CODA best picture

A story about love and family wins heart and awards.

A sea of raucous clapping—and silent, yet enthusiastic sign language applause—rushed through the crowd as the movie "CODA" made multiple wins during the Oscars. That included Best Adapted Screenplay (Sian Heder), Best Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur) and Best Picture.

You could say that "CODA" was, to all intents and purposes, a sweet and simple family drama. Not Oscar bait.

It’s a story about children of deaf adults, hence the name, and it follows a hearing teenager with a love of music who works with her deaf parents and brother at a fishing harbor. Besides former Oscar winner Marlee Matlin (who won in 1987 for her role in "Children of a Lesser God"), "CODA" had zero “big names.” It also only had a $10 million budget, and was released on a streaming service.

But still, it swept. It’s history-making victories like these that reflect what the Oscars essentially are at its very best—a celebration of art that truly moves us. And the biggest win of the night rightly went to the deaf community.


Following in the footsteps of his co-star Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur became the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar.

During his acceptance speech, Kotsur thanked all the “wonderful deaf theater stages where [he] was allowed and given the opportunity to develop [his] craft as an actor.” He also shared a touching story about his “hero” dad, who became the best signer in his family until a car accident paralyzed him from the neck down.

And to the "CODA" and disabled community, his message was simple: “This is our time.”

(Also a special nod to the American Sign Language interpreter, who clearly got choked up but kept going.)

Sian Heder praises ASL as a “beautiful cinematic language.”

As Heder accepted her award for Best Adapted Screenplay, she called the experience “truly life-changing as an artist and a human being” and thanked the deaf community for being her collaborators and teachers.

In a previous interview with Movie Maker, Heder commented that “so often disability is portrayed in such a precious, earnest way where characters that are deaf or have a disability are portrayed as being either incredibly noble, or objects of pity. And in fact, you know, the only difference with a deaf person is that they can’t hear.” So the ultimate goal was to depict an honest, authentic version of deaf families. Bawdiness and all.

"CODA" winning best picture shows that recognition can be healing.

"CODA" not only shines a light on deaf culture. It celebrates it. And its success most likely will pave the way for other films that give continued visibility to the disabled community. Just look at what "Parasite"’s Best Picture win did. After that, Korean cinema blew up, particularly on streaming platforms (looking at you, "Squid Game"). We have already seen inklings of this trend with inclusion of deaf characters into mainstream movies like Marvel's "Eternals" and the movie “Sound of Metal,” which stars a deaf lead. But this kind of widespread global acclaim takes it a step further.

The Oscars might have been a whirlwind of less-than-classy headlines this year, but that doesn’t take away from the positive force for good that is "CODA"’s awards. May all walks of life find their time in the spotlight.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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