The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a virtual program titled “AccessAbility/VisAbility: Breaking Down the Barriers for People with Disabilities in Media,” featuring conversations with filmmakers with disabilities as they examine the struggles and successes in Hollywood.
Hosted by Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God”), the three-panel event will feature artists from the disability community. Millicent Simmonds, who starred in Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck,” and Zack Gottsagen, who garnered awards buzz for 2019’s “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” are among the panelists.
The series continues AMPAS’ work at highlighting underrepresented voices in Hollywood. “The Academy’s focus is to bring diverse voices to the forefront of conversation, whether it’s people with cognitive or physical disabilities, who are deaf or hard of hearing, those in underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, or the LGBTQ+ community,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in an email to Variety.
Christine Simmons, Academy COO and head of the office of representation, inclusion and equity, said, “as the Academy continues to examine longstanding issues of representation within the film industry, it’s imperative we bring conversations about disabilities to the forefront.”
The panels will be broadcast tonight (October 26) at 5 p.m. PT on the Oscars website.