Transgender actress Daniela Vega stars in A Fantastic Woman and could very well make history at the Oscars by becoming the first transgender actress nominated for an acting role in the foreign language film should Sony Pictures Classics play their cards right.
Here’s the first US trailer for the film:
Vegas stars as Marina, a young waitress and aspiring singer. Her boyfriend, Orlando, falls ill and dies before reaching the hospital. Instead of being able to mourn him, Marina has to fight his family as they want nothing to do with her. Her role in the film could not have come at a better time when we’re fighting tooth and nail for transgender rights and for transgender representation on film and television.
The film just made it’s North American premiere over the weekend at the Telluride Film Festival and heads to Canada, where it screens for the press and industry at TIFF on Friday prior to public screenings next Tuesday and Wednesday.
It is one of two films directed by Sebastián Lelio to screen at TIFF this week with the other being Disobedience, the lesbian romance set in an Orthodox Jewish community of London and still awaiting a US distributor. A Fantastic Woman has already been announced as Chile’s official selection for the foreign language category at the Oscars. The film previously premiered in Berlin, where it took home the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay with for both Lelio and co-writer Gonzalo Maza.
The film’s cast is rather minimal as Vega leads a cast that includes Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco, Aline Kuppenheim, Nicolas Saavedra, Amparo Noguera, Nestor Cantillana, Antonia Zegers, and Sergio Hernandez.
Sony Pictures Classics will be distributing the film in the United States and no announcement has been made with regards to a release date. There’s no doubt that the studio will mount an Oscar campaign for the Chilean actress and you can bet that the film has been high on my radar since I first heard of it over the past few weeks–I’m one of the few transgender film critics so it just comes with the territory. I hope that Daniela Vega is one of the few actresses from a foreign film to cross over into the acting category with success. If she gets nominated, it would be huge for trans actors everywhere.
There have been very few films this year in which trans women were cast as trans women. For that, I’m forever grateful to see casting directors have actual trans people in those roles. There’s no reason why trans roles should keep going to cisgender men because all it does is just re-enforce a negative stereotype.
I don’t know as to when the studio will date this film on the schedule but I do hope that it plays in Chicago.
EDIT: A FANTASTIC WOMAN JUST WON BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM! READ WHAT I HAD TO SAY ON SHONDALAND WHEN IT WAS NOMINATED.