Alicia Vikander appeared in a staggering six films this year that span a wide range of genres: sci-fi (“Ex Machina”), WWI drama (“Testament of Youth”), fantasy ("The Seventh Son"), spy thriller (“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”), comedy (“Burnt”) and biopic (“The Danish Girl”). It is that last film, by Oscar champ Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech"), for which she’s generating serious Oscar buzz.
The Swedish ingenue portrays Danish artist Gerda Wegener, the wife of transgender pioneer Einar Wenger (Eddie Redmayne), who underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1931 to become Lili Elbe. In a recent conversation with Gold Derby founder Tom O'Neil (watch below) she reveals, “I thought it was incredible when I read this story. Apart from it being such an intense and important subject matter, it wound up being an incredibly unique love story.”
As the events in the film are often seen through Gerda’s eyes, she is much more than the typical supportive wife often seen in such films. “What I love with Gerda as a role,” she explains, “and what attracted me to the role was that Lucinda (Coxon) in the script really decided to show as much of a transition that Gerda goes through in the film.”
Many might wonder why Gerda stayed with her husband during the transition but Vikander isn’t one of them. “I’m a big romantic,” she admits. “It’s all about love. Of course, I wanted to be true to all of the pain and struggle that she goes through.” Indeed, the actress readily admits she felt privileged to play such a woman. "in the end, I really looked up to Gerda for being so patient, and actually being able to overlook sometimes her own personal journey or how tough it is to just be able to support and back up the person she loves, knowing that’s the inevitable thing that has to happen for that person to truly be able to be themselves.”
As Vikander’s role straddles the line between lead and supporting, she’s included in our predictions center in both categories. In supporting, she’s ranked in 2nd place with odds of 10/3 to win behind Rooney Mara in “Carol” (11/5) while in lead, she sits in 14th place with odds of 100/1.
Photo: Focus Features