‘CODA’s Troy Kotsur Becomes First Deaf Male Actor To Land Oscar Nom

Troy Kotsur made history this morning as he landed his first Oscar nomination for his turn in Apple’s acclaimed family drama, CODA, becoming the first deaf male actor to earn this recognition.

His nom follows that of his CODA co-star Marlee Matlin back in 1986 for Children of a Lesser God, which saw her become the first deaf actor to both secure a nomination (in the category of Best Actress) and take home a statuette. Kotsur also recently became the first deaf actor to garner an individual SAG nomination for his performance, sharing a nom for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture with Matlin and the rest of the film’s ensemble.

CODA will also contend at this year’s Oscar ceremony for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay, with Kotsur’s nom coming in the category of Best Supporting Actor. His competition includes Ciarán Hinds (Belfast), J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos) and the Power of the Dog duo of Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

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CODA is a comedic drama based on the French film La Famille Bélier, which tells the story of Ruby (Emilia 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 (Daniel 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.

Sian Heder wrote and directed the film, which 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 the film 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. Kotsur was awarded the prize for Outstanding Supporting Performance at the 2021 Gotham Awards, with Jones claiming Breakthrough Performance, and Matlin scoring an additional nom for Supporting Performance.

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