the most talked about part of the oscars 2022, without a doubt, was will smith slapping chris rock on stage. But that controversial moment overshadowed “Coda’s” monumental best picture win, which became a rare moment of visibility for the deaf community in show business.
appletv+’s family drama took home three academy awards on Sunday night: best picture, best supporting actor for troy kotsur and best adapted screenplay for siân heder. it also became the first best picture winner from a streaming service.
Here’s everything you need to know about the film and what its success means to the deaf community.
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What is ‘CODA’ about? And what does ‘CODA’ mean?
“coda” means “child of deaf adults”. The film portrays the story of Ruby (Emilia Jones), 17, the hearing daughter of deaf parents (Oscar winner Marlee Matlin and Kotsur), who is caught between helping her family’s fledgling fishing business in Gloucester. , massachusetts, and pursue their singing aspirations in college.
The film, available to stream on appletv+, debuted at the sundance film festival last January, where it took home the top prize before selling to the streaming service for a record $25 million, according to variety and deadline).
its success at the oscars wasn’t guaranteed from the start: jane campion’s netflix western “the power of the dog” was the favorite to win best picture for much of awards season, until the victory of the Producers Guild Awards “Coda” turned the tide for the small independently made movie.
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‘Coda’ star Troy Kotsur is first deaf male actor to win an Oscar
Kotsur, who plays Frank Rossi, became the first male actor and only the second deaf actor to win an Oscar, following co-star Matlin’s historic best actress win in 1987 for “Children of a Lesser God”. “.
The actor was greeted with a mix of audible and silent applause as he joined host yuh-jung youn onstage, where she briefly presented the trophy to him before removing it so he could deliver his acceptance speech on stage. American Sign Language.
“I really want to thank all the wonderful deaf theater settings I was allowed to play in and given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor,” Kotsur said through his translator, who at one point choked on deliver the actor’s speech. .
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“My dad, he was the best signer in our family,” Kotsur told the Oscar audience. “But he was in a car accident, and he became paralyzed from the neck down. And he no longer was able to sign. Dad, I learned so much from you. I’ll always love you. You are my hero.”
kotsur concluded: “i just wanted to say this is dedicated to the deaf community, the coda community and the disabled community. this is our time. to my mom, dad and brother mark. they’re not here today , but look at me now. I did it. I love you. Thank you.”
who else stars in ‘coda’?
Matlin portrayed matriarch Jackie Rossi, joined by 20-year-old Jones as her and Kotsur’s hearing teenage daughter, Ruby Rossi, and Daniel Durant as older son Leo Rossi.
matlin previously praised “the opportunity to work with other deaf actors as well as other actors who were not deaf, who learned sign language, who were more than willing to open their minds” in a Q&A video after the premiere of the film at sundance last January.
what does hollywood need to do to be more inclusive with the community and make more movies possible? “We need to hire more deaf actors. Simple as that,” Matlin said.
“there are so many stories that can be told,” he added. “They don’t have to be about being deaf.”
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What does ‘CODA’s best picture win mean for the Deaf community?
The success of “coda” creates a rare moment of visibility in the world of entertainment for deaf actors and the community in general.
“thanks to the academy for letting our ‘coda’ make history tonight,” producer philippe rousselet said as he accepted the award for best film. Fellow producer Patrick Wachsberger also thanked Oscar voters for “recognizing a film of love and family.”
During his acceptance speech, Kotsur noted that the film’s cast had been invited to meet with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House.
roberta cordano, president of gallaudet university, celebrated how kotsur’s more than 30 years in the entertainment industry were validated with the recognition of the oscars.
“he, marlee matlin and daniel durant, and many other deaf people in film and television today, have shown that deaf representation in hollywood matters. they have shown that sign language is beautiful, visual , vibrant, valuable and diverse in itself”. language,” Cordano said in a statement to USA Today.
“this is consistent with our bilingual mission here at gallaudet university, where we prepare our deaf and hard of hearing students to believe that they can achieve their dreams through hard work and perseverance. we send our congratulations to troy and everyone involved. with ‘coda.’ We also thank apple for their investment in the film and for their support of deaf people everywhere.”
collaboration: david oliver, brian truitt
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