Alfonso Cuarón, who directed the Spanish-language drama, took the stage to accept the honor. This is the first time Mexico has won a foreign-language Oscar.
“I think the nominees tonight have proven we are part of the same ocean,” he said after noting he grew up watching foreign-language films like Citizen Kane, Jaws, Rashomon, The Godfather and Breathless. He also thanked his children, Tess and Olmo, who were his dates for the night.
Earlier in the night, Cuarón won Best Cinematography, which makes him the first person to win Best Cinematography for serving as director of photography on his own film. The 57-year-old director is best known for working with Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, who has won Best Cinematography three times for his work in Gravity, Birdman and The Revenant. Lubezki was Cuarón's first pick to serve as DP on Roma, but due to scheduling difficulties, he wasn't able to participate in the project, prompting Cuarón to do it himself.
Alfonso Cuarón just took home the win for Best Cinematography. He didn’t originally plan on shooting the film himself, but when his long-time DP Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, Children of Men) was unavailable, Cuarón stepped up. And step up he did. pic.twitter.com/96Zd1bi25b
Roma 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."