When Rita Moreno saw which movie won Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, she couldn’t help but let out a cheer. Nor could we, since the Oscar went to the heartbreaking and beautiful A Fantastic Woman.
As directed by Sebastián Lelio, the Chilean film A Fantastic Woman stars Daniela Vega as Marina, a trans woman whose lover, Orlando, passes abruptly. Suddenly, Marina is forced to deal with Orlando’s transphobic family and a suspicious detective investigating Orlando’s death. The result is a powerful film that so devastatingly captures the reality of Marina’s life and the forces that seek to stop her from being herself.
A Fantastic Woman was one of a handful of LGBTQ-related films nominated at the Oscars this year. The queer male narrative Call Me By Your Name is up for three awards, including Best Picture, while trans filmmaker Yance Ford’s documentary Strong Island was nominated for Best Documentary Feature. (It lost to Icarus.)
Vega herself stepped on stage alongside the rest of the Fantastic Woman team to accept the award, but also appeared as the Oscars’ first trans presenter.