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Trace Lysette’s Monica Performance Was Breathtaking—And Absolutely Deserves An Oscar

As we firmly enter Moira Rose’s favorite season (Awards Season), one movie and performance are standing out, and we hope that it gets the Oscar attention it so rightfully deserves.

As we firmly enter Moira Rose’s favorite season (Awards Season), one movie and performance are standing out, and we hope that it gets the Oscar attention it so rightfully deserves.

Monica, directed by Italian filmmaker Andrea Pallaoro, gave Trace Lysette a role where she was able to fully stretch her acting muscles and show off her artistic prowess. Now, she deserves to be nominated for an Academy Award for it.

The movie, about a trans woman returning to her hometown to take care of the ailing mother who kicked her out for being trans 20 years ago is a quietly powerful piece full of resonating restraint and explosions of emotion from Lysette, who plays the title character of Monica.

The movie, and Lysette’s performance, come at the perfect time to hopefully mend some fences when the country is perhaps more divided on trans issues than it ever has been before. Lysette knew that she would have to carry a heavy load to nail this performance.

“It’s almost like they need to see it to believe it, because there’s this disconnect with our humanity,” Lysette said about cis viewers who should see the movie. “And I think the only way for the naysayers and for the people who don’t quite get us, is to see themselves in us. And I think that bonding with your mother on screen is something that everyone can identify with or want to identify with. And it says more than words can say. So those moments are deeply powerful.”

Lysette more than succeeds at showing the deeply human and loving relationship between a mother and daughter – she’s a triumph.

When the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year, it was the first film starring a trans actor to do so, and when it premiered in America, it won fans across the country and throughout Hollywood, including Sarah Paulson, Whoopi Goldberg, and Mae Martin. Now, IFC has officially kicked off its Oscar campaign for the movie.

Back in May, The Advocate asked Lysette about what a potential Oscar nom would mean.

“That would feel incredible, and I try not to dream too much about all of that,” she said. “I let myself dream a little bit, because I think part of manifestation is knowing that you’ve done the work and that maybe I should be definitely in the awards conversation. And I’m so grateful that that has already happened a little bit, but at the end of the day, I really just want to keep working.”

Alongside other highly praised performances this year by actors including Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon), Natalie Portman (May December), and Margo Robbie (Barbie), Lysette’s performance in Monica is absolutely deserving of an Oscar nomination.Monica is currently streaming on AMC+ and can be rented or bought from online retailers including Amazon, Vudu, Apple TV, Youtube, and Google Play. Check it out now, so that when Lysette becomes the first out trans woman nominated for an acting Oscar, you can say you were a fan before the big news!

Mey Rude, out.com (02/10/2023)