Folks are calling out The Oscars for cutting Deaf actress Marlee Matlin off as she was presenting during the 2021 ceremony.
The actress, who won an Oscar herself back in 1986 for Best Actress in the film Children of a Lesser God, was signing to the audience as she was presenting an award when the camera abruptly cut away and viewers were no longer able to see her signing.
Fans have taken to Twitter to hold The Oscars accountable for cutting her off.
so…the oscars aren’t going to have a sign language interpreter for anything (even when sound of metal has several nominations) except for marlee matlin whom they PANNED AWAY FROM while she was signing? yikes
— nimisha bhat is still here (@mishiebhat) April 26, 2021
Marlee Matlin has the rare opportunity to sign while presenting a couple of categories at the Oscars, and they cut immediately to the nominees with no split or reduced screen, cutting out her signing for the most of her presentation… y’all 😑 #Oscars
— Fabiana Dávila-Viera (@fabi_dv) April 26, 2021
Hey The Oscars, if you wanted to commit to diversity and accessibility, instead of cutting away from the woman presenting in ASL and leaving us with VO of her interpreter, you could split screen to show the nominees and keep a camera on Marlee…
— Amy Shier 🌈 💖 (@supershier) April 26, 2021
I think the #oscars director sort of missed the point of having Marlee Matlin present when you don’t see her sign and only hear her interpreter
— Erin Cox (@erinlcox) April 26, 2021
While it’s great to see The Oscars at least attempt to fix its huge diversity problem, punters took issue with the way they had Marlee Matlin present in almost a tokenistic manner, then reduced her amount of screen-time.
In case ya didn’t know, Marlee Matlin is an absolute Oscars legend, having broken several records.
Upon winning the award for Best Actress in 1987, Matlin became the first, and to date only, Deaf performer to win an Academy Award, and is also the youngest Best Actress winner ever.
In 1986, Marlee Matlin made her film debut in the romantic drama flick, Children of a Lesser God, where she played Sarah, a janitor at a school for the Deaf and hard of hearing who becomes romantically involved with a new hearing teacher, James Leeds (played by William Hurt).
Just 21-years-old at the time, Matlin scored a nomination for Best Actress for her performance. Two of her competitors were veterans actresses, but were also first time nominees: Kathleen Turner for Peggy Sue Got Married and Sigourney Weaver for Aliens, along with two former Best Actress winners: Jane Fonda for The Morning After and Sissy Spacek for Crimes of the Heart.
So to invite such an incredible pioneer back to the awards show, only to cut her off, is pretty darn shit.