An early frontrunner for best picture at next year's Academy Awards, Alfonso Cuaron's "Roma" picked up three Golden Globe nominations Thursday morning, for foreign-language film and for Cuaron's direction and screenplay.
Cuaron's poetic, black-and-white story of a middle-class Mexican family and their beloved live-in nanny is in limited theatrical release now before airing on Netflix starting Dec. 14.
The Times spoke with the director, whose previous films include "Y Tu Mama Tambien," "Children of Men" and "Gravity," about the nominations, Netflix and the state of moviegoing.
Q: Congratulations. Where are you and how did you get this news?
A: I'm in Italy. I got the news right after lunch. I checked my emails, and I turned to my son and I said, "Do you want to come to the Golden Globes?"
Q: You've been nominated for Globes before, and you won the directing award for "Gravity." But does it feel any different this time because this movie is so personal to you?
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A: Well, it has been a very surprising ride because when you do something so specific, you don't think that it's really going to have this intense emotional response. What is very gratifying and very surprising is how in different places in the world, the emotional response is so strong to the film. And this makes me happy because it's a reminder that the human experience is one and the same, that we are pretty much the same.
Q: When we spoke at the Telluride Film Festival in September, the buzz around the movie was already strong and it's only snowballed from there. Obviously it's hard to tell for sure because Netflix doesn't report box-office figures, but every indication is that the movie has been doing well in theaters. I know there have been specific issues like with exhibitors in Mexico, but in general have you been happy with the theatrical push?
A: Well, it's been fantastic because I think I'm having a greater theatrical rollout than if I had gone with a quote-unquote "conventional" route. Remember that the film was not an easy sell. It's a Mexican film in black-and-white and in Spanish. So it's been so gratifying to hear all the reports of all these sold-out theaters both in the U.S. and in Mexico and now in Italy. And it's exciting how in Mexico more and more independent theaters are joining to the circuit of wanting to release the film.
Q: Are you getting box-office numbers from Netflix?