Apple Cleans Up at the Oscars with Three Historic Awards for CODA

While the win is a huge milestone for Apple — it beat out Netflix and Amazon for the top Oscar — it’s even more significant for the Deaf community.
CODA Best Picture Oscar 94th Academy Awards Credit: Tim Cook / Apple
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Although there was already every clue that Apple’s CODA was poised to walk away with the Top Oscar at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, it still wasn’t a sure thing until it actually happened — and now it has.

Last night, the years of effort that Apple has put into launching and growing Apple TV+ all came to its apex, as the company’s streaming platform walked with not only the coveted Academy Award for Best Picture but also Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay.

All three of these awards revolved around CODA. In addition to Best Picture, Troy Kotsur racked up his fifth award of the season for Best Supporting Actor, while writer-director Siân Heder took the top honor for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Troy Kotsur also received a BAFTA Award, a SAG Award, a Film Independent Spirit Award, and a Critics Choice Award. Siân Heder has also been recognized with a Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award and BAFTA Film award for her work in creating the film.Watch CODA on Apple TV+

While the win is a huge milestone for Apple — it beat out Netflix and Amazon for the top Oscar — it’s even more significant for the Deaf community. Troy Kotsur is the first Deaf male actor ever to receive an Oscar, a BAFTA Award, a SAG Award, a Film Independent Spirit Award, and a Critics Choice Award.

The only other time in Oscar history that a Deaf actor has received an Academy Award for their acting role was in 1986 when CODA star Marlee Matlin won Best Actress for her role in Children of a Lesser God.

This is a really big moment for the Deaf community. It’s a really big moment for the disability community. Marlee Matlin won an Oscar 35 years ago, and not that much has changed in Hollywood, so I want to thank the Academy for making that change. And I want to say to everyone in the Deaf community and everyone in the disability community that there’s a place for you here, your stories are important, and we need to make room. And this is one story, and let this one be the first of many, many films to come out of this beautiful community.Siân Heder, in a backstage interview on ABC’s Thank You Cam

Apple CEO Tim Cook also attended the awards ceremony last night. However, stage time was naturally reserved for the cast and producers of CODA, who thanked the “incredible team at Apple TV” for their support and role in getting the movie out to such a wide global audience.

The incredible team at Apple TV, they’ve been absolutely amazing from day one, and really were able to basically put this movie everywhere in the world. Patrick Wachsberger, CODA Producer

Although Apple was nominated for two Academy Awards last year — Best Animated Feature for Wolfwalkers and Best Sound for Greyhound — this is the first time the company has won an Academy Award — and for Best Picture, no less.

On behalf of everyone at Apple, we are so grateful to the Academy for the honors bestowed on ‘CODA’ this evening. We join our teams all over the world in celebrating Siân, Troy, the producers, and the entire cast and crew for bringing such a powerful representation of the Deaf community to audiences and breaking so many barriers in the process. It has been so rewarding to share this life-affirming, vibrant story, which reminds us of the power of film to bring the world together.Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s head of Worldwide Video

Even apart from Apple, CODA made history on its own as the first Sundance Film Festival Movie to ever receive the Oscar for Best Picture. As Variety points out, it’s also the first film to win Best Picture without being nominated in the directing and editing categories.

The three Academy Awards are the final crowning glory on the numerous accolades that CODA has received this year, including:

  • Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture — the first time this award has gone to a predominantly Deaf cast — and to Troy Kotsur for Best Supporting Actor;
  • Producers’ Guild of America (PGA) Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, recognizing producers Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi, and Patrick Wachsberger;
  • Sundance Film Festival in 2021: Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast; the Directing Award; the Audience Award; and the Grand Jury Prize;
  • American Film Institute (AFI) Award for Movie of the Year;
  • NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Independent Motion Picture
  • Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, recognizing Siân Heder;
  • British Academy Film (BAFTA) Awards to Troy Kotsur for Best Supporting Actor and Siân Heder for Best Adapted Screenplay;
  • Hollywood Critics Association Film Awards for Best Picture; Best Adapted Screenplay for Siân Heder; Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur; and the HCA Spotlight Award.

In addition to CODA’s near-legendary awards run, Apple notes that since the debut of Apple TV+, Apple’s series and films have earned 240 wins and 953 nominations overall, across dozens of awards and awards categories.

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