After a movie year often light on crowds, the Academy Awards has named an unabashed crowd-pleaser, the deaf family drama CODA, as best picture.
The decision handed Hollywood’s top award to a streaming service for the first time.
Sian Heder’s CODA, which premiered at a virtual Sundance Film Festival in winter 2021, started out as an underdog but gradually emerged as the Oscars’ feel-good favourite.
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It also had one very deep-pocketed backer in Apple TV+, which scored its first best picture Academy Award on Sunday, less than three years after launching the service.
It also handed another near-miss defeat to Netflix, the veteran streamer that for years has tried vainly to score best picture. Its best chance, Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, came in with a leading 12 nominations.
But CODA rode a wave of goodwill driven by its cast including Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur and Daniel Durant.
It’s the first film with a largely deaf cast to win best picture.
CODA managed that despite being one of the least-nominated films with only three coming into Sunday.
Not since 1932’s Grand Hotel has a movie won best picture with fewer than four nods.