Watch: Sign language interpreter teaches Mark Ruffalo, Lily Gladstone how to sign titles of Oscar-nominated films

Three screenshots of a TikTok posted by The Oscars, in which a sign language interpreter teaches Lily Gladstone and Mark Ruffalo

Improved disability representation and accessibility been all the rage in the entertainment industry in recent years — with the smash success of films like “CODA,” and exciting advancements in American Sign Language translation options on streaming services.

Representation and accessibility are popular for a reason; they drastically improve the experiences of countless movie fans with disabilities.

“Being able to share the biggest movie of the year in ASL, the first language for many, will make this story resonate in a more meaningful way,” Casey Bloys, the chairman and CEO of HBO and Max content, said in a statement when “Barbie” was released to Max’s streaming platform with an on-screen ASL option last fall.

“By offering sign language interpretation, we will build upon the film’s empowering message of inclusiveness and offer a unique viewing experience for the Deaf community to enjoy with family and friends.”

But what about films beyond those hit blockbusters with budgets for this kind of accessible programming? Well, it starts with the movie-makers themselves.

This week, the Oscars posted a TikTok video of a myriad of Academy Award nominees learning how to sign the names of their films in ASL. Supported by Deaf writer, director, and creator Chrissy Marshall, award season favorites like Lily Gladstone and Mark Ruffalo were eager to learn.

“I’m Deaf, so I use sign language, and I’m just going around teaching people how to sign the names of their movies,” Marshall introduced herself.

@oscars This year’s Oscar nominees learn how to sign their films with writer, director and deaf creator Chrissy Marshall. Click the link in bio to bookmark the 96th Oscars American Sign Language (ASL) Livestream. Tune into @ABC Network to watch the Oscars LIVE on Sunday, March 10th at a new time, 7e/4p! #oscars #oscars2024 #americansignlanguage #asl #markruffalo #lilygladstone #sandrahuller #brittanysnow #movies #film ♬ original sound - The Oscars

The video follows a number of stars — as well as producers and creators — from the season’s biggest films, including “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Poor Things,” “Anatomy of a Fall,” “American Fiction,” “Barbie,” and more. 

Sandra Hüller, a German actress who starred in two Best Picture nominated films this year, was visibly thrilled to learn the name of “Anatomy of a Fall” in ASL, even hugging Marshall at the end of the video.

Brittany Snow, from the short film “Red, White and Blue” earnestly leaned into the exercise, asking clarifying questions. 

And Gladstone, of historic “Killers of the Flower Moon” fame, shared a gratified “aww,” when discovering the sign name for the film.

Ruffalo, too, was animated about the exercise. 

“Oh my god, that’s so easy,” he exclaimed, after successfully signing “Poor Things.”

The video also served as an advertisement to remind viewers to watch the Oscars American Sign Language broadcast, which will be translated by Marshall and is available online as a livestream this Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

A screenshot of a TikTok posted by The Oscars, featuring Mark Ruffalo and Chrissy Marshall
Photo courtesy of The Oscars/TikTok

“I invite you to watch the ASL live stream for the Academy Awards with my friend Chrissy,” Ruffalo concluded the video.

A livestream separately broadcasted from the main event on ABC is not the most equitable form of accessibility (which would look more like including an ASL translation option for all broadcasting methods), but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

And judging by the comments on TikTok, folks are excited to continue seeing small — albeit, imperfect — steps of meaningful accessibility in the entertainment industry.

“That’s awesome!” one commenter cheered. “I’m looking forward to watching the Oscars with ASL on livestream.”

“Love to see ASL getting more attention and airtime,” another commenter wrote. “Increasing accessibility is so important.”

“This is so sweet,” someone else shared, pledging to do their part to make ASL interpretation the norm. “I’m gonna watch the ASL telecast so that hopefully this is standard across all broadcasts.”

Header image courtesy of The Oscars/TikTok

Article Details

March 7, 2024 11:02 AM
Left: Cate Blanchett speaks into a microphone in a recording booth. Right: The poster for Netflix's docu-series 'Our Living World' with green and blue hues

Cate Blanchett, Netflix celebrate Earth Day with release of docu-series 'Our Living World'

Netflix's latest nature docu-series is narrated by Cate Blanchett and explores the wondrous connections between species and ecosystems across the globe.
Three screenshots of Maggie Rogers speaking into her camera in an Instagram Reel

Maggie Rogers is selling concert tickets to her fans IRL to fight exploitation in the live music industry

Maggie Rogers just dropped her third album "Don't Forget Me," and will soon take it on tour. But first — she's selling tickets in-person at box offices.
No items found.

Want to stay up-to-date on positive news?

The best email in your inbox.
Filled with the day’s best good news.