Oscar spotlight: Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur BOTH deserve nominations for ‘CODA’

CODA’s” breakout star Troy Kotsur has already been nominated at the SAG and Critics Choice Awards for his supporting role as fisherman father Frank Rossi. He’s now a shoo-in for his first career Oscar nomination, according to Gold Derby predictions. But Kotsur’s on-screen wife, Marlee Matlin, has so far been overlooked by major awards groups for playing free-spirited mother Jackie Rossi on the Apple TV Plus coming-of-age film. So what gives?

Matlin is a previous Best Actress Oscar winner for “Children of a Lesser God” (1986). She made history that year by being the first deaf performer to be nominated for an Academy Award, let alone win one. At the age of 21, Matlin was also the youngest person to prevail in that specific category, a record that’s held for 35 years (and counting). While the actress has never returned to the Oscars as a nominee, she did executive produce last year’s Best Live Action Short contender “Feeling Through.” And she’s a four-time Emmy also-ran for “Picket Fences,” “Seinfeld,” “The Practice” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

SEE 2022 SAG Awards Nominations: Full List

In “CODA,” which stands for “child of deaf adult,” Matlin shares a tear-jerking scene with Emilia Jones, who plays her hearing daughter Ruby Rossi. Jackie reveals that she’s never truly been able to connect with Ruby because of her ability to hear, and that at one point she even prayed her daughter would be born deaf. Jackie initially doesn’t take Ruby’s music career seriously, but she ultimately supports her and in a crowd-pleasing scene even travels to watch her perform at her college audition.

Kotsur has several “wow” moments with his on-screen daughter, most notably in the scene where he asks her to sing for him. An emotional Frank reaches out and touches Ruby’s throat so he can feel the vibrations of her vocal cords as she belts out “You’re All I Need To Get By.” As Frank’s eyes start to well up, so, too, do the audience’s. It’s exactly the kind of impactful and empathetic moment that awards voters can’t get enough of.

SEE Troy Kotsur (‘CODA’) would be only the second deaf actor to be nominated for an Oscar

“CODA” is written and directed by Sian Heder and based on the French film titled “La Famille Bélier.” It’s predicted to earn three Oscar bids: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. Just last week the movie was cited by the SAG Awards in the categories of ensemble cast and supporting actor. And it’s up for multiple Critics Choice nominations as well.

According to Gold Derby odds, Matlin is in seventh place for Best Supporting Actress while Kotsur is the runner-up to win Best Supporting Actor. But wouldn’t it be great if Oscar voters proved the pundits wrong by nominating BOTH performers? Fingers crossed.

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