It was a memorable night for a couple of Latines at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards Sunday night (February 27).
Ariana DeBose won in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. DeBose also earned a victory for the role at the Golden Globes earlier this year and is now also the heavy favorite to win an Academy Award.
“I’m extremely proud of [Anita] and of our film,” DeBose said during her acceptance speech. “I really believe that when you recognize one of us, you recognize all of us in a way.”
When asked in the press room after the ceremony what her SAG award win means for Afro-Latinas in Hollywood, DeBose said “the doors are opening” for actresses like her.
“It’s an honor to be seen,” DeBose said. “Whatever firsts are attached to my name, they are immensely special to me, but I’m focused on the fact that if I’m the first of anything, that means I will not be the last.”
It is important to note that there is a conversation surrounding whether DeBose is the first Latine woman to win a SAG. Lupita Nyong’o has won the award multiple times before and is a Kenyan-Mexican actress. This leads to a more complex conversation on ethnicity vs nationality that is not easily defined in one paragraph.
Along with DeBose, another Latine who had a good night was Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez, who took the stage with his fellow CODA cast members to pick up their award for the top prize of the night, Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture. In CODA, Derbez plays a high school choir teacher and mentor to one of his students, who is the only member of her family who is not deaf.
“Being nominated was already an award,” Derbez told Variety. “I never thought we were going to win against, you know, Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver, Lady Gaga. When I heard CODA, I went crazy. I’m still trying to figure out what happened.”
See DeBose’s full acceptance speech here:
See Derbez join his fellow CODA cast members on stage to accept their Best Ensemble award here: