The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has just announced the shortlists of semi-finalists in nine separate categories, including the foreign-language film competition in which two Latin American films have advanced to the next round: Birds of Passage / Pájaros de verano by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra from Colombia, and Roma by Alfonso Cuarón from Mexico.
Directed by the filmmaking team of Colombia’s first Oscar nominee Embrace of the Serpent, Birds of Passage tells the story of the origins of the Colombian drug trade, as seen through eyes of an indigenous Wayuu family that becomes involved in the booming business of selling marijuana to American youth in the 1970s. When greed, passion and honor collide, a fratricidal war breaks out and puts their lives, culture and ancestral traditions at stake.
The most personal project to date from Academy Award-winning director and writer Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mamá También), Roma 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.
The nominations for the 91st annual Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.