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’CODA’ bags key prize before Oscars as Spielberg honors Lucas

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Hollywood’s producers named “CODA,” a heartwarming indie drama about a deaf family, the year’s best film at their annual gala on March 19 throwing the race for next weekend’s Oscars wide open.“CODA,” which cast deaf actors in several lead roles, follows teenage Ruby, who can hear, as she juggles pursuing her musical ambitions with her family’s dependence on her to communicate.The movie, released by Apple TV+, is now best-placed to vie with Netflix’s Western “The Power of the Dog,” the presumed Academy Award frontrunner.“I have always been drawn to stories that are filled with humanity,” said producer Philippe Rousselet, accepting the award.“And in a world where we see the lack of it every day, I’ll take this tonight -- this award -- as a sign that there’s still hope.”The Producers Guild Awards (PGA), taking place with Oscars voting now under way, have correctly predicted 11 of the past 14 winners of the best picture Academy Award.“Encanto” won the PGA’s best animated film, strengthening its own Oscars bid before voting ends Tuesday.“Summer of Soul,” musician Questlove’s first movie, about the huge “Black Woodstock” festival that took place in 1969 Harlem, racked up another best documentary win.The Academy Awards take place in Hollywood on March 27.“In music, coda means the end of a movement.

But our film is the beginning of one,” said “CODA” actress Marlee Matlin.“It’s a wonderful thing that audiences have embraced our movie and it’s wonderful to be making history,” she said, before it took the night’s top prize.Earlier in the night, Steven Spielberg praised “my brother” George Lucas as he presented the “Star Wars” creator with the PGA’s career achievement award.“George and I met as two of the most nerdy film junkies in.

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