Mexican directors are so hot right now. In fact, they’ve been hot for quite a while, basically dominating the Oscars for the past five years. Back in 2015, Alfonso Cuarón inaugurated the era of Mexicans winning the Academy Award for Best Director with Gravity. Then, in 2016, Alejandro González Iñárritu did it with Birdman, and then he did it again with The Revenant! (Damien Chazelle won for Lalaland in 2017, a year where none of the Mexican directors released any films.) Finally, last year, Guadalajara native Guillermo del Toro took the Oscar home for The Shape of Water. And now, for the 2019 Academy Awards, things are looking pretty good for Cuarón and his most recent masterpiece, Roma. Let’s go over some of Cuarón’s films that show why he’s a solid candidate this awards season.
Sólo con tu pareja (Only With Your Partner)
Cuarón’s debut film. A must in Mexican cinema, it’s a sex comedy where Tomás, a boyish and neurotic accidental ladies’ man is tricked into thinking he is HIV positive. Whaaaat? This film had a super low budget but is still a glimpse into what Cuarón was able to accomplish.
The Little Princess
The critically-acclaimed film that earned him his first Academy Award nominations, including one for the acclaimed Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. The movie is set in a New York boarding school during WWI, where Sara teaches her schoolmates (and us) the power of storytelling.
A modern screen adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, featuring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow. Granted, this one bombed, but it’s still proof of Cuarón’s versatility.
Y tu mamá también (And your mother too)
The movie that put Cuarón on the map. A story about two high school friends who take a roadtrip with an attractive woman they’ve recently met. Drama ensues. In this film, Cuarón goes back to basics. Not only does he literally go back to Mexico, but he and Lubezki make the kind of film they would’ve made before film school. Lots of natural lighting and handheld cameras.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Not your average Harry Potter film. In this movie, Harry and friends face the mystery of a serial killer on the loose. With Rowling’s book exploring betrayal, torture, and how life if full of injustices, Cuarón gives this third installment a dark turn with a much more macabre tone, including a choir singing verses from Shakespeare’s spookiest play: Macbeth. The song is about all the ingredients that go into a potion, by the way. Chilling!
Children of Men
Dystopia meets disaster movie meets Clive Owen meets Julianne-freaking-Moore (and Michael Caine as a washed-out hippie). This is a story about humans, in a not-so-distant future, going globally infertile, that is, facing a countdown to the moment where there will be one last person on Earth. A thrilling and complex story about humanity and hope.
The Academy Award-winning movie about George Clooney abandoning Sandra Bullock in space and her quest back to Earth. This is the movie that earned Cuarón his well-deserved Academy Award with visually groundbreaking images of outer space.
This is Cuarón most personal project to date, a film that follows Cleo, a live-in domestic worker for a middle-class family in Mexico City, in the neighborhood called La Roma, as she struggles to survive under a hostile social hierarchy and everyday classism and racism in Mexico.
If you don’t already know Cuarón, be sure to check out all of his movies.
If you want to know more about Cuarón, don’t miss out on these articles:
Cuaron’s Cast In Roma: A Breath Of Fresh Air In Hollywood’s Beauty Canon
An Intimate Look At Alfonso Cuarón’s Childhood Memories In “Roma”
5 Movies That Will Take You On The Road-Trip Of A Lifetime