Roma is one of the 2019 Academy Awards most nominated films, and has received critical acclaim for its portrayal of Mexico City's Roma neighbourhood in the 1970s. Even more unusual, the film is available on Netflix, making it the streaming site's first ever film to be nominated for the prestigious accolade. Before the Oscars premieres on Sunday evening, find out everything you need to know about one of the hottest movies from 2019's award season…
What is Roma about?
Roma is a semi-autobiographical story based on the life of the film's director, Alfonso Cuarón. Set in the early 1970s, it follows Cleo, an indigenous live-in maid in a rich but troubled household in Roma. The character was loosely based on Alfonso's own nanny, Libo Rodriguez, who he has said was a huge part of his childhood. Speaking to Variety, he explained: "There is a charge of affection that taints everything. You have a very utilitarian relationship with your loved ones. You're afraid to stop and see their weaknesses. But it started to be clear she had another life."
Speaking through a translator, Libo said: "[Alfonso] was getting all this information without me knowing what it was for. 'How do you remember this, Libo?' he said. 'Help me remember and understand.' Then it started to become weird. 'Libo, what did you used to wear? How did you dress?' Things like that. I never imagined everything I'm living right now, that a film would be based on me."
Who is behind Roma?
Alfonso Cuarón is a director, screenwriter and producer, and has directed films including A Little Princess, Children of Men and the 2013 Oscar-nominated Gravity, for which Alfonso won for Best Director. He is also perhaps best known for directing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which is the second highest rated Harry Potter film on Rotten Tomatoes, with 90% approval rating. The director has been nominated for ten Academy Awards throughout his career, including Best Film Editing for Children of Men. He has so far won four BAFTA awards and two Golden Globe awards for Roma.
Who is in the cast of Roma?
The breakout star of Roma is Yalitza Aparicio, who made her debut in the film, having never starred in a film and TV show before. The 25-year-old actress has been nominated for an Academy Award for the role, and Alfonso opened up about casting her, telling The Guardian: "I couldn't the right person. Sometimes, I'd meet women who looked like Libo, but they wouldn't feel like her. Or sometimes I'd meet people who felt like Libo, but they didn't look like her. I was so lucky when I met. It was such an immediate impression. With Yalitza, there was this amazing sense of familiarity; this mix of intelligence and warmth. Then I was anxious because Yalitza said she was not interested, so there were another couple of weeks of sweating until she said yes." Mexican star Marina de Tavira also earned worldwide fame for her role as Sofia, and Fernando Grediaga plays Antonio, Sofia's husband.
Where can I watch Roma?
Unlike most Oscar nominations that are currently or were shown in the cinema, Roma was released on Netflix, and so can be watched from the comfort of your home! The drama is Netflix's first ever film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.