Netflix’s Roma just became a frontrunner in next year’s Oscar race, as Alfonso Cuaron’s film has taken home the top prize at the Venice Film Festival.
The most personal project to date for the award-winning director of Gravity, the film follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City. Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s.
“A tiny masterpiece,” is how we described the film in our five-star review from the film’s world premiere at Venice this week, declaring it an “epic with a heart on its sleeve”.
The Venezia 75 Jury, chaired by Guillermo del Toro, were evidently impressed too. The panel, which included Sylvia Chang, Trine Dyrholm, Nicole Garcia, Paolo Genovese, Malgorzata Szumowska, Taika Waititi, Christoph Waltz, and Naomi Watts, awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film to Roma this evening.
The Silver Lion (Grand Jury Prize) went to Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite, which also picked up the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress for Olivia Colman, marking both out as contenders in the awards race.
The Silver Lion for Best Director went to Jacques Audiard for The Sister Brothers, while the Coppa Volpi for Best Actor went to Willem Dafoe for Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate. Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale was awarded the Special Jury Prize, and also took home the Marcella Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress for Baykali Ganambarr.
The night, though, belonged to Netflix, with Roma marking the streaming giant’s first out-and-out acclaimed masterpiece. It was joined by a second winner at the Venice Film Festival’s closing ceremony: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by Joel and Ethan Coen, which won the Award for Best Screenplay.
“Netflix and the Coen brothers are a perfect fit,” we said in our five-star review of what we praised as a “finely tuned Western anthology”.
The pair of films joined a number of Netflix titles at the Venice Film Festival, with Paul Greengrass’ 22 July, Orson Welles’ restored The Other Side of the Wind and Morgan Neville’s They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead all premiering Out of Competition.
Roma will be available on Netflix UK from 14th December, while The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is expected to be released on Netflix around the same time. You can catch up with our reviews of both, plus other highlights from the Venice Film Festival (including The Sisters Brothers) here.