Marlee Matlin is proud of the strides deaf actors have made.
On Sunday night, the film “CODA” surprised viewers by picking up the coveted SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
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The film beat out fellow nominees “Belfast”, “Don’t Look Up”, “House of Gucci”, and “King Richard”, and Matlin delivered a powerful acceptance speech on behalf of castmates Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, and Eugenio Derbez.
“I’m stunned, I’m stunned,” she said, in sign language.
The coming-of-age film tells the story of a child of deaf adults (CODA) who pursues her passion for singing.
“Thank you [the film’s creators] for writing the words and including deaf culture, we love you,” Matlin continued. “The interpreters, thank you all the CODA interpreters and all CODAs everywhere, all over the world. My kids, all four of them are CODAs.”
She went on, addressing the audience in the room at the awards ceremony, “And look, you are all our peers. We deaf actors have come a long way. [For] 35 years, I have been seeing so much work out there and all this time, I’ve watched all of your films and I pay the deepest respect to all of you.”
Matlin also added, “Is Meryl Streep here? Oh my God, I love you!”
Finally, the actress said, “This validates the fact that we deaf actors can work just like anybody else. We look forward to more opportunities for deaf actors [and] deaf culture. Thank you. We love you,” before showing the audience how to say “I love you” in sign language.