The Oscars 2022 ceremony saw CODA win Best Picture, beating out competition from The Power of the Dog. Here’s how it claimed the top prize.
Here’s why CODA won Best Picture at the Oscars 2022. When the nominations for the 2022 Oscars were first announced, The Power of the Dog became the immediate front runner thanks to its dozen nods, the most of any movie. It led throughout awards season, picking up key wins at the Golden Globes, DGA Awards, Critics Choice Awards, and the BAFTAs, and was hoping to carry that momentum through to the 94th Academy Awards.
A few challengers have been mooted throughout – at first, it looked like Belfast, with its seven nominations, might be the biggest threat. As the awards ceremony neared, though, CODA emerged as the main Best Picture contender alongside The Power of the Dog, thanks to winning major prizes at the WGA and more importantly PGA Awards. While the Oscars 2022 ceremony itself was largely overshadowed due to the shocking events that saw Will Smith hit Chris Rock and curse at him over a joke made about Jada Pinkett Smith, there was still the matter of the top prize to hand out.
In the end, it was CODA that won Best Picture at the Oscars 2022, beating out The Power of the Dog and eight other nominees. CODA‘s Best Picture win is impressive, considering it’s a relatively smaller movie than most of those it was up against and didn’t make a huge awards splash when it first released on Apple TV+ in August 2021, though the studio had paid a record $25 million for the movie after its premiere at Sundance. In terms of why CODA won Best Picture at the Oscars 2022, from a standpoint of the technical decision making behind the Oscars then its win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, where it won the Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Motion Picture Award, is the clearest signifier of where its popularity lies. The acting branch of the Academy is its largest, meaning that its votes hold a lot of sway; as seen with Troy Kotsur winning Best Supporting Actor as well, there was a lot of support for CODA that resulted in it winning Best Picture.
Why CODA Deserved To Win Best Picture
CODA‘s popularity with actors and other Academy voters can be attributed to a few key reasons. CODA‘s cast features several Deaf actors in main roles, and is a big step forward in terms of representation. The way the movie uses that, in particular in how it works American Sign Language into the movie not only as part of its script, but also the performances, was likely a strong factor in why it resonated, because the movie truly shows the power of communication and learning how best to reach somebody. The Oscars have also been criticized in recent years for its lack of diversity and inclusion, and because CODA‘s representation is so beautifully handled is another reason it won Best Picture.
All that said, the reasons CODA won Best Picture are not simply to do with representation, but because it is a truly deserving, special movie. It may not be typical Oscars fare – it is a coming-of-age dramedy that was up against some far more traditional Oscar bait type movies in 2022’s Best Picture race – but that’s to its advantage. This is a brilliant, heartwarming movie; the performances are stunning, its screenplay takes on a unique perspective and ensures equal balance in understanding both what it’s like to be a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) and what the rest of Ruby Rossi’s (Emilia Jones) family feel. Aided by musical moments that add a lot of emotional heft, it’s an incredibly sweet, heartfelt, poignant, relatable, and hilarious movie. It’s a feel good movie, and so it’s perhaps not so surprising that CODA‘s Best Picture came during such a feel bad time, but it’s a film that should transcend its era to live long in the memory.
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