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.”


Woman punches bear, gets help from dog to survive attack

Updated 15 December 2018
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Woman punches bear, gets help from dog to survive attack

  • The attack occurred in a rural area outside Muncy, Pennsylvania, roughly 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia
  • The attack began when she went outside with her dog around 6 p.m.

PENNSYLVANIA: A woman survived a mauling by a bear by repeatedly punching the animal and crawling into a bush as her Chihuahua-mix distracted the attacker.
Melinda LeBarron has broken bones, cuts and bruises and multiple bites after the attack outside her home in rural Pennsylvania on Wednesday evening, her son said. She remained hospitalized in critical condition Friday.
Her dog — fittingly named Bear — was also bitten several times and has a broken sternum and separated ribs.
“I’ll just put it this way — she’s very, very lucky to be alive,” said her son, Trent LeBarron, who described her as a tough person. “She was punching the bear and everything. Her right hand’s all swollen up from punching the bear.”
The attack began when she went outside with her dog around 6 p.m. When Bear the dog barked, Melinda LeBarron, a 51-year-old food prepper at a steakhouse restaurant, looked around to see what had startled the canine.
“The next thing she knew, she was on the ground getting slammed around,” said her son.
The black bear dragged Melinda about 80 yards (70 meters) through her yard, across a road, and into a thicket, while the dog tried to intervene, biting the black bear several times. Some of her clothes were ripped off in the process.
The attack left a trail of blood that relatives later followed.
“As she said in her own words, the bear wouldn’t show her no mercy at all,” Trent LeBarron said. “It wouldn’t stop.”
Eventually Melinda LeBarron went limp, and the bear took an interest in the dog, giving her a chance to climb into a small bush. She then threw a stick to distract the bear and finally made her way home to call a relative for help.
Bear the dog somehow got back into the home and was found whimpering beneath a bed.
“She’s stable now,” Trent LeBarron said. “She’s doing good, she’s actually doing very good. She has a long ways to go and a lot of lot of surgeries coming up.”
Before Melinda LeBarron was able to speak, she wrote on a pad to ask how her dog was doing.
“We asked her if Bear saved her life,” Trent LeBarron said. She nodded her head yes “so fast it was unreal.”
The attack occurred in a rural area outside Muncy, Pennsylvania, roughly 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia.
Wildlife officials told WNEP-TV they are trying to track the bear. Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau said his agency believes it is a sow with cubs and the attack occurred after the dog ran toward the bears.
Mike Levan, Melinda LeBarron’s neighbor and landlord, whose wife called 911, said a bear sow and four cubs were seen in the neighborhood all summer.