Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical film Roma maintained its award-winning momentum at Sunday’s 24th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards. Roma left with four wins out of its eight total nominations: the film won both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film prizes, while the Mexican filmmaker took home awards for Best Cinematography and Best Director. He’d previously won Best Picture and Best Director at the 2014 Critics’ Choice Awards for his film Gravity.
Cuarón accepted his awards on Sunday, then took the opportunity on stage to give a nod to his fellow countrymen. “This bunch of Mexicans are not as bad as sometimes they are portrayed,” he said, countering the race-baiting rhetoric of fear and hate that the Trump administration has been peddling since even before the President took office. The night before the Critics’ Choice Awards, Cuarón also had the chance to take jab at the President’s immigration policies, thanking the audience of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for helping him and his team to “break down walls.”
Representing the Real Mexico
Shot in black and white, the movie took place in the Roma Sur neighborhood of Mexico City where the director spent his youth. Nearly Cuarón’s entire team was made up of Mexican talent, and the film featured both Spanish and Mixtec languages. Mixtec is a language indigenous to Mexico, spoken by the Oaxaca-born lead actress Yalitza Aparicio. Aparicio was nominated for Best Actress for her role of Cleo at Sunday’s awards, but was beat out by a tie between two Hollywood heavyweights, Lady Gaga and Glenn Close. This was Aparicio’s first acting gig ever.
Her on-screen boyfriend Fermín, played by Jorge Antonio Guerrero, is another fresh new face in Hollywood. Guerrero had worked in television and theater prior to Roma, but never in film. He recently shared with the Los Angeles Times how working with a director like Cuarón had helped him through an artistically challenging moment in the film. “It was tough for me,” he revealed, referring to a scene where Fermín is especially cruel to his girlfriend Cleo, “but the communication with Alfonso was very powerful and created inside of me the exact expressions for the scene.”
No Win for Daniel Sawka’s First Feature Icebox
One HBO’s many nominees, Icebox, was up for Best Movie Made for TV. Though the film failed to take home a win, it was undoubtedly one of the most important movies on television last year, giving audiences the closest glimpse into what life is like for unaccompanied minors being held in migrant detention shelters.