Oscar Nominations: Mexico Reactions to 'Birdman'

For the second straight year, a Mexican director and cinematographer are vying for Hollywood's top honors

Mexican talent shined last year at the Oscars and just might repeat that success at the 87th Academy Awards on Feb. 22

The space thriller Gravity won seven Academy Awards last year, including best director for Alfonso Cuaron and cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki.

Now, fellow Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is making a run for the Oscar with his dramedy Birdman, nominated for best picture, director, original screenplay and cinematography. Birdman is up for a total of nine Academy Awards, and should Lubezki win best cinematography this time around, it would mark his second straight win in the category.

News of the Birdman noms prompted numerous reactions in Mexico, including a congratulatory tweet from President Enrique Pena Nieto.

"Three talented Mexicans awarded with Oscar nominations for their work on Birdman. All the best to Inarritu, Lubezki and (Birdman sound editor Martin) Hernandez," the president wrote.

Also sending a shout out was Mexican actress Adriana Barraza, who appeared in Inarritu's Oscar-nominated films Amores Perros and Babel. Barraza told the Mexican daily El Universal that Inarritu is long overdue for an Academy Award.

"There's not an actor who doesn't want to work with him right now," she said.

News network Milenio Noticias on Thursday called Birdman's nine nominations a well-deserved chance at redemption after Inarritu failed to win best director at the recent Golden Globes. The film did, however, walk away with Globes for best actor (Michael Keaton) and screenplay.

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Some people in Mexico, however, see the success of Mexican talent like Inarritu, Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro as individual achievements — not national ones. After Gravity racked up 10 Oscar nominations last year, Milenio columnist Carlos Puig called the  media hype in Mexico a form of "vulgar nationalism."

"I do not believe that Cuaron, Lubezki, Gonzalez Inarritu, Del Toro or (writer-director Guillermo) Arriaga represent national cinema any more than James Cameron represents Canadian cinema…" he said. "They do universal films and the color of their passport has little to do with their genius, success and awards. Film is not an Olympic sport."

Certainly one of the sweetest surprises for Mexico was the nomination of The Reaper (La Parka) in the documentary short category. Produced by Mexico City film school CCC, The Reaper centers on a slaughterhouse worker and his intimate relationship with death. It's the first Academy Award nomination for Nicaraguan transplant Gabriel Serra.

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