‘CODA’, a drama about a deaf family, made history this Sunday by winning the main Oscar of the night, becoming the first streaming production to be recognized by the Academy as best film.
Directed by Sian Heder (Orange Is The New Black), the low-budget film It also won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur..
‘CODA’ follows the life of Ruby, the daughter of deaf parents who, by being able to hear, you take on the responsibility of connecting your family to the world. But the teenager is conflicted between that task and her enormous desire to leave the nest and make a career in the world of music.
‘CODA’ is an acronym in English that identifies hearing children of deaf parents. The film beat heavyweights in the main category of the Oscars, and gave Apple the long-awaited statuette, which thus stands out from rivals such as Netflix, as well as from traditional Hollywood studios. But it also sets a benchmark for representation on the big screen.
“Writing and making this film was a vital challenge as an artist and as a human being. I want to thank all my collaborators in the deaf community, in the ‘coda’ community for being my teachers”said Sian Heder upon receiving the statuette for best adapted screenplay.
Launched by the Apple TV+ platform after winning the betting war at last year’s Sundance festival, ‘CODA’ grossed about $25 million.
The director, who according to specialists would have had a budget of 10 million dollarsruled out shooting on expensive locations to focus on the story of teenage Ruby Rossi.
Ruby, played by newcomer Emilia Jones, has to navigate the typical teenage currents of meeting someone and falling in love but with the added challenge of being the only one in her family who can listen.
An adaptation of the French film ‘La Famille Belier’, which caused controversy by using actors who could hear to play deaf characters, ‘CODA’ set the standard for representativeness by having an authentic cast led by actress Marlee Matlin, who with a decades-long career in Hollywood brings to life Ruby’s eccentric and vulnerable mother.
The famous Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez, a Hollywood figure, is also part of the castin which he gives life to Bernardo Villalobos, a music teacher who plays the piano and encourages his student, the daughter of deaf-mute parents, to fulfill her dream of being a singer.
— HV 😷 (@RevistaHV) March 28, 2022
(It may interest you: Troy Kotsur, second deaf person to win an Oscar for ‘Best Supporting Actor’)
‘CODA’ left the favorite ‘The power of the dog’ on the way from Jane Campion, Kenneth Branagh’s acclaimed semi-autobiographical film ‘Belfast’, and Stephen Spielberg’s ‘Love Without Barriers’ remake.
Also competing for the statuette was the satire ‘Don’t look up’, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the science fiction blockbuster ‘Duna’, the biographical ‘King Richard: A Winning Family’ about tennis players Serena and Venus Williams, the Californian nostalgia of ‘ Licorice Pizza’, the Japanese journey ‘Drive My Car’, and the noir horror of 0The Alley of Lost Souls’.
For some industry analysts, ‘CODA’ became a resounding success thanks to his family perspective and by betting on the traditional plot of overcoming adversity.
With protagonists who exude chemistry on stage, the play was consecrated in February when it won the highest award from the prestigious Screen Actors Guild of the United States. Recognition for the best cast equals Academy Award for Best Picture.
“We are such a tight-knit cast that it was great to win this award.”said Jones, who like Heder learned American Sign Language before filming.
The production hired a team of consultants specialized in sign language American to translate Heder’s script and use it as a link between the cast.
Together they chose gestures from the sign vocabulary that best matched those used in Massachusetts, and that could be intuitively deciphered by unfamiliar viewers.
The triumph of ‘CODA’ in the awards season is a great boost for Apple, which with a large investment tries to compensate its late arrival in the streaming war, dominated by rivals like Netflix and Disney +.