The news comes shortly before the 94th Academy Award ceremony on Sunday. Star Troy Kotsur is expected to pick up the award for Best Supporting Actor, which will make him the second Deaf person in history and the first male to win an Oscar. Costar Marlee Matlin became the first Deaf person to win an Oscar in 1987 for her role in “Children of a Lesser God.”
What Is ‘CODA’ About?
In addition to Kotsur and Matlin, the cast also includes Daniel Durant and Emilia Jones as the “CODA” child of the family, who serves as their interpreter even though she has aspirations of going to college to become a singer.
The acronym CODA stands for Child of a Deaf Adult or Children of Deaf Adults. The film tells the story of Ruby (Emilia Jones) who is a CODA and serves as an interpreter for her family and their fishing business. Her mother Jackie is played by Matlin. Her father Frank is played by Troy Kotsur. Her brother Leo is played by Daniel Durant.
The film first premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where it picked up the coveted Grand Jury Prize, as well as the Audience Award, Directing Award, and U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble. Apple bought the rights to the film for a record-setting $25 million dollars. The critically acclaimed film has been recognized through nominations at all of the major award ceremonies: the BAFTA Awards, the Critics Choice Awards, the Artios Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, the PGA Awards, and the WGA Awards.
The ‘CODA’ Cast Takes A Trip To The White House!
The cast of “CODA” recently took a trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in order to meet with the current U.S. President and his First Lady. The Hollywood Reporter noted that both had watched the film and loved it. After they watched the film, they invited the Deaf ensemble cast to meet with the White House Domestic Policy Council and Office of Public Engagement to discuss inclusion and more opportunities for access and employment for Deaf Americans.
After they had their meeting, the cast was offered a private tour of the White House. When they entered the Grand Foyer of the State Floor, they were greeted by the United States Marine Band performing “You’re All I Need to Get By,” which is a song that is featured in the film. Matlin, Kotsur, and Durant all placed their hands on the piano so they could feel the vibrations of the music while Jones sang along to the melody.
Footage of the event was recorded by Matlin’s longtime interpreter, Jack Jason.
The “CODA” cast also visited the White House screening room, where they were told that “CODA” had been screened for White House staff. After that, they were led into the Oval Office, where they posed for photographs with the President. Matlin said that she was “blown away” when the President and the First Lady told the cast how much they had loved the film.
‘CODA’ Will Become A Stage Musical
On Wednesday, Deadline reported that the film’s co-producers Vendôme Pictures and Pathé will collaborate with the Deaf West Theatre to create a stage musical based on the film.
The theater company is based out of Los Angeles and is known for blending American Sign Language (ASL) with spoken English. They have created Tony Award-winning plays like 2004’s “Big River” and the Tony-nominated “Spring Awakening” in 2016.
In a statement, the Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre, DJ Kurs, said, “In the movie, there is a scene where the Deaf members of the Rossi family, confronted with an inaccessible school performance, take in Ruby’s song through the joy of others in the audience. This is an opportunity, then, to bring the story full circle by bringing it back to members of the Deaf community and by making the music accessible through our signed and sung live adaptation of the movie.”
He continued, “It is in the mission of our organization to be the artistic bridge between the Deaf and hearing communities and we are truly excited and honored to embark on this live iteration of a story that brings together both sides of the aisle and addresses the ways that we move throughout the world.”