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Alfonso Cuaron holds the awards for Best Director - Motion Picture and Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language for 'Roma' in the press room during the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, USA, 06 January 2019. (Estados Unidos) EFE
Alfonso Cuaron holds the awards for Best Director - Motion Picture and Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language for 'Roma' in the press room during the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, USA,…

'Roma' success at the Golden Globes is a big win for more than just Netflix

Netflix’s newest foreign film by Alfonso Cuarón made a splash at this weekend’s Golden Globes, but put more than just its distributor on film’s biggest stage.

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When director Alfonso Cuarón was asked about the unconventional release of his newest film, “Roma”, he was quick to defend Netflix’s place in the world of independent film.

To him, the streaming platform provided his niché project the exposure and praise necessary to make it to film’s biggest stage.

“How many theatres did you think that a Mexican film in black and white, in Spanish and Mixteco, that is a drama without stars - how big did you think it would be as a conventional theatrical release?” Cuarón said, while holding his Golden Globe awards for “Best Director” and “Best Foreign Film” on Jan. 6.

Netflix acquired the rights to the film in April 2018 and it made its world premier at the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 30. It also premiered in various cities across Europe and North America before a Dec. 14 release on Netflix.

“Roma” is a semi-autobiographical film by Cuarón following Cleo, a maid for a middle-class family living in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma neighborhood during the early 1970s. The family is based on Cuarón’s own, including the character of Cleo, who is modeled on his family’s real-life maid during his childhood, Liboria “Libo” Rodriguez.

The actress who plays Cleo, Yalitza Aparicio, is also making waves across the film industry as one of its premier indigenous stars. Since the film’s release on Netflix, the first-time actor has landed on the cover of Vogue Mexico’s January 2019 issue and been called a fashion star to watch this award season.

Despite criticism of Cleo’s limited character development, many - especially from the indigenous community - applaud Aparicio’s inclusion among film’s brightest stars.

For Cuarón, the success of “Roma” at the Golden Globes means it could earn a nomination for “Best Picture” at the upcoming Academy Awards. Unlike the Golden Globes, the Oscars do not exclude non-English films from nomination for the award.

If “Roma” wins “Best Picture,” it would be the second year in a row that a Mexican director took home the award - following Guillermo Del Toro’s triumph last year with “The Shape of Water”. Del Toro also took home best director - something Cuarón may also be nominated for this year. If he wins that again (as he did in 2013 for “Gravity”), it would be the fifth time in the last six years that a Mexican director took home the award.

 

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