'A Fantastic Woman' wins Oscar for Best Foreign Film

Eileen GuzmanMar 05, 2018

"I can't believe this happened". A Fantastic Woman is the latest in the progressive canon, exploring the prejudice towards transgender people.

Lelio said he hoped the film's Academy Award recognition would help "contribute to a necessary and urgent conversation" about transgender rights in Chile and around the world.

Calling the Oscars win for the film "a transgender watershed", The Hollywood Reporter writes, "The Spanish-language feature, about a trans woman who faces bigotry and intolerance after her partner dies, has become a touchstone for an entire movement, and the film's star, trans actress Daniela Vega, its spokeswoman". They had shared a protective bubble of bliss and tenderness that is suddenly shattered and Marina's world falls apart.

After his death is investigated, it comes to be known that she is a transgender woman and is shunned by her lover's family because of her gender identity. Vega joined the director and producers on stage and later took to the stage alone to present one of the evening's musical performances.

"Thank you so much, this is an wonderful gift", director Sebastián Lelio said, adding, "I want to thank the cast of the film, especially the brilliant actor Francisco Reyes and the inspiration for this movie, Daniela Vega".

He says it would have been unthinkable to case a non-transgender actress in the role of Marina, likening it to the scorned practice of "blackface".

The movie was initially about a cisgender character; however, Lelio was inspired to change the story after he began working with Vega, who initially joined the movie as a LGBT advisor.

'I want to thank the cast of the film, ' said Lelio, 'especially the brilliant actor Francisco Reyes and the inspiration for the film, Daniela Vega'.

The Chilean film beat nominees from Russia, Lebanon, Sweden and Hungary. We discussed the challenges of writing the script, the use of dreamy surrealism within a social-realist drama, and the film's Oscar nomination.

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