Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Meet Rodrigo Prieto, the man representing Mexico at this year’s Academy Awards

Mexican cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto once again appears on the list of nominees for the 2024 Oscars, which will be held on March 10 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

The Academy Awards, organized by the United States Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, celebrate the best of the films released in the previous year. Several Mexicans, from Emile Kuri to Guillermo del Toro, have been on its list since the prestigeous ceremony began in 1929 – and many have even won.

Prieto (left) is one of Mexico’s most respected filmmakers and has worked with a host of major directors. (Instagram)

Who are the Mexican Oscar nominees this year?

Rodrigo Prieto was born on November 23, 1965 in Mexico City. According to the Internet Movie Database, the Mexican has around 80 credits for directing, cinematography and camera, casting and screenwriting.

The Mexican cinematographer has stood out for several years for his work in various Mexican and international films. This is his fourth Oscar nomination, this time for the film “Killers of the Flower Moon”. His visual style, although particular, always adapts to the needs of each director and each film. This can be seen in the two major films he worked on this year: “Barbie” and Killers of the Flower Moon. Both are extremely different in themes and aesthetics, yet both have an overall feel that is very effective within its own universe. The relationship between Rodrigo Prieto and Martin Scorsese is not new, as they previously worked together on “The Wolf of Wall Street” starring Leonardo DiCaprio; “Silence” and “The Irishman”.

 

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A post shared by Rodrigo Prieto (@rpstam)

Prieto’s work on Barbie allowed him to introduce something very Mexican to the film. The iconic pink color, which dominates almost every costume and set throughout the movie is a registered “denomination of origin,” due to its historic importance. The shade of pink is often found in traditional Mexican clothing and objects, and Prieto was responsible for introducing that specific pink into the movie. 

So far in his career, Prieto has participated in the cinematography for five films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar:

  • En terreno vedado (2005)
  • Babel (2006)
  • Argo (2012)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
  • The Irishman (2019)

This year, he repeats the feat alongside Scorsese, thanks to his work in Killers of the Flower Moon in the Best Cinematography category. The complete nominees in this category are:

  • The Count: Edward Lachman
  • Maestro: Matthew Libatique
  • Oppenheimer: Hoyte van Hoytema
  • Poor Things: Robbie Ryan

It has been a busy awards season for Prieto, who has received nominations for several awards, in addition to those of the Academy:

  • Oscar Awards 2024: Best Cinematography for his work on Killers of the Flower Moon.
  • American Society of Cinematographers 2024: Best Theatrical Feature Cinematography for Killers of the Flower Moon.
  • BAFTA Film Award 2024: Best Cinematography for Killers of the Flower Moon.
  • Critics Choice Awards 2024: Best Cinematography for Barbie.
  • Critics Choice Awards 2024: Best Cinematography for Killers of the Flower Moon.

Although Prieto was nominated twice in the same category at this year’s Critics Choice Awards, he lost to Oppenheimer’s Hoyte van Hoytema. 

Prieto will also launch his directorial career later this year, with an adaptation of the classic Mexican novel Pedro Páramo” for Netflix.

Prieto’s distinctive visual style has helped him become one of Hollywood’s top cinematographers. (Instagram)

Why is it important for Mexican filmmakers to be part of the Oscars? 

The Oscars are a way for the industry to raise more revenue from the box office. To win one is as important as it is for any filmmaker in the world; it generates attention for your film, gets it seen more, gets it in theaters longer, and makes more money. It becomes easier to navigate the industry and get resources for future projects – which can be vital for movies made outside of traditional Hollywood settings. It is also a sign that your work is recognized not only in your country but also internationally. 

A total of 11 Mexicans have won an Oscar, in a variety of categories. 

Major winners include three Mexicans scooping the prize for Best Director – Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Del Toro and González Iñárritu have both seen their films win Best Picture – del Toro in 2017 for “The Shape of Water” and González Iñarritu for “Birdman” in 2014. 

Oaxaca’s Anthony Quinn won Best Supporting Actor in 1952 and 1956, and Lupita Nyong’o won Best Supporting Actress in 2013.

When are the Oscars 2024?

The 2024 Oscars will take place on March 10 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, and the gala will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel for the second consecutive year.

Camila Sánchez Bolaño is a journalist, feminist, bookseller, lecturer, and cultural promoter and is Editor in Chief of Newsweek en Español magazine.

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