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Three disabled movies compete for an Oscar

a row of oscar statues
a row of oscar statues Image credit: thebottomline.as

This Sunday some of the biggest names in film will attend the 93rd Academy Awards being held in Los Angeles, among them will be those who have appeared in big screen movies promoting disabled awareness.

Well, we say big screen – but the pandemic has meant everything has been shown on TV since last March, but you know what we are trying to imply.

Three of the nominations bring hope to the film industry becoming more inclusive in a sector often criticised for its lack of diversity, especially when the camera is turned to disability.

Among those up for that infamous golden statue is Crip Camp, a Netflix documentary on a camp which operated in the seventies solely for disabled youths which went on to inspire the US disability rights movement.

Sound of Metal, up for Best Picture, saw best actor nominee Riz Ahmed learning sign language for his role in the movie telling a story about a drummer and those around him with hearing loss. One of the co-stars, Paul Raci is a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) who appeared in the film along a cast of deaf actors.

Feeling Through has also been nominated in the Short Film category which features deafblind actor, Robert Tarango.

The movie’s plot centres around a deafblind man called Artie who meets homeless teenager Tereek at a bus stop.

This year’s inclusion of disabled actors has been welcomed by Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte, having cerebral palsy himself the actor has campaigned for Hollywood to wake up and recognise more acting talent with disabilities.

"Whenever awards season rolls around, we always hope to see a diverse group of projects that reflect all of us, in body and mind," Mitte told the BBC. "Watching the awareness grow around disability representation has been great to see, but breakthroughs sometimes come in pieces and moments instead of larger change.

"This year I was thrilled to see Riz Ahmed be recognised and have Sound of Metal bring attention to hearing loss and the struggles of learning to adapt and accept a new 'normal'.

"There are so many issues this community faces, and that shouldn't be limited in films to characters in wheelchairs or crutches as the only disability we see."

Will any of these movies walk away with an Oscar this weekend? Only time will tell but it looks promising munching popcorn watching disabled actors on screen could become the new norm.

The Academy Awards will be screened on Sky Cinema’s Sky Cinema Oscars sub-channel, Sunday April 25 from 10pm.