LOS ANGELES – Becoming the first movie in Spanish to claim an Oscar for best picture or becoming Mexico’s first movie to take the award for best foreign language film were among 10 of the Oscars statuettes that Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” was in with a chance of taking home at this year’s Academy Awards.
“Roma” has already made headway in becoming the first Spanish language film to receive a best picture nomination for cinema’s most anticipated night of the year.
If the movie does pick up the top prize on Sunday evening, it will be the first best picture award for a digital platform, in this case, Netflix. It could also become the very first movie to win the Oscars for both best picture and best foreign language film.
The film, an ode to the matriarchy in which Cuaron grew up and love letter to his nanny, is one of this year’s favorites with 10 nominations, equaling “The Favourite” by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos.
Vying for the best picture statuette at Sunday’s awards would be “BlacKkKlansman,” “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Favourite,” “Green Book,” “Vice,” “Roma” and “A Star is Born.”
“Roma” is up for best picture, best director, actress in a leading role (Yalitza Aparicio), actress in a supporting role (Marina de Tavira), cinematography, directing, foreign language film, production design, sound editing and writing.
It is the 10th movie not in the English language to have been nominated for the top prize, forerunners including “Grand Illusion,” “Z,” “The Emigrants,” “Cries and Whispers,” “The Postman (Il Postino),” “Life Is Beautiful,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Letters from Iwo Jima” and “Amour.”
Aparicio was up against Glenn Close (“The Wife”), Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”), Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) and Lady Gaga (“A Star is Born”), who was also up for best song (“Shallow”), for the leading actress prize.
And Marina de Tavira was in the running alongside Amy Adams (“Vice”), Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz (both in “The Favourite”).
Cuaron, with his second best director nomination, would be up against Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”), Pawel Pawlikowski (“Cold War”) Adam McKay (“Vice”) and Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”).
If he does pick up the award, it would be the 5th Oscar to go to a Mexican director in six years, after he won for “Gravity” in 2014; Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu in 2015 and 2016 for “Birdman” and “The Revenant,” and Guillermo del Toro for “The Shape of Water” last year.
Lanthimos’s “The Favourite” delves into 18th century England at war with France, and the final years of the reign of a frail Anne of Great Britain and her relationships with two competing female cousins.
As with any edition of the Academy Awards, surprises on the night cannot be ruled out. In 2017, “La La Land,” the main favorite, went home with six Oscars, while the top prize best picture award was eventually snapped up by Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight,” although not before “La La Land” was mistakenly declared the winner of that category owing to a mix-up with the envelopes.
Jenkins was in the running again this year with “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
The 91st Academy Awards will be dished out on Sunday, Feb. 24, at a ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, Los Angeles.