In recent years, the contenders in the supporting categories remain consistent from awards show to awards show, but Vikander was a late bloomer with her win at the SAGs back in January. Arguably, this race started back at the Cannes Film Festival, when Rooney Mara picked up a best actress award for her sublime turn as the apple of Cate Blanchett’s eye in the lesbian romance Carol. Then Kate Winslet took the supporting actress Golden Globe for her role as Steve Jobs’ feisty marketing wizard and confidante Joanna Hoffman in Steve Jobs. Then there was Rachel McAdams who gave a spot-on performance of Boston Globe reporter Sacha Pfeiffer and Jennifer Jason Leigh’s role as a gritty cowgirl in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. For both actresses, it was their first Oscar noms.
The Swedish-born Vikander made a big splash in 2015 here in the U.S., first with A24’s cult sci-fi thriller Ex Machina in which she played a crafty android, then as a spies’ moll in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and finally Danish Girl, in which she played the supportive but conflicted painter spouse Gerda Wegener to Eddie Redmayne’s Lili Elbe, who yearns to be a woman.
Backstage, Vikander spoke about how the LGBT community has impacted Hollywood. “I came to this film two years ago and it wasn’t an easy film to get made. It took 15 years. To the cultural change since I finished the film with Caitlyn Jenner coming out, Tangerine and Transparent. The Danish Girl has been so educational for me. I hope it can open a wider conversation.”
Next up for Vikander is Universal’s Jason Bourne on July 29 and DreamWork’s The Light Between Oceans on September 2.
“I never imagined I would do films in English as a foreign actress,” beamed Vikander in the press room.