The Horror (Show) That Brought Together ‘The Three Amigos’
As you may have heard (or seen), the complete list of this year’s Oscars nominees are out, and the internet is buzzing!
It’s another string of accolades for Roma, one of 2018’s most notable films that received 10 nominations from the Academy. Director Alfonso Cuarón is up for Best Director, a category that has acknowledged other big-name directors of Latinx heritage in the past few years, including Alejandro Iñárritu who won the award for Birdman and The Revenant, and Guillermo del Toro who won for The Shape of Water.
What’s interesting to note is that all three directors – Cuarón, del Toro, and Iñárritu – actually share the same humble beginnings that stretch back to La Hora Marcada, a 1980’s Mexican horror series.
Del Toro and Cuarón originally met on set where Del Toro was working on special effects and make-up and Cuarón worked as an assistant director. According to Vice, Cuarón recalled receiving unfiltered criticism from Del Toro for his directing skills. Del Toro called one of the episodes he directed “bad” even though “the story is so good.” Per Vice, “it’s what friends do.” Their creative differences and upfront criticism helped form a unique friendship that has run strong ever since (hey, opposites do attract).
Iñárritu, who initially worked as a radio DJ and film composer, garnered recognition in 2001 for directing Amores Perros, a film following the lives of complex characters colliding with each other in Mexico City.
Thanks to a connection made by fellow Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (who also worked on “La Hora Marcada” and on most of the three directors’ projects), Iñárritu, Cuarón, and Del Toro’s alliance grew to form what the press now calls, “The Three Amigos.” Together, these film giants became the voices of Latinx communities, perspectives, and culture in cinema not only in the U.S., but also around the world.
Looking back, La Hora Marcada provided Del Toro and Cuarón opportunities to work on a genre that contrasted from telenovela culture, and it helped cultivate their own respective styles of film directing. Del Toro is best know for his whimsically dark stories, Cuarón focuses on the angle and viewers’ experience throughout the film with long continuous shots while Iñárritu chooses overlapping stories in his films.
Since Cuarón’s Oscar win for Gravity in 2013, Iñárritu carried the torch by winning two consecutive Oscars for directing Birdman (2015) and The Revenant (2016); Del Toro’s win in 2018 for The Shape of Water further established the trio’s reputation. And of course, Cuarón’s return to the Oscar scene with nominations for Roma is a continued testament to the respected reputation that “The Three Amigos” hold in the film industry.
What do you think? Will Roma continue the Oscar momentum for these Latinx film directors?
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