Could Roma make history at the 2019 Oscars? There’s a good chance.
The Alfonso Cuarón-directed drama became one of just nine foreign-language films to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture in Oscars history, after nominees were announced for the 91st annual awards show on Tuesday.
French director Jean Renoir’s La Grand Illusion was the first foreign-language film to be nominated for Best Picture in 1939. Another foreign-language film wasn’t nominated for the category for decades after that, until the Algerian-French production, Z, in 1969. Among the next double nominees were The Emigrants in 1972, Life is Beautiful in 1999, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000 and Amour in 2012.
No foreign-language films have been awarded with the Oscar’s Best Picture prize, however, it looks as if Cuarón’s Roma — the first Mexican film to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Picture — might just have a chance. The film took home Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards earlier this month; it was ineligible for Best Picture at the awards show (nominees for the category must be English-language films). Roma did take home Best Picture at the Critics’ Choice Awards the next week — as well as Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director for Cuarón.
Roma, which was shot in black-and-white, is set in 1971, during an emotional time in Cuarón’s childhood. The Spanish-language film, which was shot in Mexico City with an almost entirely Mexican crew, was inspired by the nanny Cuarón had as a kid. The movie’s leading actress, Yalitza Aparicio, had no prior acting experience, yet her impressive performance is the heart of the emotional film. Aparicio is the first Latina to get a Best Actress Oscars nomination in 14 years.
At Roma‘s Los Angeles premiere last month, Cuarón told ET that his own family was a critical part of bringing the story to life.
“[My family has] been very supportive. All of them shared with me memories while I was in the process of doing it,” he explained. “They also shared personal objects that they kept from that time, [which were included in the film].”
“The whole film is a long flashback of my childhood,” Cuarón continued. “It was a whole process. The film was based on memory. I was not only recreating moments but [we] were shooting them in the place where they took place and reproducing the spaces to the inch. And also cast people that look alike to the original people 40 years ago. So, it was kind of an odd experience reliving those moments.”