It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” would take home the Oscar for “Best Cinematography,” “Best Foreign Language Film,” and “Best Director” at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday. It would make history as the first Mexican film to win “Best Foreign Language Film,” sweetening its list of accomplishments and further setting a precedent for the future of Hollywood cinema and its access to representation.
Inside the real-life neighborhood where Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” was inspired, and ultimately filmed, Mexico City’s municipality arranged for public and private screenings of the Academy Awards ceremony. By the end of the night, approximately more than 1,500 individuals would gather to celebrate the nation’s undeniable treasure of a film.
While attention spans continue to wither in modern entertainment, “Roma’s” long-form of storytelling holds a triumphant stance for foreign languages, color contrasts, and its absence of special effects. Furthermore, its application of Mexican history and culture pays homage while expanding the roots of film and universal storytelling, which resonates with individuals across classes, borders, genders and generations.
On Mexico City’s Tepeji Street on Sunday, the momentous day welcomed waves of hundreds of fans to take pictures in front of the house where “Roma” was filmed. Homeowner Gloria Silvia Monreal would come out in intervals to greet fans and sell “Roma” hats for 100 pesos. Special “Roma” city tours would also visit several locations where the Oscar-award winning story was filmed, eventually making their way to Plaza Rio de Janeiro.
Hosted by multiple personalities from local media outlets, the evening would consist of a red carpet event, where guests arrived in old-fashioned vehicles from the 70s, shared an on-going collection of banter with “Roma” facts and a few special guests who were involved in the movie’s production and casting.
Ultimately, fans of all ages and backgrounds would gather to celebrate the historic night in Roma’s Plaza Rio de Janeiro. When the film would miss out on taking home the top prize in certain categories, the atmosphere remained positive, with a sincere stream of support for other minority communities who well-deserved to hear their names called on stage as well.
With “Roma’s” breakout star Yalitza Aparicio Martinez becoming the first indigenous “Best Actress” nominee in the Academy’s history, for many individuals present–win or lose–the evening would be a celebration.
As Rami Malek became the first Arab-American to win “Best Actor,” Ruth E. Carter became the first black person to win “Best Costume Design,” and Peter Ramsey became the first black director to win “Best Animated Feature,” among other firsts, Alfonso Cuarón so eloquently addressed this “new wave” of talent in his “Best Foreign Language Film” acceptance speech.
“There are no waves, there is only the ocean,” said Cuarón. “And I think that the nominees tonight have proven that we are part of the same ocean.”
You can stream the Academy-award winning film “Roma” on Netflix, now.
Below, I have captured a few images from the thrilling experience in Mexico City on Oscars night, with an homage to the black and white film.
Photos by Cesar Alexander.