By Piya Sinha-Roy
January 23, 2019 at 05:04 PM EST
  • Movie

On Feb. 24, winners will be crowned at the 91st Academy Awards. But before the red carpet is rolled out and envelopes are opened, Entertainment Weekly has inside intel on the 2019 nominees. Keep checking back at this week for spotlights on contenders in all the major categories.

Marina de Tavira
Starring in: Roma
Age: 44
Oscar Past: 0 Noms
Role call: Sofía, a woman left to pick up the pieces after her husband leaves, who finds solace in her housekeeper, Cleo.

Best Supporting Actress nominee Marina de Tavira still hasn’t found the right words for the relationship her character Sofía forms with her housekeeper Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) in Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma. “It’s not just one thing, like an employer-and-employee relationship or like family,” de Tavira tells EW. “Because it’s not family, but it is. And there’s also the affection between them.”

Roma follows a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City going through turmoil; Sofía is a mother and wife struggling with her husband’s abrupt departure, and Cleo becomes the support Sofía leans on and then rather easily turns on. It was a role that hit close to home for de Tavira, who says her own mother faced a similar situation in the 1980s.

“In that time, for a woman to face divorce in a middle-class society was a really heavy burden to carry,” the Mexican actress explains. “[Sofía] is going through such a painful process in her life that she throws all her frustration into Cleo, who is a silent witness to her sorrow.”

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release date
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