The past two weeks have been some of the most hectic of the award-season calendar, but no one has been busier than Alfonso Cuarón.
The 57-year-old Mexican director was a big winner at the Golden Globes on Jan. 6, when his black-and-white film “Roma,” which chronicles a young domestic worker and the Mexico City family she works for, picked up prizes for best director and best foreign-language film.
The next day, Cuarón flew across the country to attend the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, where he was honored for directing and cinematography and where “Roma” took best film, before heading back to the West Coast for more awards presented by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, including cinematography and best picture wins.
And then, after squeezing in some last-minute events during the final days of voting for the Oscar nominations — including a Chateau Marmont party held by Charlize Theron and Diego Luna — Cuarón was spirited to the Critics’ Choice Awards in Santa Monica on Sunday night. There, “Roma” picked up four more prizes: best foreign film, cinematography, director and the final award for best picture.
No other movie has won more trophies this past week, or critical laurels over the entire season. But can “Roma” make history next month by winning the best picture Oscar, or is there still a ceiling on how high this Netflix-distributed art film can go?
First, let’s talk about all the things “Roma” has in its favor. Foremost among them is passion, and “Roma” fans are positively evangelical.
I’ve spoken to industry voters who prefer films like “A Star Is Born,” “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but many of them are almost bashful when divulging their ultimate pick. Not so “Roma” voters, who will shout their ardor from the rooftops. They feel an intense connection to Cuarón’s film, and though “Roma” begins quietly, the film builds to some emotionally harrowing sequences that these audiences haven’t been able to shake.
Cuarón is no stranger to an award-season campaign — he won the best director Oscar for his last film, “Gravity” — and among this year’s aspirants, he is one of the warmest and most accessible auteurs. I sat at the “Roma” table at the Critics’ Choice Awards, and no commercial break went by without a procession of well-wishers making their way to Cuarón and his leading ladies, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, to pay respects, which the director received with a big smile.
It reminded me of the campaign waged last year by Cuarón’s friend Guillermo del Toro, whose “The Shape of Water” took home the top two Oscars. I…