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Netflix’s Roma, Favourite lead Oscar noms

Alfonso Cuarón’s critically acclaimed Netflix original Roma

Streaming giant Netflix picked up its first best picture nomination in the Academy Awards for Alfonso Cuarón’s Spanish-language original film Roma, which led the field with 10 nominations.

The semi-autobiographical coming-of-age film, shot in black and white, follows a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighbourhood of Roma in Mexico City.

The film also secured nominations for best lead and supporting actress, original screenplay, cinematography, foreign-language film, sound editing, sound mixing and production design.

Cuarón, who won the best director Oscar in 2013 for his hit space film Gravity, also got the nod in the director category.

It marks something of a coup for Netflix, which is still battling the awards circuit in film, and to a lesser extent TV, for its non-traditional background. Certain cinemas do not run Netflix originals because of its policy of not sticking to traditional theatrical release windows.

The official Netflix film account on Twitter drew attention to Roma’s achievements, saying: “Historical #OscarNoms for ROMA: – First Indigenous woman for Best Actress – First Latina woman for producing (Gabriela Rodriguez) – First person for Best Cinematography & Directing in the same year – First Mexican film for Best Foreign & Best Picture.”

Fellow Netflix original, the Coen brothers’ western anthology The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, took home three nominations, including adapted screenplay and original song.

Elsewhere, period piece The Favourite, starring the UK’s Olivia Colman, also received 10 nominations, including best picture, lead actress for Colman and direction for Yorgos Lanthimos.

Fellow best picture nominees A Star Is Born and Vice scored eight nominations each, while Black Panther got seven nods. It also became the first superhero film to achieve a best picture nomination. Spike Lee secured his first best director nomination for BlacKkKlansman, which was nominated in six categories, while Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody each managed five nominations.

UK newspaper The Guardian also made history by receiving its first Oscar nomination, for documentary short Black Sheep.

The doc, commissioned by The Guardian, tells the story of Cornelius Walker whose mother moved him and his family out of London to Essex after the high-profile killing of 10-year-old Londoner Damilola Taylor.

It was produced by cousins Simon and Jonathan Chinn through their prodco Lightbox and exec produced by the Guardian’s head of documentaries Charlie Phillips and Lindsay Poulton.

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