The talk this awards season has been the prospect that Academy Award winner Alfonso Cuarón would break an Oscar record, being a five-time Oscar-nominee for “Roma” from Netflix. Cuarón serves as not only the film’s director but including producer, writer, film editor (partnered with Adam Gough), and cinematographer. Not to mention, that he would also receive the Oscar if his film were to win Foreign Language Film, as Mexico’s official submission.
That isn’t the only thing that “Roma” has up its sleeve. As a co-producer on the film, Cuarón also shares credits with Nicolas Celis and Gabriela Rodriguez. The Academy Awards have a history of nominating women in Best Picture dating back to the very first in 1973, when “The Sting” won Best Picture from producer Julia Phillips (who shared the honor with Tony Bill and Michael Phillips). Since then, 101 more instances have occurred in Best Picture, many of them repeat honors including Kathleen Kennedy, Donna Gigliotti, and Dede Gardener. Of those 102 in total, do you know how many are Hispanic women? Zero.
Gabriela Rodriguez, who has served as an associate producer on Cuarón’s highly acclaimed “Children of Men,” would become the very first Hispanic woman nominated in Best Picture. It should be noted that Hispanic representation at the Academy has sorely lacked for its 90 years. Oscar-winner Alejandro González Iñárritu was the very first in 2006 when “Babel” netted several nominations including Best Picture. Cuarón would become the second in 2013 for “Gravity” before Iñárritu would return back-to-back in 2014 and 2015 for “Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” and “The Revenant.” The former which won Best Picture. And most recently, Guillermo del Toro ruled in 2017 when he won the Academy Award for Best Picture for “The Shape of Water.” No women have ever found their way into a lineup. It should be noted that 1985’s “Kiss of the Spider Woman” was the first Latin-American film to be nominated for Best Picture but producer David Weisman was the only credited nominee despite many associate producers from Latin-American backgrounds.
Rodriguez, who was in attendance at the 2018 Middleburg Film Festival where “Roma” screened was incredibly humbled by the prospect. “I’m just happy to be working with someone as brilliant as Alfonso” she shared in an intimate party following the screening.
“Roma” follows a maid during 1970s Mexico City, along with the middle-class family. Newcomer Yalitiza Aparicio is simply magnificent and has received widespread acclaim, along with her co-star Marina de Tavira. “Roma” is also the only film this year to make stops at every major fall festival including Telluride, TIFF, Toronto, NYFF, and the upcoming AFI.
“Roma” is distributed by Netflix and will hit the streaming platform on Dec. 14 following a limited theatrical release.