The race to the Feb. 24 Academy Awards show is officially set in place after Tuesday morning, when the nominations for the 91st Oscars were announced. One of the most exciting honors is Yalitza Aparicio's record-making nomination for Best Actress. Aparicio's nomination for her role in Roma makes her just the second Mexican actress to ever be nominated for Best Actress, as the Los Angeles Times reports.
In Netflix's Roma, which came out on Nov. 21, Aparicio plays a housekeeper and nanny of Indigenous Mexican descent named Cleo, who lives with her employers in Mexico City. For the role, Aparacio spoke both Spanish and Mixtec, the latter of which, the actor told Vox, she'd learned for the film. She's received rave reviews for her performance.
It's pretty ridiculous, though, that it's taken this long for just two Mexican women to be nominated for a leading role in a film by the Academy. Aparicio follows only Salma Hayek, who arned her Lead Actress nomination in 2003 for playing Frida Khalo in the 2002 biopic Frida. Since Hayek didn't win the award in 2003, if Aparicio wins this year, she'll be the first Mexican actress to receive that prestigious honor.
According to the L.A. Times, Aparicio is only the sixth Mexican actor to receive an Oscar nomination for acting overall. So no matter what happens at the Feb. 24 awards show, Aparicio has already made history just for her nomination, and most people would probably consider the 25 year-old a winner regardless.
Aparicio is also just the second actress ever nominated for a debut performance for which she spoke a language other than English, per The Hollywood Reporter. The first female actor to receive an Oscar nomination for her debut role in a foreign-language film was Catalina Sandino Moreno, who played the lead role in 2004's Maria Full of Grace.
Since Sandino Moreno didn't win the award at the 2005 Oscars, Aparicio would make history in this regard if she wins at February's show. If you saw Roma or even just read its many glowing reviews, you likely feel that Aparicio has a great shot at earning the win, considering the strength of her performance.
In a recent profile of Aparicio in the New York Times, the actor considered what it would mean to earn an Oscar nomination for her breakout role in Roma. “I’d be breaking the stereotype that because we’re Indigenous we can’t do certain things because of our skin color,” Aparicio said, adding, “Receiving that nomination would be a break from so many ideas. It would open doors to other people — to everyone — and deepen our conviction that we can do these things now.”
Since Aparicio has now officially earned an acting nomination for her role in the film — which was nominated for 10 total Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director — the Mexican actor has certainly achieved her goal of opening the door for other Indigenous actors to do the same.