One of the most fascinating Oscar narratives to play out this season belongs to a curious film by indie stalwart Sean Baker titled Tangerine. Everything about it flips a big fat middle finger to convention: Baker cast Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, two non-professional transgender actresses, to star in the two lead roles. The film follows the pair over the course of a long Christmas Eve as they try to track down Sin-Dee Rella’s (Rodriguez) feckless boyfriend — word on the street is he shacked up with another woman while Sin-Dee was in the clink for a spell. And to top it all off, Baker shot this underground gem using an anamorphic lens hooked up to an iPhone. Tangerine is pretty much the anti-Oscar movie, and yet some are touting it as exactly the opposite of that opposite.

One of the most high-profile Tangerine supporters is Laverne Cox, transgender advocate and standout member of the Orange Is the New Black ensemble. A new interview with Taylor and Cox in Variety reveals that the Tangerine star held Ms. Cox to idol-status before getting the distinct privilege of meeting her on Tuesday night at a movie theater in midtown Manhattan, where Cox spoke to a room full of Oscar voters. Variety quotes her as giving a rousing soundbite: “I often imagine what it would be like for trans people all over this country and world if a trans woman is nominated for an Academy Award. You have a chance to make that happen.”

The Variety piece goes on to describe Taylor and Cox sharing a hug in the movie theater's green room and exchanging beauty and fashion tips. It’s a charming scene, but what it signifies is even more heartening; though the road to a nomination is long and hazardous, studio Magnolia has decided to throw their weight behind campaigns for the film and its starring actresses, and that is historic in and of itself. Celebrity endorsements bring some much-needed visibility to this outstanding film, and now that it’s been newly made available to stream of Netflix Instant, it could be a grassroots upset waiting to happen.


More From ScreenCrush