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Roma should win Best Picture

I have a deeply personal connection to Roma which I freely admit colors my opinion of the film, but hear me out. There’s a solid argument for Roma to take home the top prize at the Oscars this year. With over 150 critic award wins and 10 Oscar nominations, there’s a resounding consensus among film lovers that Roma is a masterpiece. The Oscars are not only an opportunity for the best films to be recognized from a technical standpoint, the show is also a platform for sharing stories you wouldn’t normally learn about. A semi-autobiographical story from Alfonso Cuáron, Roma is the truest vehicle for sharing underrepresented stories.

Whether or not you’re convinced by the hype, here are a few reasons the film warrants the number one spot on my own list, and the Best Picture win.

Roma stars an indigenous woman

Yalitza Aparicio’s rise to fame has been unconventional to say the least. After months scouring Mexico to find the right woman for the part, director Alfonso Cuáron, put out a casting call in a small town in Oaxaca, Mexico. The rural area so happened to be where Liboria was from, the woman who raised him and to whom Cuáron dedicated the film.

After just having finished her teaching degree, Aparicio showed up to the casting call because of her sister’s insistence. She didn’t have any aspirations to be an actress. She didn’t even know who Alfonso Cuáron was. After moving on to each round of auditions, it became clear to Cuáron that she was the perfect woman to play the part of the loving, dedicated domestic worker Cleo.

It’s significant that Aparicio is receiving so much attention for her portrayal of the films’s protagonist, and not just because her sudden stardom is a fascinating tale.

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Aparicio is Mixtec, which is the indigenous group native to the area she is from. Like many indigenous peoples, the Mixtec have suffered a disheartening amount of persecution at the hands of other ethnic groups in Mexico. The socioeconomic hardship, lack of education, and overall quality of life for her people is a reality that has been brought to the forefront, both in Cuáron’s handling of Cleo’s story, and in her own telling as she’s in the spotlight during awards season.

She has proudly shared in interviews that she hopes her experience starring in Roma will inspire the women in her community to believe that their dreams can come true. Without even trying she has become an inspiration for a people group who have a history of always being on the margins and never in the spotlight.

Roma is reminiscent of my childhood in Mexico City

As someone who grew up in Mexico City very near the neighborhood this film is set in, there is a level of nostalgia for me that rivals any other film I’ve watched. Besides that, I believe Cuáron beautifully captures the experience of living in bustling Mexico City. The film is set in the 1970s, so there are plenty of differences from my upbringing in the late 90s, but some things never change.

The sights and sounds of a city with such a rich cultural history are woven into every frame of this film. It’s easy to tell that every creative decision was made with love and a deep admiration for his subjects.

Roma is a beautiful portrait of a working-class woman

For the second year in a row, a best picture contender features a woman on the fringes of society. These “invisible women” have all of the strength of a superhero character and it’s about damn time they get a chance to shine.

Roma has the most beautiful cinematography and shots of 2018

Film critics received a hefty book with some beautiful shots from the film and the images are breathtaking. For the first time ever, Cuáron handled his own Cinematography and he’s already received quite a bit of attention for his new found talent. There’s not much more to say except, well, I’ll just show you…

You can stream Roma on Netflix or catch it in select theaters.

Hannah LorenceComment