March 28, 2022
By Shannon Musgrave

CMU Drama alumni among the winners & creatives at 2022 Academy Awards

The 94th annual Academy Awards ceremony was a big night for what’s been called “the little movie that could.” “CODA,” written and directed by Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama alumna Siân Heder, won Best Picture and Heder took home the award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Writing and making this movie was truly life-changing as an artist and as a human being,” said Heder in her acceptance speech.

The film has proved an industry darling since its Sundance Film Festival premiere in 2021, where it was awarded both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award; and Heder won Best Director in the U.S. Dramatic section. Following a bidding war for the film’s rights, it was acquired by Apple for $25 million — a festival record.

Since then, it has received some of the film industry’s highest accolades, including Best Picture at the Hollywood Critics Association Awards, Best Feature Film by the Producers Guild of America, and was honored among the year’s top films at the AFI Awards. Heder won Best Adapted Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America, Hollywood Critics Association and the British Academy of Film & Television.

“CODA” (which is the term for “Child of Deaf Adults”) is adapted from the 2014 French film “La Famille Bélier,” about the hearing daughter of Deaf parents who breaks away from her family to pursue her dreams of singing.

The onstage spectacle would not have been possible without the skill and vision of the design and production professions working behind-the-scenes. Several CMU Drama alumni were part of the impressive creative team that brought the ceremony to life. Congratulations to all who created this spectacular night!

Michael Berger (Lighting Director)

Alana Billingsley (Supervising Art Director)

Robert A. Dickinson (Lighting Designer)

Kelsey Garrett (Art Department Coordinator)

Lex Gernon (Assistant Art Director)

Hannah Kerman (Lighting Assistant)

Jasmine Lesane (Assistant Lighting Director)

Noah Mitz (Lighting Designer)

Courtesy of Lex Geron |
Courtesy of Jasmine Lesane |
Courtesy of Hannah Kerman |