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The star of Netflix’s Roma just summed up why the movie is so important

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Yalitza Aparicio was nominated for her first Oscar today.      

Yalitza Aparicio had never set foot on a movie set before she decided to audition for director Alfonso Cuarón during the casting process for his semi-autobiographical film ROMA.

She only auditioned for the movie because her sister was heavily pregnant. Unable to audition, she urged Aparicio to take her place reading for the role of Cleo, a live-in nanny for a middle class family in the Mexican district Roma.

“I didn’t want to do the casting,” Aparicio recalled to the Guardian. At first, she was worried that the job advertisement was a front for human traffickers. “My sister pushed me because, in our community, they have never come before to ask us to be in films.” 

Cuaron saw in Aparicio a determination and an empathy and he called her back for a second audition, and then a third, and then finally he offered her the job. (Her response? “Well I think I can do it. I have nothing better to do.”)

Today, the 24-year-old Mexican actress was nominated for her first Oscar

“From the very first casting call to this morning, my ROMA journey has been extraordinary,” Aparicio said in a statement today, after receiving news of her nomination. “As a daughter of a domestic worker and an indigenous woman myself, I am proud this movie will help those of us who feel invisible be seen.”

She added: “I am eternally grateful to the Academy for recognising ROMA and honoured to be part of Alfonso’s vision. Congratulations to Alfonso, the entire cast and crew, and my dear friend Marina De Tavira [nominated in Best Supporting Actress]. I am so humbled and honoured. Thank you.”

Aparicio’s nod is one of the ten nominations received by ROMA at this year’s Academy awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Foreign Language Movie, Best Production Design and Best Original Screenplay.

Yalitza Aparicio in ROMA

The movie is a favourite to win in several categories, most notably Best Foreign Language Movie and Best Director, a category in which Cuarón has pulled off an almost clean sweep in the precursor awards ceremonies including the Golden Globes. If he wins, this will be his second Best Director Oscar. He first won in the category in 2014 for Gravity.

But what about the big one? Could ROMA become the first streaming movie to win Best Picture?

With ten nods to its name, ROMA has tied with The Favourite as the most nominated movie at this year’s Oscars. And according to prediction website Gold Derby its odds just jumped to 7-1 to win Best Picture.

We’ll just have to wait until February 25 to find out. But one thing’s for sure, if ROMA does win no-one will be cheering louder than Yalitza Aparicio. 

ROMA is streaming on Netflix now. 

Images: Getty, Netflix

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer, podcaster and recent Australian transplant in London. You can find her on the internet talking about pop culture, food and travel.

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