Friday, April 12, 2024

Netflix Is On Its Way to First Oscar with Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” Critics First Choice for 2019


When “Roma” first played at festivals this past Labor Day, the word went out: it’s going to win the Oscar.

Really? “Roma” is a foreign language movie, from Mexico, spoken in Spanish, and shot in muted black and white. It has no stars of any kind, except director Alfonso Cuaron.

And yet, today “Roma” picked up its first Best Picture award from the NY Film Critics Circle. More will be coming. The mantra, Roma is the winner, has been repeated more often than “Impeach Trump.”

Part of the “Roma” phenomenon is that PR whiz Lisa Taback, trained at Harvey Weinstein’s heel, has turned the Netflix PR department into Hannibal’s army. Netflix bought Taback’s independent PR agency and brought everyone in. They weren’t going to take ‘no’ this year.

If Netflix, Taback, and Cuaron win, they will have beaten powerhouses Warner Bros– with “A Star is Born”–and Universal with “Green Book” and “First Man.” Ted Sarandos is not kidding around. “Roma” could actually win Best Picture and Best Foreign Film, or at least be nominated as such. Only Harvey Weinstein pulled that off in the past– for “Life is Beautiful.” He also got “Il Postino” nominated for Best Picture.

Meantime, “Roma” pulls out all the stops. Critics just received a massively heavy book about the film published by Assouline. I am expecting paella any day now!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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