Entertainment

Coda Review: Why this year’s feel-good favorite should win the Best Picture Oscar

PPeople love arguing about the Oscars, even if they’re not sure what they’re arguing about. And this year’s awards season hasn’t exactly given them a decent narrative to work from — the biopics, eh Tammy Faye’s eyes and spencer, are a little too confident to play strictly conventional. The satire full of A-lists Don’t look upand the lush traditional musical Westside StoryShe fell out early in the race.

Kenneth Branaghs Belfast is the most obvious Oscar bait of the pack, but he’s clearly lost ground The power of the dog, Jane Campion’s meticulously directed western. The latter is the current favorite to win, but the industry’s stubborn stance on its distributor Netflix (see: Green Book Victory over Alfonso Cuarón Roma in 2019) further weakens its position.

There is sheer chaos out there which you would think would add some much-needed excitement to the process. Instead, we’re still watching the internet go wild for the heroes and villains of this story. And somehow Siân Heders KODA became the target of people’s ire after his pivotal wins at the Producers Guild and Screen Actors Guild confirmed him as a real contender for this weekend’s Academy Awards.

KODAan honest and candid drama about a hearing child in a deaf family, was something of an underdog when it premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. The film received rave reviews and a ton of publicity, and left Sundance with a record-breaking $25 million acquisition deal with Apple TV+.

The power of the dog may still be at the top at Sunday’s ceremony with 12 Oscar nominations and a Best Picture Bafta under her belt, but KODA could potentially score a Best Picture win despite only appearing in two other categories that night. Stranger things have happened. And if it catches on, that can only be a good thing.

The backlash too KODA’The best picture hype seems largely decoupled from the true, material impact of the Oscars. Ultimately, these awards don’t decide which individual films we’ll remember in a decade or two decades from now. The power of the dog and Ryusuke Hamaguchis drive my car will continue to be spoken of in the way it was spoken of before. But they dictate the kind of names, ideas, and faces that Hollywood is willing to throw its money at.

It mattered when parasite won because it helped ease some of the fears of subtitled films among English-speaking audiences. It was important that Chloé Zhao won nomadic country, because it offered real hope that the barriers for women directors, and especially for women of color, were beginning to break down. And if KODA wins, it will matter because of the opportunities it will create for other Deaf-majority casts.

Those who dismiss it do so largely because they see it as a shallow crowd pleaser, but the label only fits if you’re firmly attached to the assumption that any expression of sentimentality should automatically be equated with naivety. There is nothing trivial or simplistic KODA.

The family at the center – Frank (Troy Kotsur) and Jackie (Marlee Matlin) and their children Leo (Daniel Durant) and Ruby (Emilia Jones) – remain a persistent, seething mess of conflicting desires and personal duties. Ruby wants to be a musician, but as the hearing child of deaf parents, positioned as their de facto interpreter, she fears that her own path would sever one of her few concrete ties to the culture of hearing. Meanwhile, her father’s work in the fishing industry is threatened by corporate interference as 60 percent of his catch is now given to middlemen.

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The tough choices these characters have to make between what they want and what they’re committed to aren’t cute. And Heder’s no-frills approach to the film allows her cast to create a family dynamic firmly grounded in experience as they tease and argue, isolating every gesture of love. KODA allows his listening audience only a moment of concession, as the audio cuts out in the middle of one of Ruby’s performances. Her parents, reading the micro-gestures and suppressed sobs of the other viewers, finally realize how talented their daughter is.

If the Oscars want to reward some of that straight-forward, emotional purity, what harm could it do?

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/coda-review-oscars-best-picture-b2043028.html Coda Review: Why this year’s feel-good favorite should win the Best Picture Oscar

JOE HERNANDEZ

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