Alfonso Cuaron has won the Oscar for director for his space adventure "Gravity," becoming the first Latin American director to take the top filmmaking prize.
The Mexican director, 52, was the fourth Latin American to be nominated in this Oscar category, following Hector Babenco ("Kiss of the Spider Woman"), Fernando Meirelles ("City of God") and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Babel").
The Oscar also offers a personal vindication of sorts for Cuaron, who before "Gravity" had not made a movie since 2006's dystopian thriller "Children of Men" and who waited years on "Gravity" for financing and technological issues to be sorted out. The win follows Cuaron's triumph in the same category at the Directors Guild of America's annual prizes.
Cuaron took the stage and, acknowledging the years it took to make the movie, said, "For a lot of these people [who worked on the film], the transformation was wisdom; for me, it was the color of my hair." He also thanked the "wise guys" at Warner Bros — current and past administrations at the studio who oversaw the film.
Starring Sandra Bullock as a scientist marooned in space, "Gravity" was the biggest box office success of the five directorial nominees, taking in $270 million in the U.S. and an additional $434 million overseas.
It was Cuaron's first nomination in the director category; he had been nominated for the screenplays for "Children of Men" and the coming-of-age drama "Y Tu Mama Tambien," and he also landed an editing nomination for "Children of Men."