Get To Know The Cast of Oscar Best Picture Winner CODA!

The cast of this year’s Best Picture winner was notably primarily deaf. Get to know the actors and their extensive careers here!

This year’s Oscars hosted a number of historic wins–one of them being best picture winning film CODA. The term “CODA” is an acronym for “Child of Deaf Adults”, and is also a music term that typically marks the ending of a song. The film follows a 17-year-old girl named Ruby Rossi with immense musical talent, but there’s a twist––her own family has never heard her sing. Ruby is the only hearing member of her entirely deaf family, and for much of her life, has served as their interpreter.

Set in the seaside Massachusetts town of Gloucester, the film follows Ruby as she helps her family with their fishing business in the mornings before going to high school, where she suddenly decides to join the school choir after seeing her crush sign up, ultimately discovering her singing talent. There, her teacher, Bernardo Villalobos, offers to coach her to audition for the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, his alma mater. The film was shot on location along the North Shore in Massachusetts, and featured the contributions of many Berklee College of Music and Emerson College students, with the film’s writer and director, Sian Heder, being a Cambridge native herself. It is a touching story of community, and one that made great strides for deaf actors and the writing of deaf characters (and hopefully, actors with other disabilities) in Hollywood. Get to know the cast of the film more below.

Emilia Jones (Ruby Rossi)

This 20–year–old English actress has been on screen since she was only eight years old. That year, she made a small appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and in the romantic drama One Day, which starred Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. In the latter, she played Sturgess’ character’s daughter. She went on to take on several TV roles, most notably in House of Anubis, Doctor Who, Wolf Hall, and Netflix’s horror fantasy Locke and Key, where she has starred as Kinsey Locke since 2020. While she’s acted in a few American films throughout her career, CODA has certainly proven to be her international breakthrough.

 

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Troy Kotsur (Frank Rossi)

In addition to being a part of the cast of the best-picture-winning film, Kotsur also took home the Oscar for best supporting actor. He is only the second deaf actor to win this award, only behind his CODA on-screen wife Marlee Matlin, who won best actress in 1986 for her role in Children of a Lesser God. Kotsur grew up in Arizona and was inspired to become an actor while he was in high school, going on to major in theater, television, and film at Gallaudet University. While in college, he received a job offer to tour with the National Theatre of the Deaf, and starred in their adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire, Of Mice and Men, and Ophelia. He has also directed films in the past, including No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie. CODA was his first lead role in a combined English and American Sign Language film. He is married to fellow deaf actress Deanne Bray, who has had a number of roles in popular television shows, including The L Word, Grey’s Anatomy, and Veep. The couple have a daughter.

 

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Marlee Matlin (Jackie Rossi)

Kotsur’s on-screen wife Jackie was played by Marlee Matlin, who has long been an advocate for the deaf in the entertainment industry. She won her Oscar for best actress for her debut role in 1986. She has appeared in numerous iconic films and TV shows throughout her extensive career, from Seinfeld to Hear No Evil, and most recently appeared in the Facebook Watch series Limetown alongside Jessica Biel and Stanley Tucci, before filming CODA. Matlin is married to Burbank police officer Kevin Grandalski, and the couple share four children.

 

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Daniel Durant (Leo Rossi)

Durant played Ruby’s older brother, and son of Kotsur and Matlin’s characters. The 32-year-old actor from Minnesota began his career primarily on stage and television. He is most known for his role as Matthew in Switched at Birth, but also starred as Moritz in the 2015 Broadway revival of Spring Awakening. In recent TV history, you may recognize him from the flashbacks in season two of Netflix’s psychological thriller You as the murderous Love Quinn (played by Victoria Pedretti)’s first husband, who met a mysterious death prior to her meeting main character Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley). Like his co-star Troy Kotsur, he also attended Gallaudet University. His first role in a film was the 2020 indie Silent Notes, but CODA has proven to have given him his biggest movie role yet.

 

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Eugenio Derbez (Bernardo Villalobos)

This Mexican actor and comedian has had a long and successful career since the 1980s. He had many lead roles in Mexican TV shows, including Cachún cachún ra ra! and La familia P. Luche. By the early 2000s, he had made his international debut in the U.S., with several comedic films, including Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Jack and Jill, in which he stars alongside Adam Sandler. You may recognize him from the 2017 comedy How to be a Latin Lover, in which he stars alongside Salma Hayek. Derbez is married to fellow Mexican actress and model Alessandra Rosaldo. He has four children, three of whom are also actors.

 

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Ferdia Walsh–Peelo (Miles)

Walsh-Peelo plays Ruby Rossi’s school crush and eventual duet partner, who catapults her character’s interest in music. You may recognize the 22-year old Irish actor from the History Channel’s Vikings, in which he played King Alfred from 2017-2020. With a long background in musical theater since he was a boy soprano at the age of seven, he was the perfect fit for CODA.

Be on the lookout for this cast––they’ve certainly got big things to come!

About the Author

Madison Goldberg

Madison E. Goldberg is a senior at Emerson College majoring in journalism and minoring in publishing and photography. She’s covered numerous topics in news and entertainment as a multimedia journalist.