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Alfonso Cuarón Orozco (US: /kwɑːˈrn/;[1] Spanish: [alˈfonso kwaˈɾon]; born 28 November 1961) is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and editor. He is best known for his dramas A Little Princess (1995) and Y Tu Mamá También (2001), the fantasy film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), and the science fiction thrillers Children of Men (2006) and Gravity (2013). Cuarón is the first Mexican director to win the Academy Award for Best Director.[2]

Alfonso Cuarón
Alfonso Cuarón (2013) cropped.jpg
Cuarón in July 2013
Alfonso Cuarón Orozco

(1961-11-28) 28 November 1961 (age 57)
Mexico City, Mexico
ResidenceLondon, England
OccupationDirector, screenwriter, producer, editor
Years active1981–present
Mariana Elizondo
(m. 1980; div. 1993)

Annalisa Bugliani
(m. 2001; div. 2008)
Children3, including Jonás Cuarón
RelativesCarlos Cuarón (brother)

Most of Cuarón's work has been acclaimed by critics. He has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay for Y Tu Mamá También and Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing for Children of Men. He was awarded the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language as producer of Pan's Labyrinth. For Gravity, Cuarón received several major accolades for his achievement in directing, winning the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Film Editing, the Golden Globe Award for Best Director, the BAFTA Award for Best Direction and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film.


Early lifeEdit

Alfonso Cuarón Orozco was born in Mexico City on 28 November 1961, the son of Alfredo Cuarón, a nuclear physicist who worked for the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency for many years. He has two brothers, Carlos, also a filmmaker, and Alfredo, a conservation biologist. Cuarón studied philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and filmmaking at CUEC (Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos), a school within the same university. There, he met the director Carlos Marcovich and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, and they made what would be his first short film, Vengeance Is Mine.


Early careerEdit

Cuarón began working on television in Mexico, first as a technician and then as a director. His television work led to assignments as an assistant director for several film productions including La Gran Fiesta, Gaby: A True Story and Romero, and in 1991, he landed his first big-screen directorial assignment.

Sólo con Tu ParejaEdit

Sólo con Tu Pareja is a sex comedy about a womanizing businessman (played by Daniel Giménez Cacho) who, after having sex with an attractive nurse, is fooled into believing he's contracted AIDS. In addition to writing, producing and directing, Cuarón co-edited the film with Luis Patlán. It is somewhat unusual for directors to be credited co-editors, although the Coen Brothers and Robert Rodriguez have both directed and edited nearly all of their films. Cuarón continued this close involvement in editing on several of his later films.

The film, which also starred cabaret singer Astrid Hadad and model/actress Claudia Ramírez (with whom Cuarón was linked between 1989 and 1993), was a big hit in Mexico. After this success, director Sydney Pollack hired Cuarón to direct an episode of Fallen Angels, a series of neo-noir stories produced for the Showtime premium cable network in 1993; other directors who worked on the series included Steven Soderbergh, Jonathan Kaplan, Peter Bogdanovich and Tom Hanks.

International successEdit

In 1995, Cuarón released his first feature film produced in the United States, A Little Princess, an adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic novel. Cuarón's next feature was also a literary adaptation, a modernized version of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert De Niro.

Cuarón's next project found him returning to Mexico with a Spanish-speaking cast to film Y Tu Mamá También, starring Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna and Maribel Verdú. It was a provocative and controversial road comedy about two sexually obsessed teenagers who take an extended road trip with an attractive married woman who is much older than them. The film's open portrayal of sexuality and frequent rude humor, as well as the politically and socially relevant asides, made the film an international hit and a major success with critics. Cuarón shared an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay with co-writer and brother Carlos Cuarón.

In 2004, Cuarón directed the third film in the successful Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Cuarón faced criticism from some Harry Potter fans for his approach to the film. At the time of the movie's release, however, author J. K. Rowling, who had seen and loved Cuarón's film Y Tu Mamá También, said that it was her personal favorite from the series so far.[3] Critically, the film was also better received than the first two instalments, with some critics remarking its new tone and for being the first Harry Potter film to truly capture the essence of the novels.[4]

Cuarón's feature Children of Men, an adaptation of the P. D. James novel starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine, received wide critical acclaim, including three Academy Award nominations. Cuarón himself received two nominations for his work on the film in Best Film Editing (with Alex Rodríguez) and Best Adapted Screenplay (with several collaborators).

