scrubs,” “Criminal Minds” and “The Mandalorian,” where he helped create sign language for the Tusken Raiders.
The other nominees for best supporting actor were J.K. Simmons for his role in “Being the Ricardos,” Ciarán Hinds for “Belfast” along with Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee of “The Power of the Dog.”