LOS ANGELES -- In 1987, she won the Best Actress Oscar for her film debut; 34 years later, Marlee Matlin is heading back to the Oscars, this time as an executive producer.
It's for a live action short called "Feeling Through." More than anything, Matlin hopes what this movie has achieved will have a lasting impact on the show biz community.
"Feeling Through" tells the story of a young man who gives up on finding a place to sleep for the night when he meets a deaf and blind man who needs help getting home. The experience will forever change this young man. The film's director, Doug Roland, based this on a story from his own life. He worked with the Helen Keller National Center to make this movie happen. It's there he discovered Robert Tarango, a deaf and blind man who was part of the center's staff. He hired him to be his leading man.
Matlin and her longtime interpreter and friend, Jack Jason, came on later as executive producers.
"It's about connections. It's about not judging each other. It's about not being afraid of each other," said Matlin. "It really brings out the best in the viewer, maybe not even realizing it."
"You don't see these kinds of projects very often and we have produced a couple projects in the past but this one is so unique and I knew it was time for Marlee to get back into the Oscar game," said Jason.
"It moved me and that's why I'm on board and supporting this Oscar campaign because it's all about humanity," said Matlin. "And having the first deaf blind actor be in a film, I mean, it's just a bonus and I hope Hollywood sees that and I hope that Hollywood knows that casting like this is important."
Matlin says that more than ever, it's a time to collaborate and communicate.
"Now is the time to not be afraid to ask questions, to learn, to make movies, to tell stories because if you want the best story, then do it authentically," said Matlin.
That's how it was done when Matlin was cast to play a deaf woman in the film version of "Children of a Lesser God." The performance won her an Oscar. But this beautiful time in her career began in a dark place.
"When I won the Golden Globe for Best Actress, I immediately went to rehab the next day and got help with my drug addiction. And during that time at the Betty Ford Center, I got nominated for an Academy Award," said Matlin. "And I've been sober for 34 years ever since."
We'll see Matlin on Oscar Sunday, April 25, where she will also be presenting an award.