And just like that, Alejandro González Iñárritu is a three-time Oscar winner…
The 51-year-old Mexican filmmaker, who had previously come away empty-handed after four previous nominations, walked away with three golden statuettes as the 87th Academy Awards, becoming the first-ever three-time Latino Oscar winner in history.
González Iñárritu’s dark comedy Birdman was named Best Picture at the end of Sunday night’s telecast. The film, starring Michael Keaton, tells the story of a down-and-out actor looking to get back into the spotlight with a passion project on Broadway. The film was produced by González Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan and James W. Skotchdopole, who were on-hand to accept the award.
Additionally, González Iñárritu took home the prize for Best Director, a recognition of the awe-inspiring technical feat of making nearly the entire film appear to take place in a single shot, as well as a tip of the hat to his incredible career. He’s the second Latino director to win the prize, following Alfonso Cuarón’s win last year for Gravity.
González Iñárritu’s third Oscar came in the Best Original Screenplay for co-writing the script for Birdman with Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo.
In his acceptance speech, González Iñárritu mentioned issues facing Mexicans and Mexican Americans, “I pray that we can find & build a government that we deserve. And the ones that live in this country that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect as ones that came before in this great nation.”
Meanwhile, Birdman cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki won his second Oscar in two years. The Mexican cinematographer, a frequent collaborator of auteurs Terrence Malick and Cuarón, won his first Oscar for 2013’s Gravity, and brought his awe-inspiring single-take methodology back for Birdman.
Backstage following his acceptance speech, Lubezki stressed that the decision to shoot in one take was Gonzalez Iñarritú’s. “At first I told him I wasn’t interested, it sounded like a nightmare! But then he talked about the characters and why it had to be one shot. He captivated me. It was complex and hard; there’s no book on how to do it, but I have to say that the style was because Alejandro is a strong, curious artist.”