‘CODA’s Predominantly Deaf Cast Becomes First To Win SAG Ensemble Award

The predominantly deaf cast of Apple TV+’s CODA made history on Sunday as it became the first to win one of SAG’s coveted ensemble prizes.

The ensemble comprised of Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Eugenio Derbez won out in the category of Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, besting those of Belfast (Focus Features), Don’t Look Up (Netflix), House of Gucci (MGM/United Artists Releasing) and King Richard (Warner Bros.).

Kotsur also made history of his own tonight on the film side, as he claimed the statuette for Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, becoming the first deaf actor to win a solo prize, after becoming the first to score a solo nomination.

CODA is a comedic drama based on the French film La Famille Bélier, which tells the story of Ruby (Jones), a CODA (or “child of deaf adult”) who serves as an interpreter for the members of her Boston family, including her mother Jackie (Matlin), her father Frank (Kotsur) and her brother Leo (Durant). At a pivotal moment in her life, the character finds herself torn between the role she plays, in connecting her loved ones to the outside world—above all, with regard to their fishing business—and her pursuit of an education in music.

The film from writer-director Sian Heder garnered critical acclaim upon its premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, winning its Grand Jury Prize, as well as its Audience Award, Directing Award and U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble. Apple acquired it out of the festival for a record-setting $25 million, releasing it in theaters and on Apple TV+ on August 13. Over the course of the 2021-2022 awards season, the film has also been recognized with noms at the BAFTA Awards, the Critics Choice Awards, the Artios Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, the PGA Awards and the WGA Awards.

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