5.9k Share this
LOS ANGELES — In 1987, Marlee Matlin made history as the first deaf actor to win an Oscar for her role in “Children of a Lesser God.”

At the time, it felt like a major breakthrough, but Matlin has since said “the focus moved away” as nominations didn’t follow for other deaf or other disabled actors.

Thirty-five years later, her “CODA” co-star Troy Kotsur landed a best supporting actor nod, becoming only the second deaf Oscar-nominated actor.

“I feel like I have dust that’s been on my back that finally is starting to become clean. I feel a bit lighter,” he said of his nomination. “This chip is off my shoulder and yes, it is a historic moment. It just really, it’ll be documented. Even after I leave this planet, it’ll still be documented in the history books. And so it’s truly a blessing.”

FULL LIST: 2022 Oscar nominations

“CODA” — titled after the acronym for “child of deaf adults” — is a coming-of-age film that follows the Rossi family as they argue over the fate of their fishing business. Kotsur and Matlin portray the parents of Leo and Ruby, the sole hearing member of the foursome.

It’s one of several projects released in the last year to star deaf actors and skirt stereotypical deaf stories. Lauren Ridloff stole scenes as a speedster superhero in Marvel’s “Eternals,” and Millicent Simmonds helped defeat monsters in “A Quiet Place Part II.”

Their deafness isn’t always central to the plot, but when it is, those storylines are handled with care and nuance — because, in most cases, they were developed with the help of deaf consultants and experts of American Sign Language (ASL).

MORE: Troy Kotsur makes history as first deaf actor with individual SAG nomination

People with disabilities have long been among the least represented groups in film and television. In 2020, USC Annenberg‘s inequality report found that only 2.3% of all speaking characters across the 100 top-grossing films of 2019 were even depicted with a disability, much less played by an actor with a disability.
Of the nearly 30 Oscar wins for portrayals of characters with disabilities, only Matlin and Harold Russell in 1946’s “The Best Years of Our Lives” actually had one.

In an interview with On The Red Carpet, Kotsur said he hopes Hollywood can continue to tell diverse stories in collaboration with diverse groups of people.

“There are so many stories to tell from the deaf community,” he said. “It’s important Hollywood remains open-minded.”

LIST: All 93 movies that won Oscars for best picture

Mark your calendars: March 27 is Oscar Sunday. Live coverage begins Sunday morning and continues all day with special “On The Red Carpet” coverage leading up to the 94th Academy Awards ceremony. After the last award is handed out, stay with “On The Red Carpet” for continuing coverage. Be sure to follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all your Oscar news and information.

The Associated Press and CNN Wire contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 OnTheRedCarpet.com. All Rights Reserved.

Source: ABC7

5.9k Share this
You May Also Like

Lord Frost blasts ‘ignorant’ Nancy Pelosi’ over Northern Ireland Brexit row trade deal warning

One of Boris Johnson’s former senior ministers lashed out at Nancy Pelosi today,…
Chicago First Alert Weather: scattered showers and storms through overnight

Chicago First Alert Weather: scattered showers and storms through overnight

CHICAGO (CBS) — Scattered showers & thunderstorms will be likely this evening…

Wellwishers raise £75,000 for bullied schoolboy who had his finger amputated

Strangers have raised over £75,000 for a boy who had his finger…

Shooting at Walmart: Woman shot in Olympia Fields store, police department says

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (WLS) — A woman was shot inside a south…
A kiss for the crowd! The Duke and Duchess shared a kiss on stage after Los Padres won the memorial cup yesterday

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle share a kiss at the polo

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle proved their still the king and queen…
Former Lakeview Food Pantry reintroduced at Nourishing Hope amid expansion to Near West Side

Former Lakeview Food Pantry reintroduced at Nourishing Hope amid expansion to Near West Side

CHICAGO (WLS) — A local food pantry outgrew its space and name.…
Johnny Depp

Depp to take the stand again and reveal more bombshells as trial against ex-enters FINAL week 

Johnny Depp is set to take the stand today in a blockbuster…

Hillary Clinton APPROVED plan to share Trump-Russian bank communications, campaign manager claims

Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager Robby Mook told a court on Friday…