Why CODA Winning Best Picture Is So Important


Cast of CODA at the 94th Oscars. Courtesy of MSNBC.

By Amanda Horn, Staff Writer

Recently, the Oscars were held and the winner of Best Picture was CODA. What does C.O.D.A even mean? What does it stand for? The acronym means Child of Deaf Adult, someone who takes on many responsibilities and interpretations for their parents who are deaf.

On March 27, history was made in the Academy Awards. A predominantly deaf cast film won numerous awards in the ceremony, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. This inclusivity has not gone unnoticed in the deaf community and will be celebrated rightfully so.

In the past, not so many deaf actors and actresses were given opportunities to star in films. Their jobs used to be limited to more physical jobs with loud atmospheres. John D’Onofrio, an 80 year old deaf man, worked as a printer in a newspaper press room because it was too noisy for hearing people. “It’s such a big win,” he said to Oklahoma City Sentinel of the film’s Oscars. “For the Deaf community. For deaf people. For everyone.”

To now see how far the deaf community has gone is so inspiring to the older deaf people and to the deaf children who are navigating the world differently than a normal kid. To see someone like you on a big screen, winning prestigious awards is always a hopeful feeling that things are and can change for the better.

Troy Kotsur winning ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Oscar. Courtesy of Today.com

For a very long time inclusive theaters and schools were few and far. Like Troy Kotsur, winner of Best Supporting Actor award signed to the crowd during his winning speech, “I want to thank all the wonderful deaf theater stages where I was allowed and given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor.” His tear-jerking speech showed the realities of the disabled life.

Many deaf and hearing impaired people are so grateful for the representation they finally deserve in the film industry. Hannah Nussbaum, a Wayne Hills student, expresses how cool it is to see different people on the big screen. “It’s awesome to see representation of different struggles and hardships that each of these characters has throughout the movie. And having a friend who has hearing problems makes this movie even more special.”

CODA’s win will go in Academy Award history, but this is just the start to representation and inclusivity in the film industry.