He created the production and distribution company Esperanto Filmoj (Esperanto Films, named because of his support for the international language Esperanto[5]), which has credits in the films Duck Season, Pan's Labyrinth, and Gravity.

Cuarón also directed the controversial public service announcement "I Am Autism" for Autism Speaks that was criticized by disability rights groups for its negative portrayal of autism.[6]

In 2010, Cuarón began to develop the film Gravity, a drama set in space. He was joined by producer David Heyman, with whom Cuarón worked on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, the film was released in the fall of 2013[7] and opened the 70th Venice International Film Festival in August.[8] On 12 January 2014, Alfonso accepted the Golden Globe Award in the category of Best Director. The film received ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Cuarón won for Best Directing, becoming the first Latin American to win the award, while he and Mark Sanger shared the award for Best Film Editing.

In 2013, Cuarón created Believe, a science fiction/fantasy/adventure series that was broadcast as part of the 2013–14 United States network television schedule on NBC as a mid-season entry. The series was created by Cuarón for Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television. In 2014, TIME placed him in its list of "100 Most Influential People in the World" – Pioneers.[9]

In May 2015 Cuarón was announced as the President of the Jury for the 72nd Venice International Film Festival.[10]

On 8 September 2016, it was announced that he would be writing and directing Roma, a semi-autobiographical project focusing on a housekeeper for a middle class Mexican family in 1970s Mexico City. Production began in fall 2016.[11] The project was produced by Cuarón, Gabriela Rodríguez and Nicolás Celis. On 3 November 2016, it was revealed that the crew was robbed on set during filming.[12]

Roma premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival where it received critical acclaim and won the Golden Lion.

Personal lifeEdit

Cuarón is a vegetarian[13][14] and has been living in London since 2000.[15] He was 20 when his girlfriend at the time became pregnant with Jonás.[13] He was married to Italian actress and freelance journalist Annalisa Bugliani from 2001 to 2008. They have two children: daughter Tess Bu Cuarón (born 2002) and son Olmo Teodoro Cuarón (born 2005).


Feature filmsEdit

Year Film
Director Writer Producer Editor Notes
1991 Sólo con Tu Pareja Yes Yes Yes Yes Directorial Debut
co-written with Carlos Cuarón
1995 A Little Princess Yes No No No
1998 Great Expectations Yes No No No
2001 Y Tu Mamá También Yes Yes Yes Yes Co-written with Carlos Cuarón
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Yes No No No
2006 Children of Men Yes Yes No Yes Co-written with Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata,
Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby
2013 Gravity Yes Yes Yes Yes Co-written with Jonás Cuarón
2018 Roma Yes Yes Yes Yes Also cinematographer

Short filmsEdit

Year Film
Director Writer Producer Editor Notes
1983 Who's He Anyway Yes Yes No Yes Co-written with Mariana Elizondo
Vengeance Is Mine Yes Yes No Yes Co-written and co-directed with Carlos Marcovich
Cuarteto para el fin del tiempo Yes Yes No Yes Also cinematographer, alongside Emmanuel Lubezki
2006 Parc Monceau Yes Yes No No Segment of Paris, je t'aime
2013 Aningaaq No No executive No Spin-off of Gravity, included as a bonus in the DVD[16]

Documentary filmsEdit

Year Film
Director Writer Producer Notes
2005 Black Sun No No executive
2007 The Possibility of Hope Yes concept Yes Video documentary short
The Shock Doctrine No Yes Yes Documentary short
2015 This Changes Everything[17] No No executive


Year Title
Director Writer Producer Editor Notes
1988-1989 La Hora Marcada Yes Yes No Yes Wrote and directed 6 episodes;
Edited 1 episode;
Also cinematographer (5 episodes)
1993 Fallen Angels Yes No No No Episode "Murder, Obliquely"
2014 Believe Yes Yes executive No Co-creator;
Wrote and directed episode "Pilot"

Assistant directorEdit

Associate producerEdit


Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Film Academy Awards BAFTA Awards Golden Globe Awards
Nominations Wins Nominations Wins Nominations Wins
1995 A Little Princess 2
2001 Y Tu Mamá También 1 2 1
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 2 6 2
2006 Children of Men 3 3 2
2013 Gravity 10 7 11 6 4 1
Total 18 7 22 10 5 1

