"Thank you so much for this moment," said Daniela Vega at the stage of the 90th Academy Awards Ceremony. She hadn't won an award. In fact, she wasn't even nominated for an award Sunday night. The Chilean actress was presenting a performance by Sufjan Stevens, whose song "Mystery of Love" from the film "Call Me By Your Name" was nominated for Best Original Song. In some ways, her appearance as a presenter seemed more significant than an acceptance speech.
Vega, the star of the Oscar-winning film "A Fantastic Woman," made Oscar history on Sunday, becoming the first openly transgender person to present at the big ceremony.
She thanked the audience before introducing the performance, almost as if she was recognizing the magnitude of the moment. She continued, "I want to invite you to open your heart and your feelings to feel the reality, to feel love. Can you feel it?"
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The groundbreaking moment was one of a few amazing moments for Vega last night. "A Fantastic Woman" won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. In the movie, Vega plays a trans woman who is mourning the death of her partner. The film also highlights the struggles and indignations that trans people face, particularly in Latin America. Director Sebastián Lelio says, "It is a film that has managed to contribute to a necessary and urgent conversation." The film also draws attention to the fight for transgender rights in Latin America, where trans people and others in the LGBTQ spectrum are reclaiming their identities and demanding rights.