With Roma scooping up 10 Oscar nominations – in joint lead with The Favourite – Alfonso Cuarón has much to celebrate. Fresh from hearing the news, despite his own noms for directing, cinematography and screenplay, Cuarón said he was most excited about Yalitza Aparicio’s for lead actress.
“Of course, the Academy nomination that makes me the happiest is the nomination for Yalitza Aparicio,” he told Deadline. “There has never been an indigenous woman nominated for an Academy Award. This is a film that centers on a Mexican worker from an indigenous background and she’s the protagonist of this film, and I’m just very moved and very touched that’s been experienced around the world, and how the film has emotionally connected with audiences around the world.”
He also credited Aparicio and her Best Supporting-nominated co-star Marina de Tavira for their “humanity”, saying it “transcended the film.”
Given that the film that dives deep into the 1970s Mexico of Cuarón’s own childhood doesn’t fit a typical wide-release mold, Cuarón expressed his gratitude to Netflix for championing the project, and giving it the platform it may not have otherwise had.
Asked if he would work with Netflix again, Cuarón said, “I would work with Netflix in a second. They have delivered way more than what they promised. I am so pleased. I made a movie that on paper seems very unlikely and very difficult. It’s a drama, it’s not a genre film, it’s black-and-white, it’s in Spanish and Mixtec. When it was presented, the actors were not recognizable. It was like something that could have ended in just one theater in LA, and one theater in New York, and one theater in several cities around the world. Does Netflix have anything to do with this presence? Yes they have a lot to do with this presence.”
Cuarón said making this deeply personal film had been a process of letting go, from shooting to editing. “One third into the shoot, I realized what I was doing, and there was a very, very, very intense process that continued throughout the first part of the editing of the film. You just try to come to terms with it, and the moment that you release it, it becomes a film, it’s a film that doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to the audience. All you can do is make a cup, and audiences are going to pour in the cup their own experience. That’s what’s been very touching – to hear how the film has moved people from the standpoint of their own experience.”