Academy AwardsEdit

Year Nominated work Category Result
2003 Y Tu Mamá También Best Original Screenplay Nominated
2007 Children of Men Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Best Film Editing Nominated
2014 Gravity Best Picture Nominated
Best Director Won
Best Film Editing Won

British Academy Film AwardsEdit

Year Nominated work Category Result
2003 Y Tu Mamá También Best Film Not in the English Language Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban BAFTA Children's Award – Best Feature Film Won
2005 Best British Film Nominated
2011 Kids' Vote for Film of the Decade Won
Harry Potter series (shared with the cast and crew) Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Won
2007 Pan's Labyrinth Best Film Not in the English Language Won
2014 Gravity Best Film Nominated
Best Director Won
Best British Film Won
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Editing Nominated

Golden Globe AwardsEdit

Year Nominated work Category Result
2002 Y Tu Mamá También Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
2014 Gravity Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Best Director Won
2019 Roma Best Foreign Language Film Pending
Best Director Pending
Best Screenplay Pending

Venice Film FestivalEdit

Year Nominated work Category Result
2001 Y tu mamá también Golden Lion Nominated
Best Screenplay Won
2006 Children of Men Golden Lion Nominated
Laterna Magica Prize Won
2013 Gravity Future Film Digital Award Won
2018 Roma Golden Lion Won

Saturn AwardsEdit

Year Nominated work Category Result
2005 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Best Fantasy Film Nominated
Best Director Nominated
2007 Children of Men Best Science Fiction Film Won
Best Director Nominated
Pan's Labyrinth Best International Film Won
2014 Gravity Best Science Fiction Film Won
Best Director Won
Best Editing Won
Best Writing Nominated

Other AwardsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2003 Independent Spirit Awards Best Foreign Film Y Tu Mamá También Won
2007 Independent Spirit Awards Best Feature Pan's Labyrinth Nominated
2014 Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Director Gravity Won
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Won
Empire Awards Best Director Won
International Online Film Critics' Poll Best Editing Won
Producers Guild of America Award Best Theatrical Motion Picture Won
Silver Condor Award Best Foreign Film Nominated
2018 British Independent Film Awards Best Foreign Independent Film Roma Pending
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Film Won
Best Director Won
Best Cinematography Won
Film Independent Spirit Awards Best International Film Pending
National Board of Review Top Ten Films Won
2019 Satellite Awards Best Director Pending

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Say How: C". National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  2. ^ Pulver, Andrew (2 March 2014). "Alfonso Cuarón wins best director Oscar" – via The Guardian.
  3. ^ J.K. Rowling Archived 4 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 17 January 2007.
  4. ^ "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban".
  5. ^ Interview by Sam Green with Cuarón.
  6. ^ Asansouthwestohio (23 September 2009). "Autistic Self Advocacy Network, SW Ohio: Autistic Community Condemns Autism Speaks".
  7. ^ "Movie News: Movie Reviews, Trailers, Photos -".
  8. ^ Venice Film Festival 2013: Sandra Bullock stuns in a scarlet dress with George Clooney | Mail Online. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
  9. ^ "The 100 Most Influential People – Pioneers: Alfonso Cuarón". 23 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-26.
  10. ^ "Director Alfonso Cuarón President of the International Jury for the Venezia 72 Competition". Venice Biennale. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  11. ^ Kroll, Justin (8 September 2016). "Alfonso Cuaron Sets Mexican Family Drama as Next Film". Variety.
  12. ^ "Alfonso Cuarón film crew 'attacked and robbed' in Mexico City".
  13. ^ a b Dan P. Lee (22 September 2013). "The Camera's Cusp: Alfonso Cuarón Takes Filmmaking to a New Extreme With Gravity". London, United Kingdom: New York. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Vogue Arts – Down to Earth". Loquet London. 12 December 2013. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  15. ^ Baftas 2014: Alfonso Cuarón wins best director for Gravity | Film. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "'This Changes Everything' Trailer: Climate Change Docu Based On Naomi Klein's Bestseller Set For Toronto Premiere". Deadline Hollywood. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015.

External linksEdit