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‘CODA’ star Troy Kotsur makes history as 1st deaf male actor to receive Oscar nomination

The actor joins his on-screen wife, Marlee Matlin, as one of only two deaf actors who have received the honor.

Troy Kotsur is making history with his Oscar nomination.

On Tuesday, the actor became the first deaf male performer to be nominated for the prestigious award for his role in the 2021 film "CODA."

The Apple TV+ movie follows Ruby, a child whose parents and brother are deaf. The roles of the parents and brother were played by real-life deaf actors, including Marlee Matlin, who portrays Kotsur's wife.

This on-screen dynamic duo's Oscar nominations are historic.
This on-screen dynamic duo's Oscar nominations are historic. Apple

With his nomination for actor in a supporting role, the 53-year-old also becomes the second deaf performer to ever receive an Oscar nomination.

Fittingly, Matlin was the first one to receive that honor when she was nominated for best actress in 1987 for her role in "Children of a Lesser God." She went on to win the award.

59th Annual Academy Awards
Marlee Matlin at the Academy Awards in 1987.Ron Galella / Getty Images

Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan unveiled the nominees for the 94th Academy Awards on Tuesday morning, and "CODA" also scored nominations in the writing and best picture categories.

It's been an exciting awards season for "CODA," which also received two Golden Globe nominations, including one for Kotsur for best performance by an actor in a supporting role in any motion picture.

The film also nabbed two SAG Award nominations and three BAFTA Film Award nominations.

Last summer, Kotsur spoke with NPR about the film and the way it portrays his on-screen daughter's passion for music. In one scene, the actor lays his hands on her neck to feel the vibrations of her voice and better understand why she wants to make a career out of singing.

“He’s kinda like a papa bear,” Kotsur signed during the interview. “There’s humor, and that bond is very tight.”

As it turns out, the actor did something similar with his own daughter in real life.

“A long time ago when she was in kindergarten, she sang for a class performance,” he said. “I asked, ‘Can I just kind of feel your neck?’ And it was very cute.”