Apple TV+ made headlines last month after securing six nominations at the Academy Awards, including Best Picture, for the film CODA. Last night, the coming-of-age comedy-drama took another award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Troy Kotsur, who recently made history as the first deaf actor to win a solo SAG Award, took home the award for Best Supporting Male at the ceremony that honors independent filmmakers.
CODA sees Kotsur play Frank Rossi, the father of Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones), who is the only hearing person in her deaf family. The movies charts her journey when her family’s fishing business comes under threat, and she finds herself torn between pursuing her music dream at Berklee College of Music, and her fear of abandoning her parents.
The acronym “CODA” stands for “child of deaf adults”.
After bagging the trophy, Kotsur told the press that he felt his victory would inspire independent producers to cast more deaf people in movie roles.
He commented: “What was most challenging for me was, producers of independent films often have fear wondering if there is marketability in having authenticity in casting deaf actors. To have that confidence, sometimes I feel like a little bug on the ground. Now I’m a big bug.
“Now they can finally see me and so I can say, ‘Hello, we’ve grown and deaf folks can make change for the better’. Hollywood can have open hearts and open minds and give more inclusion to more diverse groups.”
While the Film Independent Spirit Awards do not hand accolades to films from major studios, CODA was made by Vendome Pictures and Pathe Films; Apple TV+ merely purchased it, for $25 million, meaning that it was eligible as an independent film.
Users can still stream the movie on Apple TV+ on their Apple devices.