CODA Sweeps The Oscars In A Huge Win For The Deaf Community


In amazing news for the accessibility world, CODA; Apple's 2021 comedy-drama film directed by Sian Heder, won big at the 94th Academy Awards. The film, which stars Emilia Jones as a child of deaf adults, got the statuette for the Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay Category. CODA is a remake of the 2014 Film La Famille Bélier, which tells the story of the sole hearing member of a deaf family that wants to become a singer. 


CODA, for those who do not know, is an acronym that stands for Children of Deaf Adult. An eponymous organization, CODA International, was founded in 1983 by Millie Brother, in order to connect people with these lived experiences from around the world. Since about 90% of the children born to deaf parents are hearing, this gives them a unique space to get to meet each other, share their stories and grow around a community of people with a similar background to them. 



Thus, the fact that the movie won is a huge victory in terms of representation for the members of the deaf community. For example, this ceremony made one of the actors of the film, Troy Kotsur, the first deaf man to win the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. CODA also gave some prominent members of the deaf community greater visibility with these victories, such as Marlee Matlin, the first deaf person to win an Oscar, who played the role of Jakie Rossie in the movie. The film marked a historic first, in that it is the first to win so many Oscars while having a mainly deaf cast. 


The award was celebrated by many members of the academy with a silent applause, waving both hands in the air. “This is for the Deaf community, the CODA community, and the disabled community,” said Kotsur, after receiving the statuette for best actor. Truly a sentiment we can all identify with.