FACT CHECK: Did The Oscars Start Offering Closed Captioning In 2021?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims actress Jane Fonda signed her speech in 1979 since the Oscars would not offer closed captioning and did not do so until 2021.

Verdict: Misleading

While Jane Fonda did sign her speech in 1979, the Oscars have been providing closed captions since 1982.

Fact Check:

The 94th Academy Awards, also called the Oscars, were held March 27 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, according to the Oscars’ website. One particular film, “CODA,” which depicts the life of a child with deaf adults and utilizes open-captions, won an award for Best Picture, The Wall Street Journal reported.

A post shared on Facebook shows a screen grab of a tweet that claims to show Fonda accepting an award at the 1979 Oscars. “Jane Fonda signed her best actress speech in 1979 because the Oscars wouldn’t offer closed captions,” the post alleges. “The Oscars only started providing closed captions in 2021.”

A video uploaded to YouTube by the Oscars’ official channel shows Fonda communicating part of her speech in American Sign Language after winning Best Actress for her role in “Coming Home” at the 51st Oscars in 1979. “I’m signing part of what I’m saying tonight because while we were making the movie we all became more aware of the problems of the handicapped…. So this is my way of acknowledging them,” Fonda remarked.

However, the Oscars first began providing real-time captioning in 1982, according to a timeline created by the Described and Captioned Media Program. (RELATED: Are There No TV Ads For COVID-19 Vaccines Because The Manufacturing Companies Would Have To List The Side Effects?)

The Washington Post covered the development at the time. “Unveiled for the 54th annual Oscars was a new electronic closed-captioning device that provided continuing printed captions for deaf viewers with special decoders attached to their sets–an estimated 150,000 persons, according to Academy president Fay Kanin,” reads part of a 1982 article from the outlet.

Check Your Fact reached out to the Oscars for comment and will update this piece if a response is given.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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