‘CODA’ Wins Best Picture; Will Smith punches Chris Rock (and goes on to win an Oscar)
“CODA” created two upsets by winning Best Picture at the 94th Academy Awards.
The feel-good film about a teenage girl’s strained relationship with her deaf family scored an underdog victory over films long seen as precursors. The win also helped distributor Apple TV+ steal Hollywood’s top prize from a rival with a longer movie record, Netflix.
Apple’s win marks the first time a streamer has won the Best Picture award. The move is the latest sign of a pole shift in Hollywood that has redistributed power from traditional studios and theaters to tech companies and streaming platforms.
“CODA” won in all three categories it competed in, including Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur) and Adapted Screenplay (Siân Heder).
Accepting the best picture award, producer Philippe Rousselet praised the chemistry between the “CODA” cast members, a factor that helped the film take off among Oscar voters. “You have been such a wonderful and loving family on screen, but also off screen, and everyone wanted to be a part of it.”
“CODA” represents a hybrid of old and new methods in the industry. It was produced independently, with Mrs. Heder, who also directed, adapting the script from a French film.
She shot it in about a month on a budget of around $10 million. In early 2021, the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. That’s where Apple stepped in, buying “CODA” for $25 million, a Sundance record. The film debuted on Apple TV+ in August.
“CODA” is often described as a crowd pleaser, but the film didn’t garner much attention upon release. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons it only garnered three Oscar nominations, the fewest among Best Picture nominees. But “CODA” has gained momentum in recent weeks as buzz spread around the film, it won other awards and cast members charmed people in awards speeches and on the campaign trail. Apple has invested heavily in the campaign, including a series of free public screenings in movie theaters.
Apple “basically put this movie all over the world,” producer Patrick Wachsberger said in his acceptance speech.
It’s been five years since a streaming movie, Amazon’s “Manchester By the Sea,” entered the Best Picture race. In recent years, Netflix in particular has gone all out to win Hollywood’s ultimate status symbol. He failed with “Roma”, “The Irishman” and now “The Power of the Dog”.
The western went to the Oscars with 12 nominations – more than any other film – but was almost completely ruled out, save for Jane Campion’s win.