The Importance of Inclusion
History-making Oscar-winning actor Troy Kotsur has been forging his own path in the entertainment industry for over twenty years, and shares incomparable insights about how industries of all kinds can become more inclusive and celebrate the diversity of the deaf, hard of hearing, and disabled communities in this magnetic and memorable talk.
Overcoming Adversity and Breaking Barriers
Oscar-winner Troy Kotsur has navigated adversity throughout his life, going on to win numerous awards – including the Oscar – for his phenomenal performance in CODA. Deaf since his birth, Kotsur shares impactful personal stories, insights about how he cultivated his mindset of resilience, and how audiences of all kinds can participate in breaking barriers to create a more inclusive world in this authentic, humorous, and memorable talk.
In Conversation with Troy Kotsur
Award-winning actor and director Troy Kotsur made history with his Oscar win for CODA, becoming the first deaf man to receive the award. Kotsur, whom Forbes has called “a one-man masterclass in starpower and stage presence,” engages audiences of all kinds with stories of his path to Hollywood stardom, the obstacles he has overcome, and insights about creating more inclusive communities and workplaces in this entertaining and unforgettable talk.
Groundbreaking Oscar Winner Troy Kotsur captivates every audience with his message of authenticity & inclusion
When Oscar-winning actor TROY KOTSUR stopped by the Harry Walker offices for a virtual visit, we were blown away by the power of his message. Kotsur has received significant accolades for his memorable role in CODA, including a history-making win as the first Deaf man to win an Academy Award for his poignant (and hilarious!) performance. Our team was spellbound as he shared his journey, overcoming obstacles and learning to trust his gut that he had an important story to tell. When sharing about his persistence in the face of rejection, Kotsur’s perspective is clear: his deafness was not something to be ‘fixed’, it is part of his identity – and as a Hollywood changemaker, he is here to be himself. A revered actor for over three decades, Kotsur is passionate about projects like CODA; stories that bridge the gap between the hearing and Deaf worlds and expand the opportunity to shift and transform cultural perspectives.
Beyond using his platform to advocate for more authentic representation in media, Kotsur – whom Forbes has called “a one-man masterclass in starpower and stage presence” – offers insights about the necessity of reframing our conversations about inclusion, especially when it comes to the Deaf community. “I am the data,” he says, encouraging listeners to trust members of the Deaf community to know what’s best for them and lead the way in decision-making. Central to Kotsur’s uplifting message is education, and he offers actionable takeaways for how individuals and organizations can make their practices more accessible and think outside the box to solve problems. Balancing a vital message of inclusion with his trademark sense of humor, Kotsur offers a singular perspective that will captivate any audience.
Watch Troy Kotsur’s interview on PBS News Hour >>
Watch Troy Kotsur accept his groundbreaking Oscar >>
Troy Kotsur has been acting and directing for over 20 years. Deaf since birth, he was raised in Mesa, AZ. In his career he has an Oscar, a lead role in the Broadway run of a Tony Award winning play, and numerous other memorable roles in film and television.
In 2022, Troy became the first Deaf male to win an Oscar for his supporting role in the film, CODA. He is credited with being a big part of the feature's success, which included a Best Picture Oscar and the SAG Ensemble Award. Troy also won the BAFTA, SAG Award, Indie Spirit Award, Critics Choice Award, Gotham Award and others for his performance.
Much of Troy’s success has stemmed from his highly respected work on stage. His prolific career includes multiple roles in the Tony Award winning run of Big River on Broadway, performing at the Mark Taper Forum, and a role in the 2015 LA Drama Critics Circle Award nominee Spring Awakening.
In television, Troy made headlines in 2019 for his acting role in The Mandalorian on Disney+ because along with acting, he created an adapted form of sign language for the that series and The Book of Boba Fett. Other notable television roles include guest star appearances on Criminal Minds, Scrubs, CSI: NY, and a fan favorite recurring character on PAX’s Sue Thomas: FB-Eye.
Kotsur lives in Mesa, AZ with his wife and daughter.