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Deaf drama ‘CODA’ wins top prize at SAG awards

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US actor Michael Keaton was one of several SAG award winners to mention the conflict in Ukraine

“CODA,” a heartfelt indie drama about a struggling deaf family, won the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild awards Sunday, boosting its hopes as a potential dark horse for next month’s Oscars.

Taking its title from an acronym for child of deaf adult, “CODA” follows high school teen Ruby as she juggles her musical ambitions with her family’s dependence on her to communicate with the “hearing” world.

“This validates the fact that we deaf actors can work just like anybody else,” added Matlin, before teaching the star-studded audience the sign for “I love you.”

“CODA,” released by Apple TV+ after a bidding war at last year’s Sundance independent film festival where it fetched a record $25 million, also won best supporting actor for Troy Kotsur.

Will Smith won best actor for “King Richard,” which recounts the improbable rise of Serena and Venus Williams from the rough streets of Compton to tennis superstardom.

“That may have been one of the greatest moments of my career just now, because my name was called for ‘King Richard’ sitting next to Venus Williams,” said Smith, who is the favorite to win his first Oscar next month.

While her husband Jim Bakker was jailed for defrauding their millions of followers, Tammy Faye clashed with fellow evangelists over her acceptance of the LGBTQ community at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

Ariana DeBose bolstered her Oscar frontrunner status by claiming best supporting actress for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake.

– ‘Fighting the fight’ –

And the stars did not disappoint on the first big red carpet event of Hollywood’s awards season, with Cate Blanchett stunning in a low-cut black Armani gown, and Chastain donning a sparkling Dior suit.

“Thank you S-A-G,” she said, spelling out each letter, before joking: “I hate to say the word ‘sag’ at my age.”

In the television categories, “Squid Game” actors Lee Jung-jae and Jung Ho-yeon looked visibly shocked to win best actor and actress in a drama.

“Succession” won the best drama ensemble prize, with star Brian Cox one of many to praise Ukrainian president and former actor Volodymyr Zelensky.

Michael Keaton, who won best actor in a limited series for “Dopesick,” also praised “a fellow actor in Zelensky who deserves some credit tonight for fighting the fight.”

Capping an excellent night for Apple TV+, the relatively new streamer also won best comedy series prizes for “Ted Lasso” and its star Jason Sudeikis.



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