Alejandro González Iñárritu

Alejandro González Iñárritu

Iñárritu in 2014
Born (1963-08-15) August 15, 1963
Mexico City, Mexico
Other names Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, film producer, composer
Years active 1984–present
Notable work
Spouse(s) Maria Eladia Hagerman
Children 2

Alejandro González Iñárritu (American Spanish: [aleˈxandɾo gonˈsales iˈɲaritu]; credited since 2014 as Alejandro G. Iñárritu; born August 15, 1963) is a Mexican film director, producer, screenwriter, and former composer. He is the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing, for Babel (2007).

Iñárritu's six feature films—Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006) (comprising the "Death Trilogy"), Biutiful (2010), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), and The Revenant (2015)—have garnered critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including Academy Award nominations and wins. In 2015, Iñárritu won the Academy Award for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture for Birdman. The following year, he won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Revenant, making him the third director to win back to back Academy Awards, and the first since 1950.

He is friends with fellow Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón, collectively known as "The Three Amigos of Cinema."[1]

Early life

Alejandro González Iñárritu was born in Mexico City, the youngest of seven children to Luz María Iñárritu and Héctor González Gama.[2] Crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a cargo ship at the ages of 16 and 18, Iñárritu worked his way across Europe and Africa.[3][4] He has noted that these early travels as a young man have had a great influence on him as a filmmaker.[4] The settings of his films have often been in the places he visited during this period. After his travels, Iñárritu returned to Mexico City and majored in communications at Universidad Iberoamericana, one of the most prestigious private universities in Mexico.[5]


Iñárritu began his career in 1984 as a radio host at the Mexican radio station WFM, the country's most popular rock music station, where he "pieced together playlists into a loose narrative arc".[4][5] During his time in radio he also wrote and broadcast small audio stories and storytelling promos, that would become a reference for generations of audio producers, radio Dj's and broadcasters as to how to use radio as a more creative media outlet. He later became the youngest producer for Televisa, the largest mass media company in Latin America.[5] From 1987 to 1989, he composed music for six Mexican feature films. During this time, Iñárritu became acquainted with Mexican writer Guillermo Arriaga, beginning their screenwriting collaborations.[5] Iñárritu has stated that he believes music has had a bigger influence on him as an artist than film itself.[4]

In the early 1990s, Iñárritu created Z films, a production company, with Raul Olvera in Mexico.[6] Under Z Films, he started writing, producing and directing short films and advertisements.[5] Making the final transition into TV and film directing, he studied under well-known Polish theater director Ludwik Margules, as well as Judith Weston in Los Angeles.[7][8] In 1995, Iñárritu wrote and directed his first TV pilot for Z Films, called Detrás del dinero, or Behind the Money, starring Miguel Bosé.[6] Z Films went on to be one of the biggest and strongest film production companies in Mexico, launching seven young directors in the feature film arena.

2000–2014: Amores perros, 21 Grams, Babel, Biutiful, Birdman

In 2000, Iñárritu directed his first feature film Amores perros, co-written with Guillermo Arriaga.[5] Amores perros explored Mexican society in Mexico City told via three intertwining stories. In 2000, Amores perros premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Critics' Week Grand Prize.[9] It was the film debut of actor Gael García Bernal, who would later appear in Babel and the Iñárritu-produced Mexican film Rudo y Cursi. Amores perros was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[10]

After the success of Amores Perros, Iñárritu and Arriaga revisited the intersected-stories structure of Amores perros in Iñárritu's second feature film, 21 Grams (2003).[5] The film starred Benicio del Toro, Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. It was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, where Penn received the Volpi Cup for Best Actor.[11][12] At the 76th Academy Awards, Del Toro and Watts received nominations for their performances.[13]

Iñárritu embarked on his third film, Babel (2006), the last in his "Death Trilogy" (films that shared similar themes and nonlinear, interconnected story lines), co-written with Arriaga.[14][15] Babel comprises four interrelated stories set in Morocco, Mexico, the United States, and Japan, in four different languages.[16] The film stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Adriana Barraza, Gael Garcia Bernal, Rinko Kikuchi and Kōji Yakusho. The rest of the cast comprised non-professional actors.[17] The film competed at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, where Iñárritu received the Best Director Award (Prix de la mise en scène),[18] becoming the first Mexican-born director to win the award.[19]

Babel received seven nominations at the 79th Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Directing.[11] Gustavo Santaolalla, the film's composer, won the Academy Award for Best Original Score.[20] The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama in 2007.[21] Iñárritu became the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Directing and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing.[22][23] After this third feature film collaboration with writing partner Arriaga, Iñárritu and he professionally parted ways, following Iñárritu's barring of Arriaga from the set during filming. Arriaga told the Los Angeles Times in 2009, "It had to come to an end, but I still respect [González Iñárritu]."[24]

