At the 90th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, the film A Fantastic Woman became the first-ever trans-storyline movie to win an Oscar. The film is also the first one featuring an openly trans actress in the lead role to secure the coveted award.
A Fantastic Woman won the “Best Foreign Language Film” award. The Chilean film was directed by Sebastián Lelio and featured transgender actress Daniela Vega in the lead role. It tells the story of a trans waitress and singer who is mourning the loss of her significant other while also enduring criticism from his family — criticism that seemingly stems from her status as a transgender woman.
Sunday’s victory also marks the first ever time that a Chilean film has won in the Best Foreign Language Film category. During his acceptance speech for the award, Director Sebastián Lelio noted his gratitude to the cast, saying, “I want to thank the cast of the film, especially the brilliant actor Francisco and the inspiration for this movie, Daniela Vega. This film was made by a lot of friends and artists. I share this with all of you tonight.”
In February, The Atlantic reported in a review of the film that Lelio, who co-wrote the script along with Gonzalo Maza, designed the plot of the film around Vega’s own experiences as a transgender woman. The film received high praise from critics, with David Sims of The Atlantic writing,