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Ariana DeBose Wins BAFTA and Critics Choice Awards

The West Side Story actor acknowledged her co-star, Oscar winner Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the original 1961 film.

West Side Story‘s Ariana DeBose won her first BAFTA Award at the 75th British Academy Film Awards ceremony, held in London March 13.

Winning Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, DeBose said in her acceptance speech, “This means so much to me. I am someone who sings, dances, acts. I speak dance better than I speak English. So, I am truly honored by this recognition. It’s not everyday that you get to bring to life a character using all of these disciplines.”

DeBose was also nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award. Co-star Mike Faist was nominated for Best Supporting Actor; Brian Chumney, Tod Maitland, Andy Nelson, and Gary Rydstrom were nominated for Sound; Adam Stockhausen and Rena Deangelo were nominated for Production Design; and Cindy Tolan was nominated for Casting.

DeBose also won Best Supporting Actress at the Critics Choice Awards, which were held simultaneously in Los Angeles’ Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel and in London’s Savoy Hotel March 13. 

At the Critics Choice Awards, DeBose recognized Oscar-winning co-star Rita Moreno, who originated the role of Anita in the original 1961 West Side Story film. “You made space for me to thrive beside you. I am not in front of you, I am not behind you, I am beside you. And, that’s the greatest gift you could have ever given me,” DeBose said in her acceptance. 

DeBose added, “To all young people, doesn’t matter how you identify or who you are, you are unique, you are talented, you are seen, you are valued, you are loved. And you matter. Please don’t ever forget that.”

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