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can caitlyn jenner help trans film 'tangerine' make oscar history?

The trans trailblazer will get behind Mya Taylor, the breakout star of Sean Baker’s critically acclaimed indie, as she vies for one of film’s highest honors.

by Emily Manning
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Dec 28 2015, 6:02pm

Since introducing herself to the world in June on the cover of Vanity Fair, Caitlyn Jenner has used her public platform to spotlight issues impacting the trans community. She's shared her personal journey on reality series I Am Cait, as well as other LGBTQ stories on her blog. And with awards season around the corner, Jenner is supporting the first Oscar campaign for a trans actress to bring home top honors. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jenner plans to host a screening of Sean Baker's independent smash Tangerine -- a dark comedy about two trans sex workers in LA's unofficial red light district -- for Academy members come January.

Though the film is fictional, Baker worked on its story in close collaboration with with his lead, Mya Taylor, a 24-year-old actress who -- like her character, Alexandra -- performed sex work in Hollywood to support herself after being kicked out of her Texas home at 18 for being trans. Shot entirely on iPhones, Tangerine follows Alexandra and her BFF Sin-Dee as they seek revenge on a cheating boyfriend in LA's unofficial red light district on Christmas Eve. Taylor has already nabbed a best breakthrough actress Gotham Award, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle's best supporting actress prize, and a nomination for best supporting actress at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Even with Jenner's support, Taylor and Tangerine face an uphill nomination battle -- especially in what are shaping up to be very tight races in both actress categories. Carol leads Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara have both been nominated for best actress Golden Globes, and Alicia Vikander's Danish Girl performance has been pipped as a serious contender.

But it's definitely not an impossible dream: "She's fabulous," Marcia Nasatir, an 89-year-old member of the Academy's executives branch, told THR of Taylor. "[Tangerine] was an illumination for me. I was introduced to a world that I had no idea about and it was just an amazing piece of film to see. I was very moved by it."

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Text Emily Manning
Image via Flickr Creative Commons