Why Coda won best film at the Oscars

Adrian George Nicolae
2 min readApr 20, 2022

I’m sure those of you who frequently watch movies have heard of this little nugget called Coda, that was the Oscar for Best Picture, as well as Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Troy Kotsur, first male to do so, and second deaf actor since his on-screen wife, Marlee Matlin, some 35 years prior.

But here’s what you may not know about it, and some of the reasons it won.

It’s an American remake from the French-Belgian movie La Famille Belier, which, while it may have had good reviews, it was lambasted for having the parents as non-deaf actors, so one could only imagine how people in English-speaking countries would react.

So with this one, they just went with 3 deaf actors and the non-deaf actress as per script requirements.

It is an indie movie that was picked up at Sundance for a record-breaking $25 million, and the first distributed by a streaming service to win the big Oscar award.

And considering how Apple is big on diversity and looking to expand their streaming offering, it was a no-brainer for them.

But here’s what I think is the actual reason.
It’s not that the story is amazing or never seen before, it’s more on the fact that deaf people have been poorly represented in media before, and here, they have been made as fleshed out characters who live and enjoy life to their fullest capabilities, despite their misgivings or people’s judgment.

To make a sort of a parallel, the reason why people like Joker and The Batman so much is because they’re showed in the same vein, as a person with flaws who’s trying things and is misunderstood. Granted, it can be an overstep from deaf to superpower, but the gist is, they’re not portrayed as some kind of carnival attraction or circus freak.

One of my favourite stories is Koe no Katachi, or A Silent Voice, a manga that had an animated adaptation. Not as good as the drawn format, but still good.

Anyway, not wanting to take too much away from Coda, I’d say you should watch it you’re into Young Adult stories or where people don’t swear every 5 seconds, or if you like singing, and feel-good movies with a cliched ending.

Hey, who knew people liked characters? “shrugs”