A List of Mexicans Who Have Won an Oscar… Updated!
After Alejandro González Iñárritu received in 2017 a special Oscar for Carne y arena (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible), a virtual reality installation, and with great expectations for the 90th Academy Awards ceremony, where Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water will compete in thirteen categories, we present an updated list of all Mexicans who have won an Oscar. It should be noted that the criteria used for this list is “people born in Mexico.”
Below is the list of people born in Mexico who have won an Oscar:
1. Alejandro González Iñárritu, winner of five Oscars; for Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Script for Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which was the opening film at the 12th edition of FICM, in 2015, for Best Director for The Revenant in 2016, and a special Oscar for Carne y arena (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible), in 2017.
2. Alfonso Cuarón, winner of two Oscars, for Best Director and Best Editing (shared with Mark Sanger) for Gravity, which was the opening film at the 11th edition of FICM, in 2014.
3. Anthony Quinn, winner of two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor for Viva Zapata! (dir. Elia Kazan) in 1952 and for Lust for Life (dir. Vincente Minnelli) in 1956.
4. Lupita Nyong’o, winner of the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave (dir. Steve McQueen) in 2013.
5. Emile Kuri, winner of two Oscars for Best Production Design for The Heiress (dir. William Wyler) in 1949 and for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (dir. Richard Fleischer) in 1954.
6. Eugenio Caballero, winner of the Oscar for Best Production Design for El laberinto del fauno / Pan’s Labyrinth (dir. Guillermo del Toro) en 2006.
7. Guillermo Navarro, winner of the Oscar for Best Cinematography for El laberinto del fauno / Pan’s Labyrinth (dir. Guillermo del Toro) in 2006.
8. Emmanuel Lubezki, winner of three Oscars for Best Cinematography, for Gravity (dir. Alfonso Cuarón) in 2014, for Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) in 2015, and for The Revenant in 2016.
9. Manuel Arango, winner of the Oscar for Best Short Documentary and Best Short Film for Centinelas del silencio (prod. Manuel Arango, dir. Robert Amram) in 1971 – this was the only instance in which the same short film won in both categories.
10. Beatrice De Alba, winner of the Oscar for Best Make Up Artist for Frida (dir. Julie Taymor) in 2002.
In 1974, the Mexican Gonzalo Gavira was part of the team that won the Oscar for Best Sound for The Exorcist (dir. William Friedkin), however he is not included in the list since the statuette was awarded to the film’s sound engineers Robert Knudson and Chris Newman.
For practical reasons we have decided to exclude filmmakers born in other countries who have been recognized for their work on Mexican films. If he had won, this would have been the case with Gabriel Serra, the Nicaraguan director nominated this year for Best Short Documentary for La Parka, which was made in Mexico and produced by the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC). Brigitte Broch, who won the Oscar for Best Production Design for Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! (2001) is also left off the list since, although she lives and works in Mexico, she was born in Germany.
This criteria of “born in Mexico” is an interesting one, since it allows us to include people who wouldn’t normally be considered as part of our national film industry: like Lupita Nyong’o, the actress of Kenyan origin who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress last year for Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave; or Emile Kuri, the production designer of Lebanese origin, who worked primarily on major Hollywood productions.