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‘Roma’ Leads With Ten Oscar Nominations Including For First Time Actress Yalitza Aparicio

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The 91st Academy Awards announced their long list of nominations for films released in 2018 — and Latinos scored in a significant way. “Roma helped Netflix finally break into the Oscars for the first with 10 nominations, including Best Picture.

“Roma” tied with “The Favourite” for the most honors leading with ten Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture.

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“Thank you to the Academy for recognizing ‘Roma’ across these categories,” director Alfonso Cuarón said in a statement, according to CNN. “Human experience is one and the same, and it’s so gratifying that a black and white film about life in Mexico is being celebrated around the world. We are living a great moment in cinema where diversity is embraced by audiences. This kind of visibility pushes our industry forward and creates more opportunity for new voices and perspectives to emerge.”

Yalitza Aparicio, who had never acted before, received a nomination for Best Actress.

CREDIT: Instagram/@romacuaron

The 25-year-old, former student, working toward being a teacher, tweeted that she had to be woken up and informed the good news. She said that she’s “Extremely happy” and “was not expecting this news.”

Aparcio’s nomination is the only the second time a Mexican actress has received such an honor for Best Actress. In 2002, Salma Hayek scored a nomination for her role in “Frida.”

Aparicio is the first indigenous woman to be nominated for and Oscar for Best Actress.

Safe to say that her nomination is groundbreaking for an industry that has been plagued with diversity blindspots for decades.

Marina de Tavira received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

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Tavira, who played the role of Sofia, the mother. Tavira is a veteran stage and film actress in Mexico.

Alfonso Cuarón received a nomination for Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Screenplay.

CREDIT: Instagram/@romacuaron

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cuarón now has as many Oscar nominations for a single film as two other screen legends including Orson Welles and Warren Beatty. Cuarón is the competitor to beat as he has won most awards he has been nominated for this year as “Roma” continues to dominate the awards shows.

“Roma” is also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.

CREDIT: Instagram/@romacuaron

Early on during the film’s initial release, Cuarón supported the idea of alternatives for movies such as Netflix. He said releasing a movie like “Roma” would have been risky if it would have gone simply through the theaters.

“My question to you is, how many theaters 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 during a press conference at the Golden Globes. “I just hope the discussion between Netflix and platforms, in general, should be over. I think those guys, platforms and theatrical, should go together…They both together can elevate cinema, and more important, they can create diversity in cinema.”

The only other nomination for the Latino audience is in Best Animated Feature.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is nominated for Best Animated Feature. The story brings an Afro-Latino into the Spiderman universe and pushes him to the forefront as the main superhero.

Who are you rooting for in the 91st Academy Awards?


READ: 21 Reasons Why You Simply Must Watch Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’

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Alfonso Cuarón Was Forced To Confront His Own Family’s History Of Thier Maid While Making ‘Roma’

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Alfonso Cuarón Was Forced To Confront His Own Family’s History Of Thier Maid While Making ‘Roma’

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“Roma” is a classic in the hearts of millions of fans who saw themselves on screen. For Latinos, the movie represents a glimpse of our rich history, the divide of social classes, and a story that deserves to be told. For cinephiles, the film is a work of art directed by one of the best directors of all time. But the story and film are two separate things. It’s a multilayered entity that we are still uncovering today, the hallmark of a classic as it will evolve to stay relevant.

Director Alfonso Cuarón said he began working on “Roma” 12 years ago.

Instagram/@/romacuaron

In an interview with Daily Mail, Cuarón said that he wanted to make a movie about his maid/nanny more than a decade ago. He wasn’t sure how the project or film would take shape, but he knew that he wanted to tell the story of Libo Rodriguez and how she raised Cuarón and his siblings.

This is something Cuarón as always been transparent about in many interviews. The focus of the film, as he has admitted, was to bring out the story of his family and maid in an authentic and honest portrayal.

Four years ago, Cuarón said he asked Libo if he could interview for his project, which, at the time, he called “The Book Of Hours.”

