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So much has been made, over the course of the lengthy Oscar season, of the struggles – both internally and externally – that Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne) had to endure as she wrestled with her gender identity in Tom Hooper’s biographical drama, The Danish Girl. While this much is true, it was the effect that Lili's decisions had on her marriage to Gerda (Alicia Vikander) that made Hooper’s film transcendent. As the two actors prepare for Sunday’s Academy Awards, where they are both nominated in their respective categories for Hooper’s fine film, we have an exclusive clip from Universal Home Video featuring the cast and their director explaining why this classic story is relevant and important today. Give it a listen:
Based on the 2000 fictional novel of the same name, Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl introduces fey Copenhagen artist Einar Wegener (Redmayne, Oscar nominated for the role), who experiences emotional conflict because he realizes he identifies more clearly as a woman than as a man. As you can imagine, this creates enormous issues for Einar’s wife, Gerda (Vikander, also nominated), even though Gerda initially – and somewhat playfully – helps Einar come up with the identity of Lili Elbe. The Danish Girl examines the hardships that Lili endures, even if that means undergoing extremely experimental gender reassignment surgery… something that was unheard of at the time.
While the film didn’t make the overall cut for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, The Danish Girl is competing in four categories overall, including Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor. And I don’t think you will find very many who would argue with the selections of Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne as Oscar nominees in their categories. As is mentioned in the above, exclusive clip, the love story between Gerda and Lili is central to the drama on display in The Danish Girl, and it’s part of the reason why the protagonist's decision to live life as Lili is devastating to her loving and devoted wife.
Alicia Vikander had an incredible year in 2015. In addition to The Danish Girl, the actress played an A.I. in the brilliant Ex Machina, and dabbled in summer-tentpole action as a beautiful mechanic in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. If that was her coming out year, then an Oscar for The Danish Girl would be the icing on a delicious cake. Seeing as how she is viewed as the frontrunner in her category, I’m feeling good about her chances on Sunday night.
Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl is currently available for digital download. The DVD and Blu-ray will reach stores on March 1, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.