The Oscars

I suppose there’s a lot for me to write about today. For one, film seems to be going through a total paradigm shift: last night at the Oscars, for the first time, a film released on an internet platform won best film. Apple TV’s Coda – a moving film about a deaf family with a hearing daughter – became the first streaming film to scoop the best picture award. This surely marks a shift away from cinemas and film’s traditional home. While of course you could put it largely down to the pandemic, I can’t help worrying that film is losing something: in the cinema, film is an all-consuming event which holds our complete attention for two hours. Watched on a computer monitor or mobile phone screen, film is rendered pausable and ignorable; it becomes far more lightweight and superficial. While I’m not saying streaming will be the end of film – if anything, it encourages people to watch more films because it’s so easy – I worry that it will start to be taken far less seriously.

More importantly though, this was the night when film about Deaf people starring Deaf actors won Best Picture. This is huge news in terms of disability representation. A small, low-budget film about people who are usually totally ignored in mainstream film has scooped the top prize. Surely this is a monumental, watershed moment.

But instead of talking about what an important night it was for the Deaf and Disabled community, everyone is talking about one guy punching another on live television for insulting his wife. It really makes me want to despair.

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