Best Picture ‘CODA’ is shedding light on the deaf, hard-of-hearing and their families

The Apple TV-plus film “CODA” landed three academy awards during last night’s ceremony – including the coveted “Best Picture” prize.

The Apple TV-plus film “CODA” landed three academy awards during last night’s ceremony – including the coveted “Best Picture” prize.

The movie highlights deaf characters – and culture – exposing many to a community that’s often overlooked.

News4JAX spoke to the president of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, and to some members of the deaf-hard-of-hearing community in Jacksonville.

They said seeing deaf representation so prominently featured in a film and for that film to win the top prize was incredibly emotional, and validating.

CODA is about a young woman who works to advance her music career as the only member of her family who isn’t deaf. The title of the movie has a double meaning. It’s the term for the ending of a song. It’s also an acronym for ‘Children of Deaf Adults.’

Tracie Snow is the President of Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.

Snow said the movie’s best picture win exposes mass audiences to a representation of the day-to-day lives of the deaf-hard-of-hearing population.

Ryan Harter lives in Jacksonville, and is deaf. “I was overjoyed,” Harter said. “I was overjoyed to see that I, you know, I clapped. I think it’s the first time that they showed that deaf people can do it.”

Bradley Stringfellow said that having representation for the deaf-hard-of-hearing community in media helps to clear-up confusion about it. “I thought it was thrilling and very inspiring not only for me, but I’m sure for other deaf people as well,” Stringfellow said.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 1 in 8 people over the age of 12 in the United States has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing exams.

Troy Kotsur’s Best Supporting Actor award represents the first time in more than 30 years that a deaf person won an Oscar for acting. The last time was in 1986, when his CODA co-star, Marlee Matlin, won for her role in ‘Children of a Lesser God.’

Matlin and others say, they’re confident it’s not the last.

For more information about the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, you can visit the website of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.


About the Author:

Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.