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Transgender actresses Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor make history with Indie Spirit Award nods

Performers getting award nominations for playing transgender characters is nothing new.

Hillary Swank won an Oscar for playing a trans male in Boys Don’t Cry while Felicity Huffman was nominated for playing one. In September, Jeffrey Tambor won an Emmy for his performance as a transgender woman on TV’s Transparent.

This year, Eddie Redmayne is a virtual shoo-in to get an Oscar nod for his performance as a pioneering transgender woman in The Danish Girl.

But what transgender actresses Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor accomplished earlier today is a breakthrough: both were nominated for Independent Spirit Awards for their portrayals of transgender women in Tangerine.

These nods give them a tremendous boost in possibly becoming the first transgender actresses to ever be nominated for Academy Awards. Previous to starring in the film, neither woman had major acting experience.

Variety reported last month that this marks the first time a movie distributor has ever backed an awards season push for transgender actresses in Hollywood history.

‘It seems that the TV Academy has embraced what’s happening in the trans movement with Transparent and Orange is the New Black. We feel that the film Academy is a little behind on that front, co-producer Mark Duplass told the trade paper.

Last year, Laverne Cox became the first transgender actress to earn an Emmy nomination for her role on Orange is the New Black.

In Tangerine, Rodriguez plays Sin-Dee who is just out of jail and searching for the pimp who broke her heart with a cisgender woman. Meanwhile, her is best friend Alexandra (Taylor) is getting ready for her stage show. These personal dramas are set against the backdrop of Christmas in Hollywood.



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