Daniela Vega: Star of A Fantastic Woman makes Oscars history as first openly transgender presenter

'Thank you so much for this moment,' says Chilean actor

Maya Oppenheim
Monday 05 March 2018 18:31
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Daniela Vega makes Oscars hsitory as first openly transgender presenter

Daniela Vega made Oscar history she became the first openly transgender woman to present at the Academy Awards.

The actress took to the stage to introduce Sufjan Steven’s performance of “Mystery of Love” from Call Me By Your Name.

Vega who starred A Fantastic Woman, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, said: “Thank you so much for this moment.I want to invite you to open your hearts and your feelings to feel the reality, to feel love. Can you feel it?”

Directed by Sebastian Lelio, A Fantastic Woman beat Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Russian tragedy Loveless and Ruben Ostlund’s Swedish satire The Square to the award.

Leilo called Vega "the inspiration for this movie", as he accepted the accolade.

“This film was made by a lot of friends and artists," he said. "I share this with all of you tonight.”

Speaking to reporters backstage after his win, Lelio said: “I felt that, for me, it was very instinctive and strong decision knowing that I was not going to make this film without a transgender actress in main role.

"That was me, and that put [the] film in a different dimension because of everything that Daniela brought to the film. … That doesn’t mean someone like Daniela can’t interpret a cisgender role, you know what I mean?”

The film traces Marina, a transgender woman played by Vega, who is in a relationship with a man 30 years her senior called Orlando.

After Orlando dies of an aneurysm, Marina is treated with suspicion by his family. Both the film and Vega’s performance have received widespread critical acclaim.

She had appeared in just one film before A Fantastic Woman and spoke about her film’s role in the wider transgender community before the Oscars ceremony.

“The mission of the movie is to make sure our emotions are reconnected, because [we’re often] silenced. Art is key to unlocking those doors of [understanding]," she told Entertainment Weekly.

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