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The filmmaker bested competitors including Adam McKay for Vice, Pawe? Pawlikowski for Cold War, Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite and Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman in the category.
It was Roma‘s third win on the night, as the pic also won for best cinematography and best foreign-language film. It is the second-ever directing Oscar for Cuaron, who previously won for 2014’s Gravity. His films have won one other Oscar, best achievement in film editing, for Gravity. Cuaron’s films had been nominated six times prior to his mentions for Roma.
The best director nod marked the fifth time in the past six years that a helmer of Mexican descent has won an Oscar, following Cuaron’s previous win for Gravity, Alejandro G. Inarritu’s wins for The Revenant and Birdman, and Guillermo del Toro’s win last year for The Shape of Water.
Cuaron thanked his actresses (“They are the film”), his producers, Netflix executives and others. “I want to thank the Academy for recognizing a film centered around an indigenous woman, one of the 70 million domestic workers around the world … historically relegated at the background of the cinema,” he said. Cuaron then thanked his family and Mexico in Spanish.
The 91st annual Academy Awards took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and were broadcast on ABC.
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