Directed by Sebastián Lelio, the Chilean drama follows a trans waitress and singer, Marina Vidal (played by Daniela Vega), whose grief over the sudden death of her lover, Orlando (Francisco Reyes), is compounded by the scorn she experiences from his family.
“A Fantastic Woman” makes history as the first Oscar winner to feature a transgender storyline with an openly trans actor in the lead role. Although the movie originally featured a cisgender protagonist, Lelio updated the script after he began working with Vega, who had appeared in only one other film (2014′s “The Guest”) before taking on the role of Marina.
Vega appeared onstage alongside Lelio as he accepted the award. The director called the star, who is openly trans, an “inspiration” in his acceptance speech.
“This film was made by a lot of friends and artists,” he said. “I share this with all of you tonight.”
A number of LGBTQ rights advocates and allies praised the win on Twitter.
“A Fantastic Woman” is Chile’s first Oscar victory in the Best Foreign Film category.
Though Vega was not nominated for her performance, she also made Oscars history as the first openly trans performer to present during the ceremony.
The actress introduced Sufjan Stevens’ performance of “Mystery of Love” from the gay-themed romance “Call Me By Your Name.”