Alfonso Cuaron
Birth Date:
November 28, 1961
Birth Place:
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
6' (1.83 m)
Famous for:
A Little 'Princess' (1995)
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Alfonso Cuaron_190412
Y Tu Mamá También


“The only reason you make a movie is not to make or set out to do a good or bad movie, it's just to see what you learn for the next one.” Alfonso Cuaron

Alfonso Cuaron is an Academy Award nominated Mexican film director, screenwriter and film producer. Making his film directorial debut with the 1991 hit comedy “Sólo con tu pareja,” which earned him a Silver Ariel Award as a co-writer, the fan of Tim Burton enjoyed general approval with the Academy Award nominated children's film “A Little Princess” (1995) before taking home his first Oscar nomination for co-writing the script of the Mexican popular drama “Y Tu Mamá También” (2001). The film also brought him an Independent Spirit Award, a Venice Film Festival Award and two BAFTA Film nominations, among other awards and nominations. After directing “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004), from which he won BAFTA's Children's Award, a Saturn Award and an Amanda  Award, Cuaron nabbed two additional Oscar nominations for his critically acclaimed film, “Children of Men” (2006). Cuaron is the owner of the Mexico City based company Esperanto Films, through which he has produced such films as “The Assassination of Richard Nixon” (2004), “Crónicas” (2004) and “Pan's Labyrinth” (2006).  He also founded an independent production company along with good friends Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu.

Cuaron was romantically linked to model/actress Claudia Ramírez between 1989 and 1993. He has three children from his previous two marriages, Tess Bu Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron and Olmo Teodoro Cuaron.


Childhood and Family:

In Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico, Alfonso Cuaron Orozco, nicknamed Alfie, was born on November 28, 1961. His father, Alfredo Cuarón, a nuclear scientist, worked for the United Nations' International' Atomic Energy Agency for a number of years and left the family when his children were young. He got his first camera as a birthday present when he was 12, and since then he began to shoot everything he saw. He went on to become an devouring film watcher as a teenager. Alfonso learned cinema and philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and continued to study filmmaking at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos (CUEC), a faculty of the same University. However, he was expelled from the school due to the fact that he directed his first short film in English.   

Alfonso has been married twice. He married first wife Mariana Elizondo from 1980 until 1993 and has one son, Jonah Cuaron (born 1983), with her. His marriage to his second wife Annalisa Bugliani lasted from 2001 to 2008. The couple have two children together, Tess Bu Cuaron and Olmo Teodoro Cuaron. After his divorce from Bugliani, Alfonso moved from New York and now resides in London.  Alfonso's younger brother is fellow screenwriter, director and producer Carlos Cuaron (born October 2, 1966).

Children of Men


While still a student at the CUEC, Alfonso Cuaron collaborated with good friend Carlos Marcovich to make his first short film, “Vengeance Is Mine” (1983), in English, but he was subsequently discharged from the film school. The same year, he also directed and wrote the shorts “Quartet for the End of Time” and “Who's He Anyway.” Cuaron began his professional work in television in Mexico, first as a technician and then as a director. His work on television led to assignments as an assistant director for several Latin American film productions, including Luis Mandoki's docudrama “Gaby: A True Story” (1987) and the John Duigan directed biopic “Romero” (1989), which starred Raul Julia as the ill-fated Archbishop Oscar Romero. Around 1989-1990, he co-wrote and directed some episodes in the television series “Hora Marcada.”

Eventually, in 1991, Cuaron made his first full feature film with “Sólo con tu pareja” (released in English-speaking markets as “Love in the Time of Hysteria”), a sex comedy about a yuppie playboy and publicist, who after spurning an attractive nurse, is fooled into believing he is contracted HIV. Starring Daniel Giménez Cacho and telenovela star Claudia Ramírez, the film, which he directed, produced, co-edited (with Luis Patlán) and co-wrote (with his brother Carlos), won the brothers a Silver Ariel for Best Original Story at the 1992 Ariel Awards, Mexico, where Cuaron also was nominated for Best First Work and Best Screenplay (shared with Carlos). “Sólo con tu pareja” became a huge hit in Mexico.

After the success of his first film, Cuaron was hired by director Sydney Pollack to helm an episode of Showtime's anthology series, “Fallen Angels,” called “Murder, Obliquely,” which aired on September 19, 1993.

