When Daniela Vega stepped on stage at the 90th Academy Awards to introduce one of a performance of one of the evening's Best Original Song nominees, she also made a bit of history in the process.
The actress, who stars in the Chilean film A Fantastic Woman, became the first openly trans performer to serve as a presenter during the ceremony. As she introduced Sufjan Stevens' emotional performance of his Call Me By Your Name soundtrack cut "Mystery of Love," she basked in the warm reception the audience at the Dolby Theatre offered her.
"Thank you. Thank you so much for this moment," she said. "I want to invite you to open your heart and your feelings to feel the reality. To feel love. Can you feel it?"
Vega had previously been on stage after her film was awarded the trophy for Best Foreign Language Film, marking the first time a Chilean film had taken home the honor. Director Sebastian Lelio accepted the award for his drama, which tells the story of a trans woman who faces bigotry and intolerance after her partner dies, thanking his star, without whom the film wouldn't have been made. (Before being cast as the lead—her first-ever role—she served as a consultant on the film.) "I want to thank the cast of the film...the inspiration for this movie, Daniela Vega," he said. "This film was made by a lot of friends and artists. I share this with all of you tonight."
Aside from A Fantastic Woman's win being a first for Chile, it also represents a watershed moment for transgender cinema.
Congrats to Vega, Lelio and everyone else involved in the history-making film!