A low-budget, independent film, it tells the story of a hearing daughter in a deaf family who must balance helping them with her dreams of becoming a singer. The film’s title, Coda, is an acronym that stands for Children of Deaf Adults.
So it is fair to say that it made an unlikely Oscar winner, based on the ceremony’s apparent preference for films with big budgets and even bigger star names.
And not only did it win best picture, but one of its stars, Troy Kotsur, became only the second deaf actor to win an Oscar, for best supporting actor, and another was awarded for best adapted screenplay.
So it is also fair to say that this must be a very good film.
Applause in sign language from the audience as the cast and crew accepted the best picture award added to the sense that something rather special had just happened.
In his acceptance speech, delivered through an interpreter, Kotsur dedicated the award to “the deaf community, the Coda community and the disabled community”. “This is our moment,” he added.
While Smith’s actions have dominated the headlines – and the proportion of people on the planet with internet access who have not watched the video is likely to be small – we should remember that the Oscars is about film-making, at its finest a truly moving art form, and Coda still deserves to have its day in the sun.