By Cady Lang
March 5, 2018

Daniela Vega, the actor who starred in the Oscar-winning Chilean film A Fantastic Woman, made history on the Oscars stage this year when she presented at the 90th annual Academy Awards, the first openly transgender individual to do so in the history of the ceremony.

While Vega was the presenter for a musical act by Sufjan Stevens, who took to the stage to perform his Oscar nominated original song “Mystery of Love” from the film Call Me By Your Name, her introduction of Stevens was momentous in and of itself, something that she seemingly acknowledged in her speech.

“Thank you so much for this moment,” Vega said. “I want to invite you to open your hearts and your feelings to feel the reality, to feel love. Can you feel it?”

Besides being the first openly transgender person to present on the Oscars stage, A Fantastic Woman was the first film to win an Oscar for a feature (in this case, Best Foreign Film, which was also Chile’s first win in the category) with a transgender storyline with an openly transgender actor playing the lead. Director Sebastián Lelio took care to thank Vega after the film won its Oscar.

“I want to thank the cast of the film,” Lelio said. “Especially the brilliant actor Francisco Reyes and the inspiration for this movie, Daniela Vega.”

Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com.

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