Another Oscar nominee is making history in 2018. According to Daily News, director Yance Ford became the first transgender director to ever be nominated for an Oscar. Ford is nominated in the Best Documentary category for his feature film Strong Island.
The Long Island native made Strong Island after his brother's tragic murder by a white mechanic in 1992. The film centers around Ford’s investigation into his brother’s death and the exploration of how his family’s lives are shaped by America’s long struggle with race. “My brother’s death picked up my life and put it down somewhere else,” Ford told Filmmaker Magazine in 2011. “I had an image of myself in my mind as a working artist, and when he died, all of that changed.”
Ford also won Best Documentary this award season at the IFP Gotham Awards.
The Oscars' Best Foreign Language nominee, A Fantastic Woman, is also making space for trans representation. The film follows a transgender woman whose mourns the loss of her boyfriend. She's played by Daniela Vega, who is Chile’s first openly transgender actress.
With this nomination, Ford is joining three previously known transgender nominees: Anohni for Best Original Song for Racing Extinction's "Manta Ray"; songwriter Angela Morley for Best Original Song Score or Adaptation Score for 1974's The Little Prince and 1976's The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella (she's the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Oscar); and visual effects artist Paige Warner's technical achievement award.
Mudbound’s director of photography Rachel Morrison also made history this week after becoming the first woman nominated for Best Cinematography. Read the full list of this year’s nominations here.