CODA star Troy Kotsur will deliver the keynote address at this year’s UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television commencement as part of the university’s 75th annual ceremony, it was announced Friday.
The event, which will take place on June 10 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, will be presided over by the school’s interim dean Brian Kite.
Earlier this year, Kotsur made history as the second Deaf actor to win an Academy Award and the first deaf man to do so in an acting category in the ceremony’s nearly 100-year run. Kite declared it “an honor” to have the actor deliver the commencement keynote “following his sublime and hilarious performance in CODA.”
“Mr. Kotsur’s groundbreaking achievements as a member of, and advocate for, the Deaf community serve to remind us that the perspectives and stories of individuals from all backgrounds and abilities are not only important but vital to the future of the arts,” Kite said in a statement. “Our diverse student body is the future, and Mr. Kotsur is the perfect person to inspire the next stage of their careers.”
Kotsur earned his historic Oscar for his portrayal of Frank, the Deaf fisherman and father of a hearing daughter, Ruby (Emilia Jones) who desires to be a singer in the 2021 best picture winner directed by Sian Heder. In addition to his Academy Award win, Kotsur swept awards season in the supporting actor category, earning BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, Gotham, Independent Spirit and Screen Actors Guild awards, in addition to being nominated for a Golden Globe.
A theater, film and television graduate of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., Kotsur has appeared most recently in The Mandalorian and was responsible for creating the show’s Tusken sign language, also used in the Star Wars series’ spinoff The Book of Boba Fett.
Insecure writer-director-producer Amy Aniobi will also be honored at the Friday afternoon ceremony with the Distinguished Alumni Award for her work “utilizing her success to elevate Black voices and to encourage the inclusion of Black creatives in the industry,” Kite said. After receiving her MFA in screenwriting from UCLA in 2011, she would go on to serve as showrunner on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and a writer on HBO’s Silicon Valley.