Daniela Vega
“A Fantastic Woman” stars a transgender actress, Daniela Vega (shown). Couertesy photo

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.

The film, which was made in Chile, is about a transgender woman who falls under suspicion when her older lover dies. It stars a transgender actress, Daniela Vega.

“I hope this award, this film, and the awareness it has created, the amplifier that this means, helps to give more relevance to a matter that is urgent, because again, a transgender person is not a class B person. They are one of us,” Lelio said.

Lelio also said he believed his casting of Vega was crucial to the film’s success.

“It was a very instinctive and strong decision, the knowing that I was not going to make the film without a transgender actress in the main role,” he said. “That was me, and I think it put the film in a different dimension, because of everything that Daniela brought to the film, her presence, her history.”

He also said that her casting “brought something, a quality to the story that added a layer of complexity and beauty that I think, in this case, a cisgender actor would not have been capable of bringing.”

–City News Service

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