‘A Fantastic Woman’ Could Lead to Oscar Nomination and Transgender History

Daniela Vega, a transgender Chilean actress, has turned in a buzz-worthy performance.

September 15, 2017 1:23 pm

At only 28-years-old, Daniela Vega, who stars in A Fantastic Woman, could be the first transgender actor to land an Oscar nomination.

Her performance as Marina in Sebastian Lelio’s movie is one of the most buzzed-about performances of the year, writes Associated PressMarina is a transgender woman whose partner dies, leaving Marina alone to face harsh treatment from her partner’s family and the police investigating the death.

This is the Chilean actress’s breakout performance, and AP calls it one of “stirring strength and compassion.” Chile has selected the film as its Academy Awards submission this year, and though several transgender musicians have been Oscar-nominated, no trans performer has ever earned an acting nod.

It won’t be easy, writes AP, since performances in foreign-language films rarely make it into the acting categories. Plus, Vega would be up against a few heavyweights, such as Meryl Streep for her performance in The Post and Jessica Chastain from Molly’s Game. 

A trans actor being nominated for such an award would resonate soundly in America, where President Donald Trump recently banned the trans community from entering the military.

Typically in Hollywood, trans stories are not told by trans actors. Hilary Swank and Jared Leto have taken home awards for Boys Don’t Cry and Dallas Buyers Club, respectively, but there has been more pressure recently on producers to cast trans actors for trans parts.

Vega would join the ranks of other transgender people who have been nominated for different Oscar categories, such as composer Angela Morley who received two Oscar nods in 1974 and 1976, or singer Anohni, who became the first transgender performer ever nominated. She collaborated with J. Ralph on the song “Manta Ray” for the documentary Racing Extinction. However, she was not offered a performing slot during the 2016 broadcast, even though the category’s other nominees were, so she boycotted the ceremony.

Vega still has a while to wait before she knows her Oscar’s fate. For now, the film will be released Nov. 17.

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