Oscar Watch: CODA

It’s taken all of 24 hours for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival to produce a potential awards contender for the next season (as we’re in the midst of the current one). This should be no surprise as the annual Utah event typically produces such hopefuls. Last year, the fest gave us a trio of pics that could end up in the 2020 Best Picture lineup (The Father, Minari, Promising Young Woman).

CODA comes from writer/director Sian Heder and it’s a remake of the 2014 French dramedy La Famille Belier. 18-year-old Emilia Jones stars as the only hearing member of her deaf family that runs a fishing business. Costars include Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, and Eugenio Derbez. The opening night selection of Sundance suggests this is a major crowd pleaser that should have no trouble getting snatched up by a studio or streamer (and probably at a nice price). The Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 100% based on 20 reviews.

When it comes to Sundance, it always feels too early that discern whether praise will result in Oscar attention over a year later. That said, early signs here are encouraging and especially for Jones. Critics have deemed this a star making performance and she’s certainly worth keeping an eye on as the long next awards guesstimating period officially kicks off. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

***Update (01/30/21): Apple has acquired CODA for a record setting $25 million. This is the first genuine 2021 hopeful, folks!

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