‘A Fantastic Woman’ wins foreign language film Oscar for Chile

Una Mujer Fantástica

SANTIAGO/LOS ANGELES – Chilean drama “A Fantastic Woman,” a stirring story of love and loss that centers on a transgender woman, has won the Oscar for best foreign language film.

“I can’t believe this happened,” said the film’s director, Sebastian Lelio, after accepting his golden statuette on Sunday.

Lelio said he hoped the film’s Academy Award recognition would help “contribute to a necessary and urgent conversation” about transgender rights in Chile and around the world.

A favorite to win, the film has been hailed as a milestone in representing transgender characters and for taking on the timely subject of transgender identity with compassion and sensitivity.

The story of a transgender (Daniela Vega), who after the sudden death of her partner, faces the prejudice of the deceased’s family, has become a success with several other awards in the Fenix and the Goya to Best Film.

The film, Una Mujer Fantástica, was produced by successful filmmaker Pablo Larrain (No, El Club, Neruda) and his brother Juan de Dios.

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The young transsexual Daniela Vega, 28, before known as lyric Singer, was chosen among presenters at the Oscar gala.

The Spanish-language feature, about a trans woman who faces bigotry and intolerance after her partner dies, has become a touchstone for an entire movement.

There is also no precedent in the 90 years of the golden statuettes, of a transsexual presenter as was the case of Vega.

The president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet and the president elect, Sebastian Piñera, sent messages congratulating Lelio (Gloria), the Larrain brothers and actors Daniela Vega and Francisco Reyes for the achievement.

A fantastic woman got ahead of The Insult (Lebanon); Loveless (Russia); The Square (Sweden, winner of the Gold Palm in Cannes); and On Body and Soul (Hungary, winner at Berlinale).