Instagram/@/romacuaron

“The first part was going through her routine, and it was almost a forensic account,” he told the publication. “All the detail was there, like how she would sit on the bed and wake up one of my siblings. We were talking about the bubble I was aware of. The house and my neighborhood.”

Their conversation back then covered everything that she did for them from showing them love, to cleaning up after them, to having “the talk.”

“She was like my parent, and you don’t question your parents about such things,” he said.

Going through these conversations, Cuarón realized the privilege he had by having Libo in his life.

Instagram/@romacuaron

He said he felt immense guilt about their treatment toward her. The film ended up being a way to show his gratitude while also repairing what was broken.

“On the one hand, we’re saying: ‘We love you!” But go and wash the clothes, and bring me a smoothie.” He went on to say, “She had hardships in her life. Hunger when she was a child. And the cold. My experience of hunger then was ‘Oh, we’re late for lunch.'”

“The wound is part of who you are,” he said, “It’s like repairing a crack in a wall. Or, better, mending broken pottery. It’s about repairing yourself. And the end product is more beautiful than the original.”

Cuarón honest depiction of this relationship has stirred emotions within Mexico. The sudden rise in stardom for Yalitza Aparicio forced many in the country to reckon with the ideas around indigenous and non-white Mexicans.

READ: “Roma” Wins Three Oscars At The 2019 Academy Awards

The Black And Latino Boys Documented In ‘Whey They See Us’ Weren’t The Only Ones Who Had Their Lives Ruined

Entertainment

The Black And Latino Boys Documented In ‘Whey They See Us’ Weren’t The Only Ones Who Had Their Lives Ruined

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By now, Netflix has found a way to produce TV shows that deal with often uncomfortable topics. From the “Ted Bundy Tapes,” which examines the sex appeal of a horrible serial killer, to “1994,” which discusses thorny issues in recent Mexican political history, the streaming giant has revisited historical events that have been mired in controversy.

The latest show to set the Internet of fire is “When They See Us,” a dramatizes retelling of the story of five POC young men who were wrongly incarcerated after the rape of Trisha Meili, a white woman who was attacked in the North Woods of Manhattan’s Central Park on April 19, 1989. Following the crimes, the city was put on alert and the police department was pressured into finding a culprit. And, of course, as was sort of expected, they found the face of evil in five teenagers of color (four Blacks and one Latino): Raymond Santana, 14; Kevin Richardson, 15; Antron McCray, 15; Yusef Salaam, 15; and 16-year-old Korey Wise. These five teenagers were deprived of their innocence and sent to a juvenile correctional facility on charges of rape, assault and related crimes in 1990. Korey, who was then just 16, was sent to adult prison. Needless to say, their lives were forever changed.

But surprise, surprise, they were not guilty, just as they had stated all along. In 2002 the real assailant confessed and DNA testing verified his guilt. The convictions were vacated. However, these men and their families had to rebuild their lives. Netflix has now financed and distributed a four-episode series that explores the social and psychological impact that the events had in the country (the case garnered a lot of media attention, and white supremacists saw the Central Park murder as a validation of sus ideas pendejas). The cast is testament of the talent of independent cinema and of people of color working in Hollywood:  Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Michael K. Williams, Logan Marshall-Green, Joshua Jackson, Blair Underwood, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, and Kylie Bunbury give life to this story.

The series, which was launched on May 31, has gotten a lot of attention and has caused all the feelings with viewers. 

People have headed to Twitter to express their anger and disgust.

Credit: @muz_nash / Twitter

The story of the Central Park Five often seems like an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” One day you are a normal teenager minding your own business and the next you are being profiled at a police station and public figures want you dead.

The show is an indictment of a broken system.

Credit: @MrShahhh / Twitter

Rather than an isolated event, “When They See Us”is indicative of a judicial and prison system in which ethnic and racial minorities are disadvantaged. Just think about this, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in 2013 black males accounted for 37 percent of the total male prison population, white males 32 percent, and Hispanic males 22 percent. The figures of Black and Brown inmates just seem to be increasing.

