90th Oscars: 'A Fantastic Woman,' 'The Shape of Water' and more LGBTQ-inclusive wins

Daniela Vega in A Fantastic Woman

History was made once again at the 90th Annual Academy Awards. From A Fantastic Woman's huge win, to out directors and producers winning for their work, LGBTQ people shined bright on Oscar night.

One of the most exciting wins of the night was for A Fantastic Woman, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Starring out transgender actress Daniela Vega, the film tells the story of a transgender woman who loses a loved one. The film speaks to her strength in the face of grief and discrimination. An Oscar win for a film starring a transgender woman portrayed by a transgender actress is a much-needed step toward more accurate representation in Hollywood. This is also the first Oscar win for a Chilean film.

Shape of Water Richard Jenkins Sally hawkinsThe coveted Best Picture Award was given to The Shape of Water, a magical romance which featured Richard Jenkins as Giles, a gay man who is the best friend of the film's protagonist who helps her at every turn. The film also took home Best Director for Guillermo del Toro, as well as Best Score and Production Design.

The award for Best Animated Feature went to Pixar’s Coco. Accepting the award were out producer Darla K. Anderson and out co-director Adrian Molina, the latter of which thanked “my family, my Latino community, to my husband Ryan.” Anderson’s speech also sent an inspiring message: “Coco is proof that art can change and connect the world and this can only be done when we have a place for everyone and anyone who feels like an ‘other’ to be heard. This is dedicated with enormous love to my gigantic, interwoven family and most especially, my wife, my rock Kori Rae.” Director Lee Unkrich spoke on the importance of representation, saying, "With Coco we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters."

James Ivory’s screenplay for Call Me by Your Name won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film is a moving coming-of-age romance between two men in Italy during the '80s. In his speech, the out writer and director spoke of the universality of first loves, “whether gay, straight or somewhere in between.” Ivory is the oldest male Oscar winner at 89. In another beautiful moment for Call Me by Your Name, Daniela Vega introduced Sufjan Stevens’ moving performance of the original song “Mystery of Love,” written and nominated for the film. Vega is the first out trans actress to present at the Oscars.

Other notable moments during the ceremony included a montage showing some of the film industry's progress towards more diversity, which included clips from A Fantastic Woman, as well as out trans director Yance Ford talking about his own experience with making history as the first out transgender director every nominated for an Academy Award. A performance of “Stand Up For Something” by Common and Andra Day from the movie Marshall included a number of social activists on stage, including transgender writer Janet Mock.

Lastly, the “In Memoriam” section featured Academy Award-winning documentarian Debra Chasnoff whose work redefined gay families and broke new ground for LGBTQ acceptance.