February 23, 2015 [UPDATE].- Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu made history last night at the 87th edition of the Academy Awards, winning three Oscars for his film Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), the most statuettes ever won by a Mexican national.
He was awarded the Oscars for Best Picture -which marked the first time the Academy Awards' top honors went to a production directed by a Latino filmmaker, for Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay (shared with the Armando Bo, Nicolás Giacobone and Alexander Dinelaris.
Additionally, Mexican DP Emmanuel Lubezki was awarded the Oscar for Best Cinematography for the same film. It was Lubezki's second Oscar win, after he won last year in the same category for his work in Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity.
In total, four Oscar statuettes were handed to two Mexican nationals -the same number of Oscars as last year, increasing the total number of Academy Awards handed to Mexican hands to 18.
March 3, 2014.- With last night's unprecedented four Oscar wins by Mexican nationals -Alfonso Cuarón's historical win for Best Director plus his Oscar for Best Editing, Emmanuel Lubezki's win for Best Cinematography, and Mexican-born Kenyan Lupita Nyongo's win for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, the number of statuettes handed to Mexican hands totals 14.
The very first Mexican national to receive an Oscar was Art Director Emile Kuri for his work in William Wyler's The Heiress in 1950. He repeated his Oscar win in the same category in 1955 with the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Richard Fleischer. He remains the most Oscar nominated Mexican to date, with eight nominations total.
Anthony Quinn (pictured right) was awarded the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role twice: for his performance as Eufemio Zapata in Viva Zapata! in 1953, and for his performance as French painter Paul Gauguin in the 1956 film Lust for Life.
In the early seventies, the short documentary film Centinelas del silencio / Sentinels of Silence about ancient Mexican civilizations directed by Robert Amram and produced by Manuel Arango (pictured left) was awarded with two Academy Awards: for Best Short Subject and for Best Documentary Short Subject. It was the first and only time that a short film won Oscars in two categories -the Academy changed its rules afterwards to prevent documentaries from competing against narrative films in the Best Short Subject category.
Even though he was not presented with an award, Gonzalo Gavira was part of the team that won an Oscar for Best Sound for the movie The Exorcist by William Friedkin in 1973.
Almost thirty years had to pass before another Mexican won an Academy Award, that came in 2001 when German-born Mexican Brigitte Broch was awarded the Oscar for Best Art Direction for her work on Moulin Rouge directed by Baz Luhrmann. The following year Beatrice de Alba took home the Oscar for Best Make Up for her work in Julie Taymor's Frida.
In 2006, there were two Mexican winners at the Oscars for their work in Guillermo del Toro's El laberinto del fauno / Pan's Labyrinth: Guillermo Navarro (pictured below left) for Best Cinematography, and Eugenio Caballero (pictured right with Spanish set designer Pilar Revuelta) for Best Art Direction.
Eight years later, at last night's 86th Academy Awards four Oscars were handed to Mexican hands, the most ever in a single ceremony.