'CODA' wins big in International Catholic Film Critics awards

Emilia Jones stars in a scene from the movie "CODA," premiering Aug. 13, 2021, on Apple TV+. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/courtesy Apple TV )

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) ─ "CODA" is an acronym for children of deaf adults. It could also stand for quality filmmaking, as the movie took home a slew of prizes in the International Catholic Film Critics Association's awards competition.

"CODA," in which a teen girl, both of whose parents are deaf, weighs the choice between staying home to continue helping her folks or leaving home to pursue opportunities, won the best picture award. It also won for best screenplay, written by Sian Heder, and best supporting actor in Troy Kotsur.

Winners were announced March 1.

"Belfast," Kenneth Branagh's portrait of a young boy growing up in the capital city of Northern Ireland, also took home three awards. It led films in nominations with its seven, while "CODA" received six nominations.

"Belfast" won the organization's Human and Gospel Values Award, which is awarded to the film that best reflects human and Gospel values as determined by the association's membership.

Other awards for "Belfast" went to Kenneth Branagh for best director and Caitriona Balfe for best supporting actress, in a tie with Ann O'Dowd of "Mass."

Andrew Garfield won the association's award for best actor for his role in "Tick, Tick ... Boom!" Jennifer Hudson took the best actress prize for her portrayal of singer Aretha Franklin in the biopic "Respect."

Bruno Delbonnel was honored for best cinematography with "The Tragedy of Macbeth." Kris Bowers took home the prize for best original score with "Respect."

There was a tie for best documentary: "Summer of Soul," which highlighted performances from top acts playing at a summer-long music festival in New York City's Harlem district, and "The House That Rob Built," a Family Theater Productions profile of Robin Selvig, who took the helm of the University of Montana women's basketball team in the early 1970s and developed a powerhouse program using local talent.

Winners were chosen by instant runoff voting, in which the nominee with the fewest votes is knocked off the ballot until one entrant gets a majority of votes. Even so, this year's voting resulted in two ties, for best documentary and best supporting actress.

The honor for outstanding criticism among association members went to Father Peter Malone of Australia, a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart order and former president of Signis. John Mulderig, Catholic News Service's associate director for media reviews, was a nominee, as was Joseph McAleer, a CNS freelance movie critic.

A separate award for outstanding criticism among nonmembers went to Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, a British newspaper.


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