CODA is the first film from an Apple TV Plus streaming service to win “Best Picture” at the Oscar, highlighting the growing dominance of streaming services like Apple, Netflix, and Amazon at Hollywood’s most famous awards night. Ruby Rossi (played by Emilia Jones), the only hearing member of a deaf family, struggles to explore life away from her family in this Apple TV Plus film. Following its presentation at the Sundance Film Festival last year, Apple purchased the rides to CODA for $25 million in a bidding war, according to Variety.
CODA‘s actor Troy Kotsur received “Best Supporting Actor” for his part in the film, and the film’s writer-director Siân Heder won “Best Adapted Screenplay.” According to Variety, Kotsur is the first Deaf actor to win an Oscar award for acting since 1986, when his CODA co-star Marlee Matlin won “Best Actress” for her role in Children of a Lesser God.
Streaming services have already seen films nominated for “Best Picture,” but none have yet to win the highest honor. When Manchester by the Sea received a Best Picture nomination in 2017, Amazon was the first, albeit it lost out to Moonlight on the night.
Numerous Netflix films have been nominated for “Best Picture this year,” including Roma, The Irishman, Marriage Story, Mank, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Don’t Look Up, and The Power of the Dog. It had the most nominations for this year’s Academy Awards, 27 in all, but only won for Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog in the “Best Director” category.
Apple reportedly spent more than $10 million on its Oscars campaign for CODA, according to Variety, which is more than the film’s entire production costs. On Twitter, Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his excitement at the announcement, calling it a “profoundly beautiful movie” that “celebrates our differences.”
“On behalf of everyone at Apple, we are so grateful to the Academy for the honors bestowed on ‘CODA’ this evening,” said Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s head of Worldwide Video. “We join our teams all over the world in celebrating Siân, Troy, the producers, and the entire cast and crew for bringing such a powerful representation of the Deaf community to audiences and breaking so many barriers in the process. It has been so rewarding to share this life-affirming, vibrant story, which reminds us of the power of film to bring the world together.”
“What an incredible journey it has been since the moment we first saw ‘CODA’ to today’s historic recognition from the Academy,” said Jamie Erlicht, Apple’s head of Worldwide Video. “It has been a true joy to witness the positive impact on humanity that this story and its performances have had worldwide. We send our warmest congratulations to Siân; Troy; the cast; the creative team; producers Patrick, Philippe, and Fabrice; and everyone who helped bring inclusion and accessibility to the forefront through this remarkable film.”