With 10 Academy Award bids, “Roma” is tied with “The Favourite” as the most nominated film, and after recent victories at the BAFTA, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and Directors Guild Awards it’s currently the Best Picture front-runner. Written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, this Netflix release tells the story of a middle-class family and their housekeeper (Yalitza Aparicio) in 1970s Mexico City. Gold Derby spoke with Aparicio, her co-star Marina de Tavira, producer Gabriela Rodriguez, production designer Eugenio Caballero, set decorator Barbara Enriquez, sound editor and mixer Skip Lievsay, sound mixers Jose Antonio Garcia and Craig Henighan, and sound editor Sergio Diaz about their Oscar-nominated work.
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Aparicio is nominated for her acting debut, but before getting the role of Cleo she admits she “never thought of acting” as a career. This experience was especially unique considering she never saw a finished script. “In the beginning I thought this was normal,” she explains. “But it actually ended up helping, not having a script and shooting in chronological order, because I naturally learned about my character.”
Aparicio’s character was inspired by Cuaron’s own caregiver when he was growing up, and de Tavira has perhaps an even more daunting role playing a version of the filmmaker’s mother. But “I really wasn’t thinking that it was his mother,” de Tavira reveals, “because that wouldn’t help at all. I immediately felt that I could relate to the character because of my own memories, because of who I was, because of what I had been through in my life as a daughter and then as a woman and as a mother.”
Rodriguez made Oscar history as the first Latina ever nominated for producing a Best Picture contender. It was an especially significant accomplishment given this was the first feature she had ever produced. Having previously worked as Cuaron’s assistant and run his production company, Esperanto, she had “insight into how he works, not only as a director, but also personally.” This made it possible for her to give him “the tools” he needed to fulfill his vision.
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Caballero previously won the Best Production Design Oscar for “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006), directed by Cuaron’s filmmaking pal, Guillermo del Toro. This season he and set decorator Enriquez have also contended at the BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and Art Directors Guild Awards for “Roma.”
Lievsay is up for both Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. He previously won an Oscar for mixing Cuaron’s “Gravity” (2013), and that same year he was also nominated in that category for the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Two other Coen films — “No Country for Old Men” (2007) and “True Grit” (2010) — both brought him double bids for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing as well.
Garcia previously competed for Best Sound Mixing for “Argo” (2012), while mixer Henighan and editor Diaz are first-time nominees in their respective categories. Diaz and Lievsay recently won the Motion Picture Sound Editors’ Golden Reel Award in their Foreign Film category, a prize Diaz previously received for “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006).
SEE Secret Oscar Voter #4: Ballot exposed with ‘Roma’ for Best Picture and actors Bradley Cooper, Mahershala Ali
Click on any name below to be taken to their full interview:
Yalitza Aparicio, who plays Cleo
Marina de Tavira, who plays Sra. Sofia
Gabriela Rodriguez, producer
Eugenio Caballero, production designer
Barbara Enriquez, set decorator
Skip Lievsay, sound editor and sound mixer
Sergio Diaz, sound editor
Jose Antonio Garcia and Craig Henighan, sound mixers
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