By Alicia García de Francisco
The three Oscars achieved by "Roma", of Alfonso Cuarón, join the statuettes obtained so far by Mexican film professionals in the history of this awards that for the first time celebrated the talent of its neighbors in 1950 and that had in Anthony Quinn as its most award-winning representative.
The actor born in Chihuahua took two Oscars to best supporting actor, for "Viva Zapata!" in 1953 and by "Lust for Life" in 1957 and was the Mexican most recognized by Hollywood until the irruption of the "three friends", as are known Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro.
But Mexico's relationship with the Oscars had begun much earlier, specifically in 1950 when Emile Kuri, a Mexican decorator of Lebanese descent took the statuette for his work in the production direction of "The Heiress", which would follow a second in 1955 for "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea".
It was the fifties, enrolled in the golden age of Mexican cinema, although that did not translate into nominations of the country in the section of best film in foreign language. The first one would arrive in 1961 with "Macario", by Roberto Gavaldón. Neither this film nor other seven that represented Mexico in the Oscars -including "Amores perros" and "Biutiful", by Iñárritu, and "El laberinto del fauno" by Del Toro-won the award.
It has had to be the third friend, Cuarón, who finally, on the ninth attempt, has taken the Oscar for Mexico, as well as two others, to best director and best photography, the three direct tasks of the filmmaker.
Before, he had already achieved the best director and best editing (shared with Mark Sanger) for "Gravity" in 2014. A space adventure that marked the new golden age of Mexico, this time in Hollywood.
The next year Iñárritu would be the winner. His film "Birdman" won the Oscars for best film, direction, screenplay -the director himself with Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo- and cinematography, for Emmanuel Lubezki.
“El Chivo” Lubezki is one of the usual collaborators of Iñárritu and Cuarón and with the work in their films he has achieved three Oscars, another milestone for Mexican cinema. In 2014 for "Gravity", in 2015 for "Birdman" and in 2016 for "The Revenant".
This last film continued the reign of the Mexican directors, with Iñárritu picking up again the Oscar to best direction.
In 2017, the Mexican director remained blank in what refers to traditional categories, but that year Iñárritu picked up a special Oscar for his virtual reality project "Carne y Arena", a report about the situation of immigrants who illegally cross the border between Mexico and the United States.
A problem about which the three have pronounced when collecting their prizes.
"To those who come here (to the US), I hope they will be treated with the same dignity and respect as those who built this incredible nation of immigrants", Iñárritu said after receiving the direction Oscar for "Birdman" from Sean Penn, who when announcing his name, said smiling: "Who gave this bastard the residence card (green card)?".
Two years later, in 2018, would be Del Toro when he received his Oscar for "The Shape of Water" who would refer to immigrants, with Trump already in power.
"I am an immigrant, like Alfonso, like Alejandro, like my compadres and like many of you", said the one from Guadalajara on a night when his film was the winner with four Oscars: best film, best direction, best music and best production design.
And this year Cuarón, who thanked the Hollywood Academy for awarding a film like "Roma", about an indigenous woman and domestic worker without labor rights, a type of people that, according to the filmmaker, has been historically "relegated" in the movies.
Pero antes de esta época dorada, Del Toro estuvo a punto de triunfar con "El laberinto del fauno", en 2007. Estuvo nominado a mejor dirección, pero se tuvo que contentar con tres Óscar técnicos, dos de ellos para profesionales mexicanos: mejor fotografía para Guillermo Navarro, y dirección artística para Eugenio Caballero (compartido con la española Pilar Revuelta).
En otra categoría técnica en la que también ha habido Óscar para México es en la de mejor sonido, gracias a Gonzalo Gavira, que formó parte del equipo ganador en 1974 por su trabajo en "The Exorcist" -aunque no está incluido en el listado oficial de la Academia de Hollywood-. Y en 2003 la premiada fue la maquilladora Beatriz de Alba, por "Frida".
Como curiosidad, en 1972 se produjo un doblete, único en la historia de los Óscar. Manuel Arango se llevó dos estatuillas por el cortometraje "Centinelas del silencio", que ganó en mejor corto y mejor corto documental.
Y hay quien considera que el Óscar de Lupita Nyong'o, mejor actriz de reparto en 2014 por "12 Años de Esclavitud" pertenece a México, país en el que nació y de donde procede su nombre. Pero, aunque mantiene la doble nacionalidad, ha pasado casi toda su vida en Nigeria y Estados Unidos.