Apple TV+’s feel-good drama “CODA,” about the only hard-of-hearing member of a deaf family, took home the Best Picture trophy at the history-making Academy Awards on Sunday night.
The film, which earned only three nominations at the 94th annual ceremony, now stands as the first motion picture to feature a predominantly deaf cast in leading roles and the only film from the streaming service to receive top honors at an award show.
Netflix’s tense Western drama “The Power of the Dog” from director Jen Campion has long been expected to win the Best Picture trophy, as it led the pack of this year’s nominees by a staggering 12 nods. But “CODA” has emerged as a dark horse in recent weeks, receiving major frontrunner honors at the Producers Guild Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Writers Guild Awards and turning the most competitive awards season trophy into a hug. Has built up steady tempo- and neck-running.
“CODA” is the English-language remake of the 2014 French film “La Famille Bellier”. Apart from Campion’s film, it managed to beat competitors “Belfast,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Dune,” “King Richard,” “Licorice Pizza,” “Nightmare Alley” and the only international contender in the category. “Drive My Car” for Best Picture.
Earlier in the air, “Koda” saw wins in the Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor fields. Troy Kotsur, who makes an encouraging performance in the film as the family patriarch, became the first deaf person and second deaf artist to win an acting Oscar. His co-star Marlee Matlin became the first in 1986.
“CODA” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2021, where it took home top honors, including the Grand Jury Prize. Apple acquired the film for a record-breaking $25 million, and the film hit the company’s streaming service the following August.
The film tells the story of Ruby (Jones), a CODA (which stands for “Child of Deaf Adults”) who works as an interpreter for her family – mother Jackie (Matlin), father Frank (Kotesur). ) and brother Leo (Durant) – while also pursuing his dreams of becoming a singer.
Director Sean Heder ran against resistance from studios and financiers, who insisted on listening to actors portray the remaining deaf family members after Matlin came on board. But Matlin got his foot down, saying it was important to tell the story “as authentically as possible” in order to bring some long-awaited and positive onscreen representation to the deaf community.
“I realized that audiences would actually see deaf people in a movie,” she told the Los Angeles Times about the feature’s long journey to the big screen. “Plenty of people to see sign language, to see deaf people in normal, day-to-day settings, to identify with people and, for people with no ties who have never met a deaf person.” levels.”
“People think that deaf people are monogamous in terms of their outlook on life,” she said. “And this film breaks that myth.”
Apart from its award show acclaim, “CODA” has made a huge impact on the audience and the industry. Earlier this week, the cast visited President Joe Biden and discussed issues facing deaf Americans, including access to employment, with the White House Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Public Engagement.
A stage musical adaptation of the film is also in the works at the acclaimed Tony-winning Def West Theatre.