The Indigenous world responded with much excitement when Yalitza Aparicio, Mixtec and Triqui, was nominated for an Academy Award, also nicknamed the Oscars. Tonight, we will see if she will be the first Indigenous woman to win the award.

The 25-year-old star is nominated for “Actress in a Leading Role” in the Alfonso Cuarón's film, “Roma.” Aparicio plays a maid for family in Mexico City during the 1970s, which inspired by Cuarón’s childhood and received a 96 perfect by Rotten Tomatoes.

Since her Oscar nomination, the Indigenous actress has graced the cover of Vogue Mexico and has been killing the fashion game in all sorts of photoshoots.

A recent is of her wearing a white suit with her long locks in Bad Hombre. 

Another photoshoot by W Magazine captured her in the sea by the existing wall between Mexico and the U.S. 

Other actresses nominated in with Aparicio are Glenn Close for “The Wife,” Olivia Colman for “The Favourite,” Lady Gaga for “A Star Is Born” and Melissa McCarthy for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Roma competes for “Best Picture” against “Black Panther,” “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Favourite,” “Green Book,” “A Star Is Born” and “Vice.”

The film was nominated in 11 categories in total which are: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design and Best Sound Editing.

In January, it was nominated for "Best Screenplay" during the Golden Globe Awards but lost to “Green Book.”

There is still time to watch "Roma" on Netflix.

Social media went crazy when they found out Aparicio was nominated. A win for Indigenous representation in the film industry and she’s pretty outspoken about it. 

The actress also speaks with grace during her interviews as she has a translator. 

What people didn’t know is that she is the second Indigenous actress to be nominated in the same category.

Keisha Castle-Hughes, Maori, was nominated for best actress in “Whale Rider” in 2004. She is from the Ngati Porou and Ngati Ira Tribes from Aotearoa in New Zealand. Castle Hughes was also the youngest actress to be Oscar-nominated as she was 13 at the time.

Aparicio is also the first Indigenous Mexican actress to be nominated in the best actress category. 

Past Native Oscar nominees include Buffy Sainte-Marie (and she won for original song in 1982 for the film "An Officer and a Gentleman"), Chief Dan George for actor in a supporting role in "Little Big Man" in 1970, Graham Greene for actor in a supporting role in "Dances with Wolves" in 1990.

Marlon Brando won an Oscar in 1972, but refused it. He allowed Sacheen Little Feather to take his spot and decline the Academy Award in public. Brando wanted to support American Indians and put on a spotlight on their treatment in the film industry. 

Hollywood does have a long ways to go. But Sundance Institute, Vision Maker Media, First Nations Experience | FNX and all the Indigenous film festivals across the global give Indigenous talent the opportunity to shine. 


What: “E! Live From the Red Carpet - Oscars 2019” - This is where the stars start arriving.

When: Sunday, Feb. 24

Time: 2 p.m. PST

TV Channel: E! channel

What: 91st Academy Awards

When: Sunday, Feb. 24

Time: 5 p.m. PST

TV Channel: ABC

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Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Diné, is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter: @jourdanbb. Email:

Correction: This story has been corrected since its initial publication.