Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman” wins foreign language film Oscar

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Rita Moreno poses with director Sebastian Lelio from Chile after he won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for "A Fantastic Woman". (REUTERS)
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Director Sebastian Lelio from Chile holds the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for "A Fantastic Woman". (REUTERS)
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Chilean director Sebastian Lelio (C) accepts the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for "A Fantastic Woman" during the 90th Annual Academy Awards show on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (AFP)
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Transgender lead actor Daniela Vega joins director Sebastian Lelio as he is honored for their film "A Fantastic Woman" at the Foreign Language Film nominees cocktail reception in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., in this March 2, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 05 March 2018
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Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman” wins foreign language film Oscar

LOS ANGELES: Landmark Chilean drama “A Fantastic Woman,” a stirring story of love and loss that centers on a transgender woman, won the best foreign language Oscar on Sunday.
A favorite to win, the film has been hailed as a milestone in representing transgender characters and for taking on the timely subject of transgender identity with compassion and sensitivity.
Clutching his gold statuette, director Sebastian Lelio called his transgender leading lady, Daniela Vega, his inspiration for the film.
A smiling Vega, in a magenta gown, stood behind Lelio on the stage, alongside the film’s producers.
The film follows Marina, a transgender waitress and nightclub singer, whose long-term and loving older boyfriend suddenly dies. They had shared a protective bubble of bliss and tenderness that is suddenly shattered and Marina’s world falls apart.
Marina spends most of the film numbed by grief and battling for the right to mourn as her lover’s family shuns and humiliates her and tries to block her from his funeral.
Vega plays the part with unshakable dignity and poise in the face of scorn, discrimination and hostility from her boyfriend’s family and police investigating his death.
Some had hoped Vega would become the first transgender actor nominated for an Oscar. Hollywood has come under increasing criticism for celebrating trans stories played by non-trans actors, while failing to cast transgender actors — Hilary Swank (“Boys Don’t Cry“), Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club“), Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl“) and Felicity Huffman (“Transamerica“) have all garnered Oscar nominations for trans roles, with Swank and Leto winning.
The Chilean film beat out Lebanon’s “The Insult,” Russia’s “Loveless,” Hungary’s “On Body and Soul,” and Sweden’s “The Square.”
The category was presented by Puerto Rican actress-singer Rita Moreno, who donned the same gown she wore 56 years ago when she won best supporting actress for “West Side Story” in 1962
Moreno received a standing ovation when she took the stage.
The 86-year-old Moreno quoted Frank Capra as saying there were three universal languages: “Music, mathematics and the one we honor tonight, the universal language of film,” Moreno said.
“Regardless of its country of origin or the dialect of its words, a great film conveys a story that speaks to the one condition we all share,” Moreno said. “The human condition.”


Boulder-sized sunfish washes ashore in Australia

Updated 21 March 2019
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Boulder-sized sunfish washes ashore in Australia

  • The enormous creature is distinct for both its size and peculiar shape
  • The fish can weigh up to 2.5 tons (2,200 kilograms)

SYDNEY: A boulder-sized fish of a kind known to “sink yachts” has washed up on an Australian beach.
The 1.8 meter (six feet) specimen — believed to be a Mola Mola, or ocean sunfish — came ashore near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia at the weekend.
The enormous creature is distinct for both its size and peculiar shape featuring a flattened body and fins.
The fish can weigh up to 2.5 tons (2,200 kilogrammes), according to National Geographic.
A photo circulating on social media showed two people on a beach standing over the giant specimen, which had died.
“The amount of news and media from all over the world wanting to report it has been on another level,” Linette Grzelak, who posted the image to Facebook, told AFP.
“Never expected this.”
South Australian Museum fish collection manager Ralph Foster said the fish was actually at the smaller end of the scale for the species.
It earned its name for basking in the sun near the ocean’s surface, but is also known to dive several hundred meters (feet) into the depths, he said.
“I’ve actually had a good look at it, we get three species here and this is actually the rarest one in South Australian waters,” Foster told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“They can get a lot bigger... it’s probably an average-sized one, they can get nearly twice as big as that,” he added.
Mola Mola have also been known to damage vessels, Foster added.
“We get a lot of them hit by boats and some of them are so large they actually sink yachts,” he said.
“We know very little about them, it’s only in the last few years that technology has allowed us to start learning about them.
“They are amazing things, they really are.”