Cuaron, however, did not gain widespread critical acclaim until he directed the American children's movie “A Little Princess” (1995), which was loosely based upon the novel of the same name  by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Though it was a failure at the box office, perhaps because of poor promotion by Warner Bros., the film was critically applauded and nabbed various honors, including the Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, the Young Artist nominations for Best Family Feature – Drama, Best Young Leading Actress - Feature Film (Vanessa Lee Chester) and Best Young Leading Actress - Feature Film (Liesel Matthews) and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards for Best Music and Best Production Design as well as the New Generation Award for Cuaron.      

In 1998, Cuaron resurfaced with a contemporary adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel, “Great Expectation,” starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert De Niro, Anne Bancroft and Chris Cooper. Despite its popular and reputable cast of actors, the film earned mixed reviews from critics. Cuaron was nominated for an ALMA Award in the category of Outstanding Latino Director of a Feature Film for his directorial effort.

Cuaron bounced back three years later with the 2001 Mexican drama “Y Tu Mamá También” (“And Your Mother Too”),  which he directed, co-wrote (with brother Carlos), produced and co-edited (with Alex Rodríguez). Starring Mexican actors Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal and Spanish actress Maribel Verdú in the leading roles, the film created a history in Mexican cinema for having the  highest opening with $2.2 million in June 2001, and later opened in a limited release in the United States in 2002. The film received a total of over $ 33.6 million against a budget of $5 million. “Y Tu Mamá También” also received good reviews from critics upon its original release, and went on to amassed a total of 35 wins and 29 nominations. For his bright work, Cuaron picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Original Screenplay, two BAFTA Film nominations for Best Film not in the English Language and Best Screenplay – Original, a Bodil nomination for Best Non-American Film, a Chlotrudis nomination for Best Screenplay – Original, a Screen International Award nomination from the European Film Awards, a Toronto Film Critics Association nomination for Best Director and a Golden Lion nomination. The film also won him the Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for Best Foreign Film, the MTV Movie Award for MTV North Feed (mostly Mexico) - Favorite Film (Película de la Gente), the Venice Film Festival Golden Osella for Outstanding Technical Contribution, the Premio ACE for Cinema - Best Director, the Santa Fe Film Festival Luminaria for Best Latino Film, the Seattle Film Critics Award (2nd place) for Best Screenplay, Original, the Jury Award for Best Foreign Language at the 2001 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival,  the Glitter Awards for Best Feature - International Gay Film Festivals and Best Feature - US Film Festivals, the Havana Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize,  the Tromsø International Film Festival Aurora Award and the Zlín International Film Festival for Children and Youth Golden Slipper for Feature Film – Youth.               

Cuaron's international fame was further confirmed when he was hired to direct the third film in the booming Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004). Despite criticism from some of the more bookworm Potter fans for his approach to the film, the film has emerged as one of the most positively reviewed films of the Harry Potter film franchise and become author J. K. Rowling's personal favorite. With a total of over $796.6 million worldwide, “The Prisoner of Azkaban” ranks as the lowest amongst the eight films at the box office, but it now reaches No. 33 on the highest grossing film of all-time. Cuaron won the BAFTA Children's Award for Best Feature Film as well as was nominated for the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film, the Saturn Award for Best Director and  the Amanda  Award for Best Foreign Feature Film for his work in the film.

2004 also saw him produce the Cannes Film Festival screened films, “The Assassination of Richard Nixon,” an American production directed by Niels Mueller and starring Sean Penn, Don Cheadle and Naomi Watts, and “Chronicles,” an Ecuadorian thriller written and directed by Sebastián Cordero. He served as an executive producer on the 2005 documentary “Black Sun” (2005), helmed by Gary Tarn.

Back to the director's chair, Cuaron directed Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine on the British movie version of P. D. James's 1992 novel, “Children of Men” (2006), which he also co-wrote with Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby.  The film gained critical acclaim, and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay for Cuaron, in addition to collecting another 23 wins and 29 nominations. Apart from his Oscars, Cuaron also brought home two Austin Film Critics Association for Best Director and Best Screenplay, Adapted, an Online Film Critics Society for Best Screenplay, Adapted (also nominated for two Online Film Critics Society for Best Director and Best Editing), a USC Scripter Award, a Vancouver Film Critics Circle for Best Director, a Venice Film Festival Laterna Magica Prize (also nominated for a Golden Lion), as well as ALMA nominations for Outstanding Director - Motion Picture and Outstanding Screenplay - Motion Picture, a Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Argentina nomination for Best Foreign Film, a Saturn nomination for Best Director, an Edgar Allan Poe nomination for Best Motion Picture Screen Play, a London Critics Circle Film ALFS nomination for Director of the Year and a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula nomination for Best Script.

