A little over four months ago, Alfonso Cuarón hit the Venice Film Festival with Roma, picking up the Golden Lion for Best Film. Tonight, he has (at least) two Golden Globes to go with it, recognized by the HFPA with awards for Best Director and Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language. In each case, he thanked his two leads—Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira—first of all. “I’m in awe of what they did in this film,” the director said. “I feel a little bit like cheating, accepting this award, because most of what I was doing was just to witness and enjoy [these actors], who just exist on the screen.”
Thanking Participant Media, as well as Netflix execs Ted Sarandos and Scott Stuber for bringing a “very unlikely film into mainstream awareness,” Cuarón then saluted his home country of Mexico, which introduced him to “the amazing colors that made me who I am.” “Gracias familia,” he said, “y gracias México.” Watch the speech above.
An intimate Netflix epic, Roma is a powerful black-and-white portrait of the director’s childhood, growing up in ’70s Mexico City, among women who lifted him up. In his speech, Cuarón touched on cinema’s ability to “tear down walls and build bridges to new cultures,” and that was as political as it got. Paying homage not only to his actors, but to his city and personal history, Cuarón may have built a bridge with his latest, though he can’t personally take credit for doing so. “Another part of me is telling me that this film was directed by Libo [Cuarón’s childhood nanny, represented in the film by Aparitizio), my mother and my family,” he admits.
Embraced by critics’ groups, domestic and international, Roma was also nominated tonight for Best Screenplay. The film has been a leading contender in the awards conversation since its international debut, expected in the Oscar categories of Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay and more. Winning Camerimage’s Bronze Frog, it received eight nominations at the Critics’ Choice Awards, as well as prizes from groups including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Circle.
In 2014, when Cuarón won his first Globe for Gravity, he went on to win the Oscar for Best Director, becoming the first Mexican helmer to do so. For the director, tonight’s results may cut a similar path forward. At the Globes, he beat out the likes of Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice) and Peter Farrelly (Green Book), esteemed directors who have also factored into this year’s list of top Oscar contenders. While much is still to come this season in its busy final passage, Cuarón is all but certain to factor into the Oscar conversation, come the morning of January 22, when the Academy’s 2019 nominations are announced.