With the official nomination announcement just a couple short weeks away, Oscar season is in full swing, and everybody loves a surprise category spoiler. In 2015, female performers had a particularly strong showing at the movies, leading to an overstuffed slate of potential Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nominees. But actresses Kiki Kitana Rodriguez and Mya Taylor, the dark horses to end all dark horses, have recently taken on a champion of their cause who might just have the necessary public profile to push them over the top.
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.