Academy Award winner Troy Kotsur says his success “still takes time for it all to sink in” after starring in 2021’s CODA.
At the 28th annual Critics Choice Awards on Sunday night, Kotsur, 54, told PEOPLE that appearing on the awards circuit almost one year after he won Best Supporting Actor at the 94th Oscars “almost feels like a family reunion” as he appeared to present the best supporting actress award to Angela Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
“Well, it’s a weird feeling because I feel like it was all over and since then I’ve had so many projects and development, so many meetings, so many new scripts to read, so it still takes time for it all to sink in,” Kotsur said, when asked about the long-term impact of Coda‘s success on his life.
“Now, being here at this event, it really is the only time us actors have an opportunity to see each other in one place,” the actor told PEOPLE. “It almost feels like a family reunion, because everyone is so busy with their careers and during award season, it pulls us all together, we get to see each other.”
Asked about the difference between one person in the deaf community’s success versus that of the entire community’s success, Kotsur said he feels he “can increase the hope of deaf kids out there because for so long we were ignored and marginalized and isolated.”
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“One day when you win an award like an Oscar or a CCA Award, the world will listen to you, the world will pay attention, and then that will of course influence the next generation of deaf and disabled children,” Kotsur told PEOPLE. “Technology has really improved too. Deaf people really rely on this technology to have access to communication and for making movies too.”
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“It’s really a blessing that I was an award winner, and I think the world was finally ready for that,” the actor — who made history as the first Deaf man to win an acting Oscar in 2022, among other milestones — adds of last year’s awards season success.
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Kotsur also teased an upcoming project he has in the works with Disney+ on Sunday, describing an “untitled series that’s based on a true story about a deaf football team that goes on to win the state championship.”
“It’s inspired by that true story, and I’ll play the head coach,” the actor said of the still-in-development project. “It’s with these deaf football players and a big cast, so this will be a huge step forward for Hollywood.”