Everything you need to know about Sweden's Oscar winner
AFP/The Local · 29 Feb 2016, 10:27
Published: 29 Feb 2016 07:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Feb 2016 10:27 GMT+01:00
- Swede Alicia Vikander wins Oscar for 'Danish Girl' role (29 Feb 16)
- See young Alicia Vikander's very first acting performance (25 Feb 16)
- Will Ferrell puts odd spin on Swedish Christmas (18 Dec 15)
1. She rose to fame from nowhere
Her international breakthrough came in 2012, when she co-starred in the British adaptation of historical epic 'Anna Karenina', and in the Danish costume drama 'A Royal Affair', nominated for a best language film Oscar.
But while the 27-year-old brunette was hardly a household name three years ago, last year she appeared in at least four major movies, including British sci-fi psychological thriller 'Ex Machina', where she starred as the humanoid robot Ava and for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe.
“It's been suddenly wonderful to be introduced in rooms to meet actors and filmmakers and people behind the cameras that I've looked up to my entire life,” she said.
Alicia Vikander back in 2011. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/SCANPIX
2. But here's how it all started
Born in Sweden's second city of Gothenburg in 1988, Vikander initially dreamed of becoming a ballerina, studying at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm before injuries cut her dance career short in her teens.
Her focus then turned to acting, and her on-screen career gained traction after appearances in Swedish short films and the popular television drama series 'Andra Avenyn' from 2008 to 2010.
Soon after she began looking for work in American and British films, sending audition tapes to casting directors. But neither Vikander nor her agent received a single response. She told W magazine: “I never even heard 'No, thank you', so I decided I had to get myself to London.”
3. She finds inspiration in her own movies
Vikander said she found parallels in her roles in 'Ex Machina' and 'The Danish Girl', with both the android Ava and Gerda pondering what it means to be a woman.
At a White House event for 'The Danish Girl', for which she became the first Swedish actor to win an Oscar since Ingrid Bergman in 1974, celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the media, several attendees said they were moved by her portrayal of Ava.
“Three trans women came up to me separately to tell me they had felt such a connection with Ava in 'Ex Machina', and her dream of finally coming to full female fruition,” Vikander recently told British newspaper The Guardian.
Vikander with 'The Danish Girl' director Tom Hooper and co-star Eddie Redmayne. Photo: Philip Davali/Polfoto/AP
4. She is outspoken on feminist issues
Growing up in Sweden, a country famous for its focus on gender equality, it is perhaps no surprise that Vikander takes a strong stance on women's issues. In 2015 she joined a number of fellow actors, both male and female, criticizing the Hollywood gender pay gap.
"It's all about information," she said. "It's all about bringing awareness, to educate people and the more you bring something into the limelight I think it makes, maybe not the biggest step, but small steps and you will continue to make change."
Vikander accepting her Oscar for best supporting actress. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
5. What's next for this Swedish star?
Vikander has scored a role in the upcoming 'Jason Bourne' sequel, which will see Matt Damon return to the big screen as the amnesiac super spy. “It's great,” her agent told The Local when news of her part in the action flick was first announced last year.
The Swede is currently dating German-Irish actor Michael Fassbender, but has consistently declined to speak about it in public, even going so far as to refusing to smooch for a kiss camera at the Bafta Awards earlier this month.
However, the shy pair seem to have learned from the awkward experience and, to the delight of the audience, shared a kiss before Vikander went on stage to accept her Academy Award on February 28th. They reportedly met while playing a married couple in upcoming drama 'The Light Between Oceans'.
Vikander and Fassbender at the Academy Awards 2016. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP