Is ‘CODA’ the dark horse in the race for the Oscars? Deaf Drama Wins Top Honor at SAG Awards

Los Angeles: “CODA,” a heartfelt indie drama about a struggling deaf family, won top prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, bolstering its hopes as a potential dark horse for next month’s Oscars. Taking its title from an acronym for child of deaf adult, “CODA” follows high school teenager Ruby as she juggles her musical ambitions and her family’s reliance on her to communicate with the “hearing” world.

“We deaf actors have come a long way,” signed Marlee Matlin, a deaf former Oscar winner who plays Ruby’s mother, visibly shocked, as she and her co-stars accepted the best casting statuette in a film.

“It validates that we deaf actors can work like anyone else,” Matlin added, before teaching the star-studded audience the “I love you” sign.

Victory at the SAG Awards, voted by the Hollywood Actors Union, is an important precursor to the Oscars, whose largest voting bloc is also made up of actors. “CODA,” released by Apple TV+ after a bidding war at last year’s Sundance Independent Film Festival where it grossed a record $25 million, also won Best Supporting Actor for Troy. Kotsur.

Kotsur, who plays Ruby’s father, thanked the filmmakers for “believing in us deaf actors and authentically portraying us as deaf actors.”

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Will Smith won Best Actor for ‘King Richard,’ which chronicles Serena and Venus Williams’ unlikely rise from the rough streets of Compton to tennis stardom.

Smith played their father Richard, whom he praised for “a power of belief that borders on madness and at times swings across the border – which is absolutely necessary to take something from impossible to possible”.

“It may have been one of the greatest moments of my career right now because my name was called for ‘King Richard’ sitting next to Venus Williams,” said Smith, who is the favorite to win. his first Oscar next month.

Jessica Chastain won Best Actress for ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye,’ in which she disappeared under layers of the eccentric American televangelist’s trademark heavy makeup.

While her husband Jim Bakker was jailed for defrauding their millions of followers, Tammy Faye clashed with fellow evangelists over her acceptance of the LGBTQ community at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

“It was a dream of mine to play Tammy Faye,” Chastain said. “She was a true trailblazer and she wrapped her arms around those who were repeatedly rejected and she launched into decades of LGBTQ love.”

Ariana DeBose cemented her Oscar favorite status by claiming Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s remake of “West Side Story.”

Presumed top Oscar favorites ‘The Power of the Dog’ and ‘Belfast’ both left the SAG gala empty-handed, blowing up the Oscar race on March 27.

“Fighting the Fight” – The SAG Awards – which took place online last year due to Covid-19 – moved back to an in-person event on Sunday in Santa Monica, just outside Los Angeles.

And the stars didn’t disappoint at Hollywood’s first big red carpet event of awards season, with Cate Blanchett stunning in a low-cut black Armani gown and Chastain donning a sparkling Dior suit.

Helen Mirren – in a pink Dolce & Gabbana maxi dress – received the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award, attributing her Oscar-winning career to the mantra of ‘be on time and don’t be an ass’.

“Thank you SAG,” she said as she spelled out each letter, before joking, “I hate saying the word ‘sag’ at my age.”

The annual “In Memoriam” montage paid tribute to actors who died over the past year, including Sidney Poitier, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Ned Beatty and Betty White.

In the TV categories, “Squid Game” actors Lee Jung-jae and Jung Ho-yeon looked visibly shocked to win Best Actor and Actress in a Drama.

The two South Koreans spoke through a translator before Jung switched to broken English, thanking the Hollywood group for “opening the door for me”.

‘Succession’ won Best Dramatic Ensemble, with star Brian Cox one of many to congratulate Ukrainian President and former actor Volodymyr Zelensky.

Cox drew a standing ovation for “a wonderful comic book performer” as his country resists the “really, really awful” Russian invasion.

Michael Keaton, who won Best Actor in a Limited Series for “Dopesick,” also praised “another Zelensky actor who deserves some credit tonight for leading the fight.”

Keaton broke down in tears as he dedicated the victory to his nephew Michael, one of more than half a million Americans to die of an overdose in the opioid crisis that is the subject of “Dopesick.”

To top off a great night for Apple TV+, the relatively new streamer also picked up Best Comedy Series awards for “Ted Lasso” and its star Jason Sudeikis.

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