Alicia Vikander won the Oscar for best supporting actress Sunday night for her role in “The Danish Girl.”
The Swedish actress plays a painter whose artist-husband has one of the earliest recorded sex changes.
The award was a bit of an upset as Kate Winslet had won both the major pre-Oscar prizes, the Golden Globes and the British Academy Awards, in this category for her role in “Steve Jobs.”
Miss Vikander singled out the other major character in the film, Eddie redmayne, up for best actor for playing the titular “Danish girl.”
“And Eddie, there you are. Thank you for being the best acting partner” an actress could want, she said in a bubbly acceptance speech that avoided major controversy over such issues as transgenderism.
The other three nominees were Jennifer Jason Leigh as the scenery-chewing villainess under a death sentence in Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight”; Rooney Mara as the young shopgirl seduced by the titular character in “Carol”; and Rachel McAdams for her role in “Spotlight” as a member of the Boston Globe’s investigative team.
The nomination of Miss Vikander and Miss Mara raised some eyebrows, not over worthiness necessarily but over the category. Both women were nominated for Global Globes, but in the lead actress category. (Miss Vikander was also nominated in the supporting actress category, but for a different film — the science fiction / theology film “Ex Machina.”)
Critics noted that both roles seemed more like co-leads, but the studios campaigned for supporting-actress nominations, perhaps fearing that the Swedish-born Miss Vikander lacked star power and not wanting to pit Miss Mara against Cate Blanchett, an early front-runner for a nomination and a previous winner.