Also in 2006, Cuaron directed the “Paris, je t'aime” segment, “Parc Monceau” and produced Guillermo del Toro's Spanish language dark fantasy film, “Pan's Labyrinth,” through his company  Esperanto Films. In the following year, he directed, wrote and produced the documentary shorts “The Shock Doctrine” and “The Possibility of Hope.” In 2007, he also collaborated with fellow Mexican filmmakers, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu to form an independent production company. He went on to produce such films as “Rudo y Cursi” (2008), Alejandro González Iñárritu's “Biutiful” (2010, as associate producer) and the short “The Second Bakery Attack” (2010, executive producer).

In 2012, Cuaron is set to return with his new science fiction/thriller film, “Gravity,” which is scheduled to be released in the US on November, 21. The film will star Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalsky, respectively. He will work with other filmmakers like Sara Driver, Michel Gondry, Emir Kusturica and Marjane Satrapi for the upcoming animated film “Tales from the Hanging Head” (2014).     


Austin Film Critics: Best Director, “Children of Men,” 2007
Austin Film Critics: Best Screenplay, Adapted, “Children of Men,” 2007
BAFTA: Film Award, Best Film not in the English Language, “Pan's Labyrinth,” 2007
Online Film Critics Society (OFCS): Best Screenplay, Adapted, “Children of Men,” 2007
ShoWest: International Achievement in Filmmaking, 2007
USC Scripter : “Children of Men,” 2007
Vancouver Film Critics Circle (VFCC): Best Director, “Children of Men,” 2007
Gotham: World Cinema Tribute Award, 2006
Venice Film Festival: Laterna Magica Prize, “Children of Men,” 2006
BAFTA: Children's Award, Best Feature Film, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” 2004
Glitter: Best Feature - International Gay Film Festivals, “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2003
Independent Spirit: Best Foreign Film, “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2003
Los Angeles Film Critics Association  (LAFCA): Best Foreign Film, “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2002
MTV Movie: MTV North Feed (mostly Mexico) - Favorite Film (Película de la Gente), “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2002
Seattle Film Critics: 2nd place, Best Screenplay, Original, “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2002
Tromsø International Film Festival: Aurora Award, “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2002
Zlín International Film Festival for Children and Youth: Golden Slipper, Feature Film – Youth, “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2002
Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival: Jury Award, Best Foreign Language, “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2001
Havana Film Festival: FIPRESCI Prize, “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2001
Premios ACE: Premio ACE, Cinema - Best Director, “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2001
Santa Fe Film Festival: Luminaria, Best Latino Film, “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2001
Venice Film Festival: Golden Osella, Outstanding Technical Contribution, “Y Tu Mamá También,” 2001
Los Angeles Film Critics Association  (LAFCA): New Generation Award, “ A Little Princess,” 1995
Ariel: Silver Ariel, Best Original Story (Mejor Argumento Original), “Sólo con tu pareja,” 1992 Show Less
Rumour: Alfonso Cuaron to direct prequel to The Shining?
SP_COP - May 23, 2014 -
There have long been rumours surrounding the possibility of a new, big-screen version of The Shining, and now it seems as though Warner has its eye on the man it wants to make that proposal a reality…...
© Retna
Gravity's Alfonso Cuaron to direct Harry Potter spin-off
SP_COP - May 20, 2014 -
Prisoner Of Azkaban director Alfonso Cuaron may be returning for the first Harry Potter spin-off movie...With an Oscar under his belt for his directorial work on last year's Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron ma...
© Retna
'Gravity' Pulls in Best Director Oscar for Alfonso Cuaron
SP_COP - March 03, 2014 -
As expected, and as we predicted, Alfonso Cuaron has won the Oscar for Best Director at the 86th Academy Awards for his work on the stunning 3-D epic Gravity.Cuaron has long been the favorite for the...
© Retna
© Universal Pictures