What if the real assailant hadn’t come forward?

Credit: @Isiah_Barnes / Twitter

This Twitter user served us with a harsh truth: the only reason why the Central Park Five have been exonerated is the guilt that the real rapist and murderer felt. Can you imagine how many innocent men and women are wrongly imprisoned today?

“When They See Us”will make you cry and feel angry, and that is okay.

Credit: @ltz_Dasilva1 / Twitter

One of the great things about art is that by making us feel something, political action is often instigated. Many viewers have questioned the invulnerability of the system by watching this show. Let’s remember that this is a topic that Netflix has tackled before, particularly in the show “Orange is the New Black,” were Black, Brown and white identities are confronted in the prison industrial complex. 

Before we forget. Yes, Donald Trump, then a real estate magnate, did call for their execution.

Credit: 161007162257-trump-central-park-5-ad-super-tease.jpg. Digital image. CNN

The current POTUS paid an ad on New York’s most popular newspapers calling for the execution of the Central Park Five. This dramatically changed public perception of the young men, and their culpability was presumed. Trump spent $85,000 on these ads. Trump wrote: “At what point did we cross the line from the fine and noble pursuit of genuine civil liberties to the reckless an dangerously permissive atmosphere which allows criminals of every age to beat and rape a helpless woman and then laugh at her family’s anguish? I want to hate these murderers and I always will. I am not looking to psychoanalyze or understand them, I am looking to punish them.” Damn.

The show is spearheaded by Ava DuVernay, a powerful female voice in Hollywood.

Credit: ava / Instagram

The show is the brainchild of Ava DuVernay, who has made a name for herself as a talented filmmaker who can at the same time deal with thorny issues regarding African-American history and create compelling, commercially viable movies. She directed the Golden Globe-nominated “Selma”and the Oscar-nominated documentary “13th.”

DuVernay is a power player in the industry, so “When They See Us”could get traction.

Credit: ava / Instagram

Ava has done what many consider still kind of impossible in Hollywood: she has established a name for herself even if she is a Black woman. Besides Shonda Rhimes, there are not many Black women who have made their voice heard in a white and male-dominated industry. We need more people like Ava and more shows like “When They See Us.”

The original title was “Central Park Five.”

Credit: whentheyseeus / Instagram

We like the final title much better: it gives the show a bigger sense of universality. Also, Central Park Five centers on the trauma and not necessarily on the post-incarceration story of redemption. 

It is one of the highest ranked TV shows on Rotten Tomatoes.

Credit: whentheyseeus / Instagram

The acclaim has been universal: it has a 94 percent Fresh score on the aggregated review site Rotten Tomatoes. Critics have highlighted the impact that the prosecution and journalists had in how the teens were seen by the public. Hannah Giorgis from The Atlantic wrote: In rendering their journeys, DuVernay pays careful attention to the terrifying power of language, especially the animalistic rhetoric with which prosecutors and journalists referred to the teens.” Ouch: this is still true for much of American media. 

There is an Oprah special, “Oprah Winfrey Presents When They See Us Now,” with the original five protagonists.

Credit: whentheyseeus / Instagram

You can see a bit here, but the full interview was released on Netflix and the Oprah Winfrey Network on June 12. In this interview, Oprah looks at their lives and raises questions about the system that allowed this to happen. How many more Black and Brown youth are suffering from similar injustices today? 

They are still good friends, brothers forever.

Credit: santanaraymond / Instagram

We can’t stop shedding a tear when we see this photo. Five men who keep positive even if innocence was taken away from them unexpectedly. How to be optimistic afterlife has dealt you the worst possible hand? Todo un ejemplo de actitud, caballeros.

READ: Ava DuVernay’s ‘When They See Us’ Explores The True Story Of The Injustices Against Black And Brown Boys

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