Ariana DeBose Celebrates Being a Queer Woman of Color as She Wins Oscar: 'There Is Indeed a Place for Us'

The West Side Story actress won her first Academy Award on Sunday

And the Best Supporting Actress statuette at the 94th Academy Awards goes to... Ariana DeBose!

The West Side Story star, 31, clinched her first Oscar at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre on Sunday, beating out Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter), Judi Dench (Belfast), Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog) and Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard).

In her acceptance speech, DeBose said "dreams come true." The actress wins for playing Anita in the musical — the same role that won costar Rita Moreno an Oscar exactly 60 years ago in the original film. She called Moreno her "divine inspiration" in her speech and said she's "grateful" her Anita has "paved the way for tons of Anitas like me."

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DeBose added in her speech, "Lastly, imagine this little girl in the backseat of a white Ford Focus. Look into her eyes, you see a queer — openly queer — woman of color, Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art, and that's what I believe we are here to celebrate."

"So to anybody who has ever questioned their identity ever or find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us," she said, referencing an iconic Stephen Sondheim lyric from West Side Story. "Thank you to the Academy."

Ariana DeBose
Neilson Barnard/Getty

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The Tony Award-nominated Broadway actress, who competed on the sixth season of So You Think You Can Dance, is the second reality TV contestant to win an Oscar in her category after being eliminated on television. American Idol's Jennifer Hudson won the Academy Award in 2006 for her performance in Dreamgirls.

DeBose makes history as the first Afro-Latina actress and the first openly queer woman of color to win an Oscar in an acting category.

94th Annual Academy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA – 27 Mar 2022
Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

In a recent interview for PEOPLE's Oscars portfolio, DeBose reflected on playing Anita, saying her "entire family" is impressed with her work.

"Every time I book a bigger project or something that is shocking even to me, my family's very much like, 'Oh wow, you're ... yes, that's — congratulations! You're gonna do that!' " she said. "Which makes me giggle, 'cause I'm like, 'Yeah, I guess I am.' "

RELATED VIDEO: Ariana DeBose Recalls When Her Mom Came to West Side Story Set and Met 'Señor Spielberg'

DeBose — whose Oscar comes after she also took home the BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and Critics Choice Award — told PEOPLE she's excited to be "at a moment in [her] career where people listen when I have something to say."

"And that doesn't come for everyone, and I'm very aware of that," she added. "So I'm focused on how I can be a conducive part of whatever conversation — there are many conversations that need to happen in our industry and in the world."

The 2022 Oscars are airing Sunday from Hollywood's Dolby Theatre on ABC.

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