Alfonso Cuaron has rewritten the Oscar history books with a pair of victories on Sunday night. The “Roma” mastermind won Best Cinematography and Best Director, becoming the first person to win both categories.
Cuaron was already the first person to be nominated in both categories for a film he or she helmed. Only one other person has received bids in both categories, but they were for two different films: Jack Cardiff. The legendary British cinematographer had three cinematography nominations, winning once for “Black Narcissus” (1947), and later earned a directing nomination for “Sons and Lovers” (1960). But Cardiff, who received an Honorary Oscar in 2000, did not direct “Black Narcissus” and did not serve as DP on “Sons and Lovers.”
When his pal, three-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, was unavailable to lense “Roma,” Cuaron decided to shoot the black-and-white film himself. “Roma” is the first black-and-white film to win cinematography since “Schindler’s List” (1993), which was the first to triumph since the black-and-white and color categories were merged into one 51 years ago. Cuaron did lose the American Society of Cinematographers Award to another black-and-white film, “Cold War,” shot by Lukasz Zal, but that clearly did not impact his Oscar momentum since the entire academy votes for the winners.
Cuaron’s Best Director triumph was hardly surprising since he swept the season, including the Directors Guild Award, which has only mismatched with Oscar seven times in its 71-year history. With his previous victory for “Gravity” (2013), he is now the 18th person to win the category twice (Frank Capra and William Wyler have three; John Ford has four) and the second with a 2-for-2 record after Frank Borzage.
“Roma” also won Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday.