Three years ago, Swedish actress Alicia Vikander attended the Golden Globe Awards to support a Danish film she starred in called A Royal Affair, which had been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. “I was walking around inside there on tiptoes,” Vikander says. “It was beyond my wildest dreams. Just to get a peek behind the curtain was a memory for life. It was something I could tell my grandkids.”
But Vikander’s future grandchildren will be hearing a lot more than that. This morning, Vikander become one of the rare performers to be nominated for two Golden Globes in the same year. She’s competing in the Supporting Actress category for her role as Ava, a humanoid robot in the sci-fi sleeper hit Ex Machina. And she’s in the Lead Actress (Drama) lineup for The Danish Girl, in which she plays Gerda, the supportive wife of transgender pioneer Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne).
Vikander had just finished a press roundtable in Berlin when she heard the news. To say that she was stunned would be an understatement. On the phone, her voice is still trembling. “I heard the news that I’d been nominated and I freaked out,” she says. “And then a little while later I heard the news again and I couldn’t even freak out. I was too overwhelmed. I just didn’t know what to do. I just got off the phone with my parents. It’s crazy, really.”
The actress is most appreciative to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, hosts of the Golden Globes, for honoring two completely different genres of films. She’s already won the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for her performance in Ex Machina (directed by 28 Days Later screenwriter Alex Garland), but Vikander understands that small science-fiction films are not always the easiest sell. “When we got American distribution, that was a huge thing. I remember how we celebrated. I’m so proud for the film. We were at the British Independent Film Awards last week and Alex won for directing and writing. I was in the back waving my arms like crazy.”
For The Danish Girl, Vikander is grateful that a light is being shined on the struggle for trans acceptance and rights. “Lili was a pioneer of her times 100 years ago. But I’m so fortunate to have made this movie and realized that what Lili was going through, with Gerda at her side, is still the reality. To see that there’s been a cultural change, with all the wonderful work from Tangerine to Transparent and on social media with the acceptance of Caitlyn Jenner, I’m just so privileged to be a part of it.”
Vikander’s double nomination at the Golden Globes does pose a dilemma for Oscar voters. An actor cannot be nominated for an Academy Award twice in the same category, but Focus Features, distributor of The Danish Girl, is campaigning Vikander for Best Supporting Actress. That’s where the SAG Awards, who place actors in categories based on studio requests, recently nominated her for The Danish Girl. (Despite, it should be said, her considerable screen time and the importance of her role.) But all of this means absolutely nothing to her. “I’m not involved in that at all,” she says. “And I don’t think you can be. I mean, for me, I hope you hear it in my voice, I’m just overjoyed. I was in the car on the way to the airport and I was just thinking, ‘I can’t get my head around any of this yet.’”