When Bill Hader first approached Sian Heder with the idea of her playing herself in the episode, in which Heder is seen helming a vapid, big-budget studio sci-fi/superhero film, Heder was hesitant to join in. That’s likely due to the Academy Award shenanigans “CODA” went through during its run: as with virtually every Oscar-nominated movie these days, “CODA” became subject to much criticism and scrutiny during its awards season campaign, with the attendant vitriolic backlash that film fans and filmmakers alike have come to expect. The movie’s award wins have been reevaluated several times over, and likely will be for decades to come; such is the nature of the beast.
Still, it’s easy to understand why Heder was worried, something that Hader sought to smooth over quickly. Speaking to The Wrap, Hader detailed the filmmaker’s concerns:
“Initially, I think Sian was a little skeptical about it because I think — understandably — she was like, ‘Oh, is this making fun of ‘CODA’?’ and just wanting to be respectful because that’s a great movie.”
On the page, Sally’s exclaim to Heder in one scene that “‘CODA’ is a masterpiece” could potentially be read as sarcastic, but in the context of the episode and Sally’s character, one can tell that it’s very much meant to be an earnest sentiment.