‘Birdman’ Director Puts Mexico Front and Center at Oscars

Mexican film director Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2015 Oscar winner for Best Director his film, Birdman. Photo taken from Tarlen Handayani's account on Flickr under the Creative Commons license.

Mexican film director Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2015 Oscar winner for Best Director his film, Birdman. Photo taken from Tarlen Handayani's account on Flickr under the Creative Commons license.

Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu made history on February 22 when he won the 2015 Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director for Birdman, a satire about the entertainment industry. The film was also honored for Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. 

Apart from Iñárritu's success at the mecca of movies, the issue most talked about on social networks has been the end of his acceptance speech, where the Birdman director mentioned the Mexican government and the situation of Mexican immigrants in the United States. 

I want to dedicate this award for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico. I pray that we can find and build the government that we deserve. And the ones that live in this country who are part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and the respect of the ones who came before and [built] this incredible immigrant nation.

Iñárritu's clear allusion to Mexico having not found a government worthy of its citizens resonated deeply throughout the country. #ElGobiernoQueMerecemos (#TheGovernmentWeDeserve) quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. 

Good use of the #Oscar stage by #Inarritu. His call for #TheGovernmentWeDeserve ought to open our eyes. 

Mexican writer and political analyst Denisse Dresser joined in on the praise:

Bravo, González Iñárritu, for requesting that we have the government we deserve and remembering that we don't have to lose hope to achieve it. 

Despite Iñárritu's jab at Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's government, he and his political party, the PRI, tweeted messages of congratulations from their official accounts: 

Alejandro González Iñárritu, what a well-deserved recognition of your work, dedication, and talent. Congratulations! Mexico celebrates this together with you.

We are joining in on the wave of Mexican pride and, as a matter of fact, we not only deserve a better government, we are already building one. Congratulations, #GonzalezInarritu

To which many responded to with mockery and anger: 

#EnriquePenaNieto is such an idiot that he didn't even realize #Iñarritu hinted at him. Next thing you know he's going to tweet that he is also praying that we achieve a good government! 

@PRI_Nacional the message was for you!! What cynicism!  

Others focused on the hopeful message of a Mexican succeeding in one of the most competitive industries: 

A successful Mexican sends a message to millions of Mexicans who think that they cannot change this country… Yes you can! #TheGovernmentWeDeserve

There were also self-critics:

We must shape #TheGovernmentWeDeserve, there are many Mexicans that are blinded by the small screen. Mexico has not woken up from everything. 

#TheGovernmentWeDeserve is not one that a successful film director asks for, it is one that we as citizens should be demanding.

Jorge Ramos, a Mexican journalist based in the US, wondered why Mexicans’ talent for cinema doesn't seem to transfer to governance: 

If we have two Oscar-winning film directors (Cuarón and Iñárritu), why haven't we been able to get a good director for the country? 

People also commented on the issue of immigrants in the United States:

What a pleasure it was to hear González Iñárritu speaking in defense of immigrants in such an important and visible space.

I cried over his dedication: may we have the government we deserve; may our immigrants in the US be respected.

He urges more Mexicans with access to spheres of high influence in the US to use their voices to advocate for immigration reform. 


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