At last night’s 94th Academy Awards ceremony, CODA made history by winning Best Picture! With hands waving in delight and smiles on everyone’s faces, it was the best way to win what was otherwise an explosive night at the Oscars. Not only were attendees and audiences proud of the Best Picture win, but so was French President Emmanuel Macron.
French President Macron responded about his happiness to the good news on Twitter. He began his tweet by referencing the French adaptation (La famille Bélier) this Oscar-winning feature came from and congratulated the producers of CODA on its success abroad. He further goes on to say that the film is a real eye-opener towards its disability awareness and the experiences of family caregivers. You can see the tweet (and its translation) below,
Le film Coda, adaptation de La famille Bélier, a remporté à Hollywood l’Oscar du meilleur film ! Un grand bravo à ses producteurs, français, et aux équipes qui en font un succès à l’étranger. Avec ce film, ils ouvrent le regard sur le handicap et le vécu des proches aidants.March 28, 2022
It is not every Oscar ceremony that the Academy picks a feel-good Best Picture winner. After seeing a poetic meditation on grief like Nomadland or 12 Years a Slave winning Best Picture, it is nice to see a movie filled with optimism take home the gold. CODA broke barriers last night by being the first streaming movie (in this case AppleTV+) to win Best Picture. Considering streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have been pushing really hard for their films to leave with Oscar glory, it’s a nice Cinderella story to see AppleTV+’s first win after the streaming service launched two years ago.
President Macron brings a great point in praising this film for its glowing awareness of the deaf community. After all, the French adaptation used hearing actors to play the deaf characters of the movie. This film made a wiser choice in relating to the deaf community by bringing in real-life deaf actors like Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durrant, and Marlee Matlin.
Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor last night and he thanked a number of people including his father, who he considers his hero, and CODA director/writer Sian Heder for bridging together the deaf and hearing community. As for Marlee Matlin, this was not her first time at the Academy Awards ceremony. When she was 21, Matlin was the first deaf performer to win an Academy Award for her film Children of a Lesser God and the youngest Best Actress winner still to this day. She helped pave the wave for deaf actors at the time and will continue to do so today. With more deaf actors gaining recognition and Oscar buzz with their performances, I’m hopeful we’ll be seeing more stories on-screen told by the deaf community for years to come.