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Latin America ‘presente’ at the Oscars

HOLLYWOOD, California – Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu will be Latin America’s biggest figure at this year’s Oscars thanks to his film “Birdman.” But Mexican photographer Emmanuel Lubezki (“Birdman”), the Argentinian film “Wild Tales” and documentaries from Brazil and Nicaragua will also represent the continent at Sunday’s gala.

The Nicaraguan film “The Reaper” is up for best documentary short.

After winning numerous awards this festival season, everything indicates that González Iñárritu will head home with several statuettes out of the nine categories for which his first black comedy was nominated. If he wins for Best Director, he’ll follow friend and fellow Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, who won the award last year for “Gravity.”

“Birdman” is also a favorite for Best Film, and actor Michael Keaton and supporting actors Emma Stone and Edward Norton are all up for awards.

If Emmanuel Lubezki takes the Oscar for cinematography, he’ll make history for winning a second Oscar in a row, following his win for “Gravity.”

The Iñárritu-Lubezki duo, working together for the first time, was instrumental in giving the comedy the appearance of a single fluid scene, which infuses speed and vertigo into the story.

Nearly the entire team behind “Wild Tales,” with director Damián Szifrón at the head, will arrive from Argentina for an exciting night that could give the country its third Oscar ever for Best Foreign Film. “Wild Tales” intertwines six stories charged with violence and black humor, played by actors Ricardo Darín, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Rita Cortese and Érica Rivas, among others.

The film has beaten the national record for ticket sales at Argentinian theaters and has won praise from critics. “Wild Tales” won a “Goya” and other awards at the film festivals of San Sebastián and Palm Springs, and it was nominated at Cannes.

Brazil returns to the nomination field with the documentary “The Salt of the Earth,” by Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, about the journeys of his father, Sebastião Salgado, to capture virgin territories around the world on camera. Locations include the Brazilian Amazon, Papua New Guinea and the Arctic Circle, which appear in “Génesis,” Sebastião Salgado’s last book.

Nicaragua is also celebrating the nomination of the documentary short “The Reaper,” directed by Gabriel Serra, about the work of Efraín Jiménez, a taciturn butcher on the outskirts of the Mexican capital. Serra is a talented 30-year-old Nicaraguan photographer who moved to Mexico in 2008 to work on his projects.

“The Reaper,” which could win him a prized gold statuette, cost $3,000 to make.


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