Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Oscar nominations 2023 include films by renowned Mexican trio

The nominations for the 2023 Academy Awards that were announced Tuesday included films by three storied Mexican filmmakers.

“Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths,” which was written and directed by five-time Oscar winner Alejandro González Iñárritu, was nominated in the category of best cinematography. “Bardo” had its Latin America premiere at the Morelia International Film Festival in October and currently can be seen on Netflix.

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” was nominated for best animated feature film. Two-time Oscar winner del Toro co-wrote the screenplay and was the co-director with Mark Gustafson. It, too, can be seen on Netflix.

A scene from “Bardo”, nominated for best cinematography. (@BardoMovie Twitter)

 “Le pupille” (“The Pupil”) was nominated for best live action short film. The 37-minute Italian film, available on Disney Plus, was produced by Alfonso Cuarón, the Oscar-winning director of “Roma” in 2018.

The 95th Academy Awards ceremony will be held on March 12 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and hosted by TV personality Jimmy Kimmel, who also emceed the 89th and 90th editions. The nominations were announced by actors Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams.

Iñárritu, 59, was born in Mexico City, the youngest of seven children. Del Toro, 58, was born in Guadalajara, where his father ran a successful car dealership. Cuarón, 61, was born in Mexico City to a doctor and biochemist. 

The three filmmakers — often dubbed “The Three Amigos” based on their longtime friendship, similar ages and high-level successes in recent years — participated in an event in Los Angeles earlier this month celebrating them and their new films. The 90-minute conversation, hosted by Netflix, was held at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on Jan. 6 and can be seen in full in YouTube.

An article about the event by Agence France-Presse (AFP) noted that the three men “have amassed multiple Oscars between them and forged a golden age of Mexican filmmaking.”

It also indicated that they don’t necessarily take their Hollywood nickname too seriously. “Amigo one calling amigo two,” del Toro joked at one point while nudging Cuarón.

The men discussed how they have frequently traded notes on projects, and have even helped to re-edit each other’s works. “Honestly, I think it has been crucial,” Iñárritu said. “To not be walking alone in this job is a beautiful gift for us.”

Iñárritu won Academy Awards for best picture, best director and best original screenplay for “Birdman” in 2015, and the following year he won best director for “The Revenant” — joining Joseph L. Mankiewicz and John Ford and as the only directors to win back-to-back best director Oscars.

“Bardo” was Iñárritu’s most Mexican film, and his first to be shot entirely in Mexico, since “Amores Perros” in 2000. The sprawling, dreamlike, 159-minute epic follows a celebrated Mexican filmmaker as he explores the fuzzy lines between reality and memory, life and death, and the United States and Mexico.

“Bardo” was chosen as Mexico’s entry for best international feature, but it wasn’t one of the five selected. Those nominations were “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Germany), “EO” (Poland), “Argentina, 1985” (Argentina), “Close” (Belgium) and “The Quiet Girl” (Ireland).

It was nominated in the category of best cinematography, with Iranian-Frenchman Darius Khondji listed as cinematographer, where its competitors are “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Elvis,” “Empire of Light” and “Tár.”

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” was a joint effort between Netflix and del Toro, who directed the Oscar-winning fantasy films “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006) and “The Shape of Water” (2017); the latter garnered Academy Awards for best director and best picture.

A still from “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” which has received numerous awards already. (@pinocchiomovie Twitter)

His reimagined “Pinocchio,” is a dark, animated take on the 1883 Italian novel about a wooden puppet that comes to life, in this case set against a backdrop of rising fascism in Mussolini’s Italy. Many of the stop-motion sequences were shot by Mexican animators in Guadalajara, and, like “Bardo,” it had its Latin American premiere at the Morelia International Film Festival in October.

Other films nominated for best animated feature are “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” “The Sea Beast” and “Turning Red.”

Cuarón, listed as one of three producers of “Le pupille,” became the first Mexican to win an Academy Award for best director when he won in 2014 for “Gravity,” which also earned him the statuette for best editing. The intimate black-and-white “Roma” in 2018 won for best director, best cinematography and best foreign language film.

Alfonso Cuarón is a producer of the live action short film “Le Pupille” (Disney Plus)

Cuarón is returning to the Oscars with “Le Pupille,” a short, coming-of-age drama written and directed by Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher about an orphan at Christmastime at a strict religious girls’ boarding school in the 1940s.

The other nominees for best live action short are “An Irish Goodbye,” “Ivalu,” “Night Ride” and “The Red Suitcase.” 

For overall nominations, the mind-bending “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was the leader 11 (including best picture), followed by “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “The Banshees of Inisherin” with nine each and “Elvis” with eight. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which features several Mexican actors (including star Tenoch Huerta) and incorporates a lot of Mexican folklore and Mayan themes, received six nominations.

With reports from Excelsior and L.A. Times

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