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Alfonso Cuaron wins Best Director Oscar for 'Roma'

Alfonso Cuaron wins Best Director Oscar for 'Roma'

(Eds: Updating with quotes) Los Angeles, Feb 25 (PTI) Filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron walked away with his career's second Oscar trophy for direction for his monochrome memory piece "Roma", furthering Mexican dominance at the Academy Awards.Cuaron succeeded last year's winner, fellow countryman Guillermo del Toro, in the category where he faced off with Yorgos Lanthimos ("The Favourite"), Spike Lee ("BlacKkKlansman"), Polish helmer Pawel Pawlikowski ("Cold War") and Adam McKay of "Vice". The director, who also won the Best Cinematography and Best Foreign film Oscar at the 91st awards ceremony, said the film was a tribute to domestic workers, who are often relegated in the background in cinema. "I want to thank the Academy for recognizing a film centred around an indigenous woman, one of the 70 million domestic workers in the world without work rights, a character that has historically been relegated in the background in cinema."As artists our job is to look where others don't. This responsibility becomes much more important in times when we are being encouraged to look away," he said in his acceptance speech, which he ended with several thank yous to his family and country.He also recognised his fellow countrymen -- del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who won two consecutive best director Oscars.The semi-biographical feature in Spanish language is the filmmakers most personal work while exploring sociopolitical, class and racial dynamics.Set in 1970s Mexicos Colonia Roma, the moving masterpiece revolves around the life of a middle-class family's maid, Cleo.School teacher-turned-actor Yalitza Aparicio stars as Cleo, whose character is modelled on Cuarons real-life nanny and maid Liboria Libo Rodriguez.For someone who has never stuck to a genre, Cuaron was sure he wanted the film to be based on Rodriguez and that it would be drawn from his memories.The 57-year-old filmmaker wanted to stay authentic to his roots so much so that he shot the movie opposite to 21 Tepeji Street in Colonia Roma - the original house of his family.The film flows like water, an element key to Roma as much as it has become inseparable from Cuaron's work - as noted by del Toro. It may be the second Oscar win for the director but his victory marks many firsts in Academy's history. He became the first person to receive four nominations in four different categories in the same year for the Netflix-produced film.Cuaron with "Roma" also charted Oscar history as the Mexican feature film became the first to ever win an Academy Award in best foreign language category. He also created a record as he became the first person to win a Cinematography Oscar for a film that he also directed.The director, who is credited with starting the Mexican renaissance in filmmaking by becoming the first from the country to win the Best Director Oscar for his space survival drama "Gravity", has a varied filmography with projects in both in his mother tongue Spanish and English languages. His most notable works include "Y Tu Mama Tambien", "Children of Men" and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban".Cuaron started his filmmaking career with short films before graduating to full-length features with sex comedy "Solo con Tu Pareja", which helped him get work in Hollywood.After "Solo con Tu Pareja", he directed "A Little Princess" and "Great Expectations", starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert De Niro.He returned to home with Y Tu Mama Tambien, about two sexually-obsessed teens who go on a life-changing road trip with an attractive older woman.Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, was not only a major box office draw but was equally well-received by the critics and in award circles, including seven Oscars.Its success made Cuaron one of the most in-demand filmmakers in Hollywood but defying expectations with "Roma" the director proved that he is at his best when telling stories from his homeland.Cuaron had won all the awards leading up to the Oscars, including the Golden Globe trophy for best director. PTI BK/RDS BKBK