A trans woman may be about to make history at the Oscars.
28-year-old Daniela Vega has been receiving rave reviews for her central role in Chilean film A Fantastic Woman.
Vega’s character Marina has to deal with her partner’s death and his family’s subsequent transphobia, while simultaneously trying to find her identity without her beloved Orlando.
After it was screened at the Berlin Film Festival, Variety called Vega’s performance “a multi-layered, emotionally polymorphous feat of acting.”
The magazine said she deserved “so much more than political praise,” and it wasn’t the only publication to heap compliments on the actress.
Chile has already put the film forward as its Oscars submission, but it is Vega’s breakout performance that has captured the imagination.
Trans musicians Angela Morley and Anohni have been nominated for Oscars, but no trans person has ever received one in an acting category.
And Hollywood has been criticised in recent years for casting cisgender actors for trans parts.
Matt Bomer played a trans sex worker in Anything earlier this year, following in a line of cis male actors to play transgender women.
Eddie Redmayne, Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto and Andrew Garfield have all been criticised for taking transgender roles in the past, while trans actors and actresses struggle to break through.
Elle Fanning also sparked outrage by playing a trans male in 3 Generations.
And Vega is keeping her feet on the ground – for now.
“It’s too early to talk about that, to think about it. I have lots of festivals to attend, lots of dresses to wear,” she said with a grin, according to Associated Press.
“The Oscars are a little bit beyond the timeline I’m thinking about right now.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
But it is certainly a tantalising dream for the Chilean actress, who was handed her first role as a central character in A Fantastic Woman.
And she urged Hollywood and the Academy to look beyond the boundaries drawn up by society – to knock down walls, if you will.
“If we broaden our gaze, it will be more interesting, more beautiful,” she said.
“If we can make more diverse colors, people and stories, it will be interesting.
“Uniforms are for the military and the police, not for our thinking.”
The film, which will come out on November 17 in the US and March 2 in the UK, is eagerly anticipated.
Until then, Vega is simply enjoying this wonderful, surreal moment in time.
“It’s like living a dream,” she said.
“It’s like a film in a film.”
Watch the trailer for A Fantastic Woman here: