Chile's A Fantastic Woman wins foreign language film Oscar

Everything You Need to Know About the Oscar Nominees for Best Foreign Language Film

Director Sebastian Lelio said backstage at the Dolby Theatre Sunday evening he hopes his Oscar for best foreign-language film for "A Fantastic Woman" helps raise awareness of transgender issues.

Lelio's drama, which stars trans actress Daniela Vega in a breakthrough role, is now the first-ever Chilean film to win an Oscar.

"Thank you so much for this moment", Vega said before introducing Stevens.

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The 86-year-old Moreno quoted Frank Capra as saying there were three universal languages: "Music, mathematics and the one we honor tonight, the universal language of film", Moreno said. And that wasn't the only highlight of Vega's Oscars debut.

Vega stars in "A Fantastic Woman", which tells the story of a transgender singer facing discrimination. Lelio deploys hints of the fantastical to add bittersweet fillips to Marina's struggle; the moment in which her stroll down a Santiago street becomes a battle against an impossible wind made me cry, it's such a attractive evocation of the effort she is forced to put into the most ordinary moments of her day.

The role of the protagonist was played by trans actor Daniela Vega, making it a rare film as generally non-transgender actors play the role of transgenders in films. Daniela has been facing hardships and overcome adversity throughout her life, especially when she attended an all-boys school at a young age. The woman of the title, Marina, is indeed fantastic - a woman entirely uninterested in notions of tragedy and victimhood defining her experience - and yet the "fantastic" of the title can also be thought to refer to something remote from reality - a "fantasy", something worth dreaming of but too often just out of reach. "I see the world is trying to change fast, but in some areas, that change is being blocked". By the end of the film, Marina gets a chance to say goodbye to Orlando, and has found the strength to fight back against the people who attacked her.

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