After a bizarre, eventful, and bizarrely eventful Oscars telecast, the biggest award of the night—Best Picture—was given to one of the favorites from the whole show: director Siân Heder’s Apple TV+ film CODA. In addition to Best Picture, it won Best Adapted Screenplay and awards season star Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor, giving it a perfect record in terms of the categories it was nominated in. Better yet, two of those wins are historically significant, with Kotsur becoming the first deaf man to win an acting Oscar and CODA itself being the first streaming film to win Best Picture at the Oscars—after years of Netflix and Amazon making big plays for the highest honor in Hollywood.
CODA, based on the 2014 French movie La Famille Bélier, is about the daughter (Emilia Jones) of deaf parents (Kotsur and Marlee Matlin) and their lives in the fishing community of Gloucester, Massachusetts. In his review for The A.V. Club last year, Noel Murray noted that it artificially plays up crisis upon crisis for the sake of drama, but when all the pieces come together the emotional beats (which are “telegraphed almost from the beginning”) still “hit hard,” with Murray adding that they end up “effectively leaving viewers who can suspend their disbelief feeling uplifted and dewy-eyed.”
This is also just the latest in impressive history-making accolades for CODA: Last year, it became the first entry in the Sundance Film Festival to win the Grand Jury Prize, the Audience Award, the Directing Award, and a Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble. The fact that it landed on Apple TV+, a streaming service, seems incidental. It was pretty much destined for this big moment of show biz glory. (That being said, Netflix boss Ted Sarandos must be fuming about this on the inside, right?)