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LIer didn't win Oscar, but still had glorious night

Steven Prescod, left, and Robert Tarango, of Selden,

Steven Prescod, left, and Robert Tarango, of Selden, star in the short film "Feeling Through." Credit: Doug Roland

Sue Ruzenski might not have taken home an Oscar for Long Island Sunday night as a producer of the live-action short film nominee "Feeling Through," but she still feels like a winner.

"It was absolutely amazing to have attended the Academy Awards. We were honored to be present there and see so many people be acknowledged for their hard work and accomplishments," said Ruzenski, CEO of Helen Keller Services in Sands Point, in a statement.

As a producer, Ruzenski was involved in seeing that the film, which deals with the encounter one night between a homeless Black teen and a deaf-blind white man, presented an accurate portrayal of the deaf-blind community.

At Sunday's Oscars she was joined by cast member Robert Tarango of Selden, the first deaf-blind actor to star in a film. Tarango, who was working in the cafeteria at Helen Keller Services when the film was shot in 2018, is only the second deaf-blind person to attend the Oscars (the first was Helen Keller in 1955 when she won an Oscar for a documentary on her life).

Ultimately, "Feeling Through" lost the Oscar to "Two Distant Strangers," a sci-fi short about a Black man who gets stuck in a time loop and has to relive a deadly run-in with a cop. For Ruzenski, the real victory was the chance for Hollywood to see that there are no limits to what deaf-blind people can do.

"This is just the beginning of what might be possible," she said, "and we anticipate the deaf-blind community will bring more talent to the film industry in the future."

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