The film explores the story of Ruby, who is the only hearing member of a deaf family from Gloucester, Massachusetts. At 17, she works mornings before school to help her parents and brother keep their fishing business afloat. But in joining her high school’s choir club, Ruby finds herself drawn to both her duet partner and her latent passion for singing.
The film, which was directed by Sian Heder, beat out Belfast, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog and West Side Story to nab the event’s biggest nod.
Aussie director Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog was the most nominated film of the evening with an impressive 12 chances to win. Campion herself was nominated and won in the Best Director category, while Benedict Cumberbatch was included in the Best Actor selection and Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee were recognised in the Supporting Actor and Actress groups. Dunst’s real-life partner, Jesse Plemons, was also nominated for his role in the film.
Meanwhile, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune came in a close second with a total of 10 nominations on the night, including for Best Cinematography, Editing and Costume Design. The film, which is adapted from Frank Herbert’s epic novel has proven to be a smash at the global box office, with earnings of USD $41 million in ticket sales in its first weekend, and nearly USD $225 million globally.
Dune 2 has since been given the green light at Legendary Entertainment, with Villeneuve returning to helm the next instalment too.
Elsewhere, CODA — which was a favourite to win after taking out the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures at the Producer’s Guild of America Awards — made history when actor Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man and the second deaf actor nominated for an Academy Award.
Kotsur was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Frank Rossi, a deaf man who is navigating challenges to his Massachusetts fishing business as his hearing daughter, Ruby (Emilia Jones), who acts as the family’s interpreter, mulls a move to college. He won the award, making history.