Before nominations for the 94th Annual Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning (February 8), most Oscar pundits had Ariana DeBose chiseled into their ballot predictions. There was no way that DeBose – the precious gem of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story – was going to miss out on the first nomination of her young career.
And she didn’t. As predicted, DeBose landed the nom for Best Supporting Actress and, in turn, wrote herself into the cinematic history books where the name of her idol, Rita Moreno, could also be found in the same category and for the same role – 60 years prior.
With the nomination, DeBose also becomes the first openly queer woman of color to ever get an Oscar nomination. In addition, her and Kristen Stewart (Spencer) are the first openly queer actors to get a nomination in the same year.
“For me, it’s a monumental moment,” DeBose told Variety. “It’s thrilling. It’s exciting. But I feel every ounce of hard work and determination that I’ve had to employ throughout this journey. Every rejection — or as I like to say, redirection. Every choice I’ve made. Every risk I’ve taken. Many moments during this journey have validated those choices that I’ve made. But to get to this moment … I watched [the Oscars] growing up. To feel like I’ve been seen by a group of individuals that I have long admired is beyond. It doesn’t have words.”
DeBose was taking a walk with her best friend Tuesday morning when she got the news of her Oscar nomination. She stopped to take a selfie of her reaction. “WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?!” she tweeted and included an emoji with an exploding head. “Once I compose myself, I’ll have real words to say. But until then…”
Over the last 24 hours, fans of DeBose and West Side Story have jumped on social media to congratulate the actress on the prestigious recognition. Here are a few examples of the praise she’s received so far:
The 94th Annual Academy Awards take place March 27, 2022, on ABC and we wish Ariana DeBose all the luck!