Alfonso Cuarón

This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Cuarón and the second or maternal family name is Orozco.
Alfonso Cuarón

Alfonso Cuarón in July 2013.
Born Alfonso Cuarón Orozco
(1961-11-28) November 28, 1961
Mexico City, Mexico
Residence London, England
Education Philosophy, Filmmaking
Alma mater National Autonomous University of Mexico
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, producer, editor
Years active 1983–present
Notable work Children of Men
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Spouse(s) Mariana Elizondo (1980–1993)
Annalisa Bugliani (2001–2008)
Partner(s) Sheherazade Goldsmith
Children Tess Bu Cuarón
Olmo Teodoro Cuarón
Jonás Cuarón

Alfonso Cuarón Orozco (Spanish pronunciation: [alˈfonso kwaˈɾon]; born November 28, 1961) is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and editor 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 science fiction thrillers Children of Men (2006) and Gravity (2013). Cuarón is the first Latin American director to win an Oscar for Best Directing.[1]

Most of his work has been praised by both audiences and critics, and has been nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Original Screenplay for Y Tu Mamá También, and both Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing for Children of Men. For Gravity, Cuarón received several major accolades for his achievement in direction, winning in the respective categories at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, the BAFTA Awards and the Directors Guild of America; and in addition winning the BAFTA Award Best British Film and the Academy Award for Best Film Editing (shared with Mark Sanger). He has also been awarded the BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language as one of the producers of Pan's Labyrinth (2006). In his films, Cuarón is known for his ground-breaking use in the technique of continuous uninterrupted shots.

Cuarón's brother Carlos, as well as his son Jonás, are also writers and directors and have both acted as co-writers in some of his works. He is also friends with fellow Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu, collectively known as "The Three Amigos of Cinema."[2]

Early life

Alfonso Cuarón was born in Mexico City, and is 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.


Cuarón began working in television in Mexico, first as a technician and then as a director. His television work led to assignments as an assistant director for several Latin American film productions including Gaby: A True Story and Romero, and in 1991, he landed his first big-screen directorial assignment. On January 12, 2014, Alfonso accepted the Golden Globe Award in the category Best Director for Gravity (The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, 2014). He also won two Oscars for Best Film Editing and Best Directing.

Sólo con tu pareja

Sólo con tu pareja was 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 success

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 that 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 2003, Cuarón directed the third film in the successful Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Cuarón faced criticism from some of the more purist 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 installments, with some critics remarking that it was the first Harry Potter film to truly capture the essence of the novels.[4] It remained as the most critically acclaimed film of the Harry Potter film franchise until the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

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 sharply 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] The film received ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Directing. 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 September 8, 2016 it was announced that he would be writing and directing a project focusing on a Mexican family living in Mexico City in the 1970s. Production is set to begin in fall 2016.[11] The project will be produced by Cuaron, Gabriela Rodriguez and Nicolás Celis. On November 3, 2016 it was revealed that the crew was robbed on set during filming.[12]

Personal life

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 2003) and son Olmo Teodoro Cuarón (born 2005). Since 2010, he has been in a relationship with jeweller and writer Sheherazade Goldsmith.[16][17]


Cuarón in Comic-Con San Diego (Estados Unidos).

Feature films

Year Film Credited as
Director Writer Producer Editor Assistant director Associate producer
1986 Les Pyramides Bleues Yes
1989 Romero Yes
1991 Sólo con tu pareja Yes Yes Yes Yes
1995 A Little Princess Yes
1998 Great Expectations Yes
2001 Y Tu Mamá También Yes Yes Yes Yes
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Yes
Crónicas Yes
The Assassination of Richard Nixon Yes
2005 Black Sun Yes
2006 Children of Men Yes Yes Yes
Pan's Labyrinth Yes
2007 Year of the Nail Yes
2008 Rudo y Cursi Yes
2010 Biutiful Yes
2013 Gravity Yes Yes Yes Yes
Aningaaq (Gravity spin-off short) Yes
2015 Desierto Yes
2017 Untitled Alfonso Cuarón/Mexico City project Yes Yes Yes

Short films

Documentary films


Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2001 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Y tu mamá también Nominated
Best Screenplay Won
2003 Academy Awards Best Screenplay - Original Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Film Not in the English Language Nominated
Best Screenplay - Original Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Foreign Film Won
2004 British Academy Film Awards BAFTA Children's Award - Best Feature Film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Won
Saturn Awards Best Director Nominated
2005 British Academy Film Awards Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film Nominated
2006 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Children of Men Nominated
Laterna Magica Prize Won
Saturn Awards Best Director Nominated
2007 Academy Awards Best Screenplay - Adapted Nominated
Best Editing Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Film Not in the English Language Pan's Labyrinth Won
Independent Spirit Awards Best Feature Nominated
2011 British Academy Film Awards BAFTA Children's Award - First Light Awards - Kids' Vote for Film of the Decade Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Won
Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Harry Potter series (shared with Harry Potter cast and crew) Won
2013 Venice Film Festival Future Film Digital Award Gravity Won
2014 Academy Awards Best Picture Nominated
Best Directing Won
Best Film Editing Won
British Academy Film Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Won
Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film Won
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Editing Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Director Won
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Won
Empire Awards Best Director Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Director Won
International Online Film Critics' Poll Best Editing Won
Producers Guild of America Award Best Theatrical Motion Picture Won
Saturn Award Best Director Won
Silver Condor Award Best Foreign Film Nominated

See also


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alfonso Cuarón.
  3. J.K. Rowling Accessed January 17, 2007.
  4. RT: Prisoner of Azkaban
  5. Interview by Sam Green with Cuarón.
  6. Autistic Community Condemns Autism Speaks
  7. Sandra Bullock, George Clooney sci-fi drama 'Gravity' pushed to 2013
  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". April 23, 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 (September 8, 2016). "Alfonso Cuaron Sets Mexican Family Drama as Next Film". Variety.
  12. "Alfonso Cuarón film crew 'attacked and robbed' in Mexico City".
  13. 1 2 "The Camera's Cusp: Alfonso Cuarón Takes Filmmaking to a New Extreme With Gravity". Vulture. 22 September 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  14. "Vogue Arts - Down to Earth". Loquet London. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  15. Baftas 2014: Alfonso Cuarón wins best director for Gravity | Film. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
  16. "Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón: Yes, you can have sex in outer space". London Evening Standard. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  17. "The Interview: Sheherazade Goldsmith". Net-a-Porter. 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  18. "'This Changes Everything' Trailer: Climate Change Docu Based On Naomi Klein's Bestseller Set For Toronto Premiere". 26 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015.

External links

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