Oaxaca mural

Oaxaca mural

Monday, March 5, 2018

Mexico Shines at the Oscars

I often do not bother to watch the broadcast of the Academy Awards, but I definitely wanted to see last night's ceremony.  Although I had only seen one of the films that had been nominated for Best Picture ("Dunkirk"), almost all of the nominees were movies that I want to see for a change.  Even though science fiction is generally not my cup of tea, I was rooting for "The Shape of Water" to win.  I really liked the earlier Spanish-language films of Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Devil's Backbone".  I had wanted to see "The Shape of Water" while I was in Mexico.  But most of the showings were dubbed in Spanish rather than in English with subtitles... and I hate dubbing. 

"The Shape of Water" won four awards last night, and Mexico's son, Guillermo del Toro, appeared on stage twice, winning Best Director and Best Picture of the year.  In his acceptance speech Del Toro said, "I am an immigrant... The greatest thing that our art and our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand.  We should continue doing that when the world tells us to make them deeper."

I was eager to see "Coco" win the award for best animated film.  I am not a big fan of cartoons, either, but I was thoroughly enchanted with "Coco".  It was not a Mexican film, but it has been described as a "love poem to Mexico".  Its creators at Disney / Pixar sought, and succeeded, in creating a positive depiction of Mexican culture in a time when the Mexican people are often insulted.  The movie broke all box office records in Mexico, so I am sure the TV audience south of the border was pleased with Coco's win.

I also wanted "Remember Me" from "Coco" to win the award for Best Song. I was afraid that "This Is Me" from "The Greatest Showman" would snatch the prize.  Admittedly, the lyrics of the later make a deeper statement, but I find "Remember Me" to be a more beautiful and memorable melody.  And besides, I did not like the movie "The Greatest Showman".  The presentation of "Remember Me" began shakily with Mexican actor Gael Bernal Garcia singing (he doesn't have the greatest singing voice), but built to an extravaganza ending with costumed folk dancers and fireworks.  I was pleased to see the song come away with the award.

There were a lot of Latinos among the presenters last night.  Puerto Rican-born actress Rita Moreno was among them, and she wore the same gown that she wore in 1962 when she won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role in "West Side Story".  And am I the only one who noticed that the musical interludes featured a number of classic Mexican songs... "Perfidia", "Solamente Una Vez" and "Bésame Mucho"?

All in all, it was a great night for Mexico at the Oscars.


  1. I did not watch the show but I was glad to see that Coco won best animated film and The Shape of Water won best picture!! I am like you and normally do not care for animations or science fiction, but I loved both of these movies and am anxious to see them again.

    1. I just saw "The Shape of Water" today. What a great movie!