‘Roma’— More than just a Netflix Film
Not only is Netflix doing something that it has never done before, but it’s doing something that major motion picture studios could have never imagined. Producing award winning movies.
Netflix’s latest original film, ‘Roma,’ was nominated for 10 Oscars on January 22nd. A theatrical release - sometimes up to 90 days spent in theaters - is required for movies to be considered for most awards. During this theatrical release, the film cannot be streamed. Netflix released ‘Roma’ in theaters on November 21st, and it became available to stream on December 14th, 2018.
It took no time for ‘Roma’ to win people over. The film brought home two out of the three Golden Globe Awards and four out of eight Critics’ Choice Awards that it was nominated for. It won the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Language film and its director, Alfonso Cuarón, took home the Golden Globe for Best Director, where Bradley Cooper was anticipated to win for his directorial debut with ‘A Star is Born.’ It won the Critics’ Choice for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Foreign Language Film.
Alongside scoring two Golden Globes and eight Critics’ Choice Awards, ’Roma’ has been causing a buzz in Hollywood for its authentic cast. Yalitza Aparicio is the first indigenous woman nominated for an Oscar in the history of the Academy, and just appeared on the cover of Vogue Mexico. While her first role ever has skyrocketed her into fame, it has also shined a light on the underrepresentation of Mexican actors in Hollywood.
As a young Mexican woman, I was elated to see someone who looks like women from my culture on the cover of Vogue. Growing up, the only major Latina actors or actresses in Hollywood I saw on TV and on magazines were fair skinned and not ethnic looking. People who are accustomed to seeing people who like them on magazines and TV don’t realize that’s what they always see. For me, it is earth shattering to finally have someone who looks like Aparicio on the cover of Vogue.
For almost all the actors, this film provided them their first role in a film. Alfonso Cuarón shared a story that could take place in the 1970s as well as today and used real people to tell it. The story starts with Cleo, played by Aparicio, and later introduces the family she is a housemaid for. Telling two stories simultaneously— the life of Cleo and life of the family— the viewer learns how different lives going on in one household was typical for middle class families in Mexico City during the 1970s. From casting to costumes, the authenticity of the story being told remained constant throughout the film. Cuarón truly made a film worthy of 10 Oscar nominations.
Their strategic three-week run made all of this possible. If they didn’t strategize how they would release the film, they would not have been eligible to receive nominations.
The Oscar nominations for ‘Roma’ are: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design and Best Sound Editing.
The nominations were announced January 22nd and the Academy Awards take place on February 24th 2019.