The Best Foreign Film Nominee shines a light on its transgender star Daniela Vega at this years Oscars
As we move forward into the future, we can rest assured that our community is in good hands with those that are at the forefront of change and breaking down barriers. Our latest heroine is Chilean Transgender actress Daniela Vega, the star of the Academy Award-nominated film A Fantastic Woman.
A Fantastic woman is the story of a transgender woman named Marina who falls in love with a man 30 years her senior. The aspiring actress/singer watches her lover die in her arms and thus begins a whirlwind of suspicion and accusations by her now dead lovers family.
Once her lover dies, Marina, while dealing with her grief is also the subject of bigotry from his family and ex-wife who scoff at the idea of Marina wanting to be a part of the funeral arrangements. You are also left with the impression that the ex-wife is angered by the fact that her former husband may have left her for Marina.
With a story that could cast any actress in the role, director Sebastian Lelio took it one step further with the casting of Vega. Originally brought on as a consultant, Vega’s authenticity made her the perfect choice for the role. While drawing from Vega’s real-life experiences, it became more and more apparent how special she was. Lelio knew she was a star. From there, the rest is history.
The film itself is an amazing work from a director who has been building quite the resume. But what makes A Fantastic Woman truly special is that the story was not made to bring awareness or fight for the Transgender community, the film’s story is meant to just reel you in and have no need to even care that the main character is transgender. The film allows you to get lost in Vega’s Marina as a character just like any other film. Her screen presence is undeniable and with this film, a star has been born.
Where most films that involve the transgender community deal with the characters transition or concentrating on the what goes into being transgender, A Fantastic Woman just lets the viewer see a trans woman for who she is as a person without all of the usual associations that go with it.
Over the last decade, we have seen many cisgender actors play trans roles, such as Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl and Felicity Hoffman in Transamerica. But with more roles going to true trans actors like Laverne Cox and now Daniela Vega, we may be finally seeing a shift on how Hollywood cast roles in their films and television shows.
To continue with more history-making moments, Vega will be the first Transgender actress to be a presenter at the Oscars. Along with reports that A Fantastic Woman looks to be the current frontrunner to bring home the gold statue, I think we will be seeing a lot more of Daniela Vega in the future.
The Oscars are on March 4th