Yalitza Aparicio becomes first indigenous Mexican best actress Oscar nominee
Newcomer Yalitza Aparicio was nominated for her first Oscar on Tuesday morning for her performance as a domestic worker in Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma.” The 25-year-old aspiring preschool teacher was also nominated for a Critics Choice award for the role but had been overlooked by key Oscar precursors the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and BAFTAs.
“Roma,” produced by Participant Films and released by Netflix, has won more major awards this season than any other movie. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards on Tuesday morning: best picture, foreign language film, director, lead actress and supporting actress, original screenplay, sound mixing, sound editing, production design and cinematography.
With her nomination, Aparicio becomes the first indigenous woman from the Americas to be nominated for lead actress, and just the second Mexican actress to be recognized in that category. . Salma Hayek was the first for her role as the titular painter in 2002’s “Frida.” Keisha Castle-Hughes, who is of Maori descent, is the first indigenous woman to be nominated for best actress, for 2004’s “Whale Rider.”
Aparicio, who had to deliver some of her dialogue in Mixtec — a language she does not speak — is just the sixth Mexican to receive an acting nomination from the academy. Other Mexican actors to receive the distinction include Adriana Barraza (“Babel”), Anthony Quinn (who received four nominations over his career), Katy Jurado (“Broken Lance”) and Demián Bichir (“A Better Life”). Quinn is the only Mexican actor to take home the statuette. He won for 1952’s “Viva Zapata!” and again for 1956’s “Lust for Life,” both in the supporting actor category.
Actress Lupita Nyong’o, who is of Kenyan descent but was born in Mexico City and identifies as Kenyan Mexican, won supporting actress for her film debut in 2013’s “12 Years a Slave.” She recently co-starred in “Black Panther,” which competes with “Roma” for this year’s best picture.
This year’s Oscars will broadcast live from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre on Feb. 24.
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