Cuarón won Best Director for his Spanish-language drama, Roma, at Sunday’s Academy Awards. The accolade marks the fifth time a Mexican director has won in that category over the past six years.
"I want to thank the Academy for recognizing a film centered around an indigenous woman," Cuarón began his speech. "A character that has historically been relegated in the backgrounds in cinema."
"As artists, our job is to look where others don't," he added. "This responsibility becomes much more important in times when we are being encouraged to look away. I want to thank Libo, my family, thank you, Mexico."
Cuarón previously won Best Director for 2013's Gravity, becoming the first Mexican and Latino to win in that category. Over the course of his illustrious career, Cuarón has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards.
Earlier in the night, Roma helped Mexico win its first-ever foreign-language Oscar. Cuarón also won Best Cinematography, which makes him the first person to win Best Cinematography for serving as DP on his own film.
ROMA is the first feature that Cuarón shot himself. It makes you think what you would do with your own life story, the one that plays in your mind all day — how you would frame it, light it, track it. He makes the craft look easy. It’s not. pic.twitter.com/Zkkx1zXjuK
Shot over the course of 108 days, Roma is a passion project for Cuarón. He’s been dreaming about bringing this story to life for over 15 years.
The film is set in 1970 and 1971 in Colonia Roma, a town in Mexico City, and it centers on Cleo, played by newcomer Yalitza Aparicio, a character based on Cuarón’s nanny, whose real name is Liboria "Libo" Rodriguez.
"The whole film is a long flashback of my childhood," Cuarón told ET last year. "It was a whole process. The film was based on memory. I was not only recreating moments but [we] were shooting them in the place where they took place and reproducing the spaces to the inch. And also cast people that look alike to the original people 40 years ago. So, it was kind of an odd experience reliving those moments."
"I'm really grateful to be a part of such a beautiful film," Marina de Tavira, who stars as Sofia, a character based on Cuaron’s mother, told ET’s Kevin Frazier at the Golden Globes. "Alfonso is a really loving director, he makes you give your best."
"I feel like he helped me learn how to trust in myself," Aparicio told ET. "He helped me understand that I can achieve so much more if I work hard and not conform. He helped me understand that it’s important to fight for your dreams."