The 57-year-old Mexican filmmaker won the prizes for best director, cinematography and foreign language film, capping a brilliant awards season for him — and offering streaming giant Netflix a new feather in its cap.
Diversity, though, was perhaps the biggest winner on a night when a beloved black filmmaker won his first competitive Oscar, a superhero blockbuster set in Africa scored big, and two black actors and an Egyptian first-generation American won three of the four acting prizes.
The wide range of films honored at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre on Sunday bridged the divide between art house fare and popular blockbusters.
“I grew up watching foreign language films, learning so much from them, being inspired — films like ‘Citizen Kane,’ ‘Jaws.’ And there are no waves, there’s only the ocean,” an emotional Cuaron said.
“I think the nominees tonight have proven that we are part of the same ocean.”
Story ‘about loving each other’
“Roma” was the frontrunner going into the night with 10 nominations, despite spending little time in movie theaters, in keeping with Netflix’s customary release strategy.
But “Green Book” — the real-life story of a celebrated black pianist who befriends his white driver as they tour the segregated American South in the 1960s — overcame a series of controversies to win the top prize
“The whole story is about love. It’s about loving each other, despite our differences, and finding out the truth about who we are,” said director Peter Farrelly.
“Green Book” also won a widely expected best supporting actor trophy for Mahershala Ali, and a best original screenplay award.