The Ruderman Family Foundation is applauding Sunday night’s Oscars, dubbing the awards show the “most inclusive ceremony yet.”
The organization, which is an international leader in advocating for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the entertainment industry, thanked the Academy for “being a monumental step towards a more inclusive Hollywood.”
This year’s ceremony featured an ASL interpreter in the event’s media room for the first time ever, as well as using closed captioning, audio descriptions and its first-ever accessible stage with a ramp.
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“The entertainment community has historically prided itself on taking the lead in advocating for social change, as racial, gender, ethnic, and cultural diversity are acknowledged as worthy ambitions for popular entertainment. Yet only in recent years has Hollywood incorporated disability into its definition of diversity, including by auditioning and ultimately casting a rising number of actors with disabilities,” Jay Ruderman, the President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, said in a statement.
Adding, “Tonight’s Academy Awards are a powerful manifestation of progress in the entertainment industry, which can set an influential paradigm for all sectors in the realms of inclusion and social justice.”
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During the awards, Marlee Matlin, the only deaf actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, presented Best Documentary Short and Best Documentary Feature. Nominated in that category was “Crip Camp”, a film about a summer camp for teenagers with disabilities. Matlin took home her Oscar in 1987 for “Children Of A Lesser God”.
According to the Ruderman Family Foundation, they have been working with the Academy directly, helping to promote greater inclusion in the entertainment industry.
The foundation also recognized last year’s Academy Awards, as it was the first time that an actor who has Down syndrome (Zack Gottsagen) presented an Oscar.