Iñárritu in Barcelona, Spain

In 2010, Iñárritu directed and produced Biutiful, starring Javier Bardem, written by Iñárritu, Armando Bó, Jr., and Nicolás Giacobone.[25] The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2010.[26] Bardem went on to win Best Actor (shared with Elio Germano for La nostra vita) at Cannes.[27] Biutiful is Iñárritu’s first film in his native Spanish since his debut feature Amores perros. The film was nominated at the 2011 Golden Globes for Best Foreign Language Film, and at the BAFTA Awards for Best Film Not in the English Language and Best Actor.[28][29] For the second time in his career, Iñárritu's film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards; Javier Bardem’s performance was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.[30]

In 2014, Iñárritu directed, co-produced and co-wrote his first comedy, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), starring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, and Andrea Riseborough. Birdman is about a washed-up actor famed for playing an iconic superhero who tries to revive his career by doing a play based on the Raymond Carver short story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." The film and Iñárritu won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay, and the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Directing, and Best Original Screenplay.[31][32]

2015–present: The Revenant, The One Percent

Iñárritu's next film as a director was The Revenant, which he and Mark L. Smith adapted from Michael Punke's novel of the same name.[33][34] The film starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, and Will Poulter.[35] It is a "gritty" 19th-century period drama-thriller about fur trapper Hugh Glass, a real person who joined the Rocky Mountain Fur Company on a "journey into the wild" and was robbed and abandoned after being mauled by a grizzly bear.[34] The film considers the nature and stresses on relationships under the duress of the wilderness, and issues of revenge and pardon via Glass's pursuit of the man who was responsible for his hardship.[33][36] The Revenant took nine months to shoot.[37] The film received "generally favorable" reviews,[38] and was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, winning Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Actor.[39][40] It was also nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, winning three, including Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director,[41] and received nine Critics' Choice Movie Awards nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.[42]

The One Percent is an upcoming American television drama series created and written by Iñárritu, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., Nicolás Giacobone and Armando Bó. The quartet, who also collaborated on Birdman, will serve as executive producers. Iñárritu will direct the first two episodes and set the visual style of the show. A 10-episode first season has been ordered by the American premium cable network Starz.[43]

Short films and commercials

From 2001 to 2011, Iñárritu directed several short films. In 2001, he directed an 11-minute film segment for 11'09"01 September 11 - which is composed of several short films that explore the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks from different points of view around the world.[5] In 2007, he made ANNA, part of French anthology film Chacun son cinéma, which screened at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Chacun son cinéma, a collection of 34 short films by 34 renowned film directors representing 25 countries, was produced for the 60th anniversary of the film festival.[44] In 2012, Iñárritu made the experimental short film Naran Ja: One Act Orange Dance, inspired by L.A Dance Project's premiere performance, featuring excerpts from the new choreography Benjamin Millepied crafted for Moving Parts. The story takes place in a secluded, dusty space and centers around LADP dancer Julia Eichten.[45]

In 2002, Iñárritu directed "Powder Keg", an episode for the BMW short film series The Hire, starring Clive Owen as the driver and Stellan Skarsgård as a war photographer. It won the Cannes Gold Lion Advertising Award.[46] In 2010, Iñárritu directed "Write the Future", a football-themed commercial for Nike ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which went on to win the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival.[47] In 2012, he directed Procter & Gamble's "Best Job" commercial spot for the 2012 Olympic Ceremonies. It won the Best Primetime Commercial Emmy at Creative Arts Emmy Awards[48] and the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials.[49]

On October 4, 2012, Facebook released an Iñárritu-directed brand film titled The Things That Connect Us to celebrate the social network reaching one billion users.[50]

Personal life

Iñárritu is married to Maria Eladia Hagerman, an editor and graphic designer. Hagerman and Iñárritu lost a newborn son in the mid 1990s. They have a son and daughter.[51]

Iñárritu said, in reference to illegal immigration, "There is no human being who, as a result of desiring to build a better life, should be named or declared illegal."[52] According to Iñárritu, Donald Trump’s plan to build a Mexico–United States barrier would "betray the foundation of this country. The power of this [the U.S.] relies on diversity."[53]


Alejandro González Iñárritu with the three Oscars from Birdman.
Year Film Director Producer Writer Note
1996 El Timbre Yes Short film
2000 Amores perros Yes Yes
2001 Powder Keg Yes No Yes Short film; The Hire series for BMW
2002 Mexico Yes Short film; 11'09"01 September 11
2003 21 Grams Yes Yes No Credited as Story Collaborator
2006 Babel Yes Yes No Nominated - Academy Award for Best Director Based on an idea by Innaritu and Guillermo Ariaga
2007 ANNA Yes Short film; Chacun son cinema
2008 Rudo y Cursi No Yes No
2010 Biutiful Yes Yes Yes
2012 Naran Ja Yes Short film[54]
2014 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Yes Yes Yes Academy Award for Best Picture, Academy Award for Best Director, Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
2015 The Revenant Yes Yes Yes Academy Award for Best Director

Critical reception

Year Film Rotten Tomatoes
2000 Amores perros 92%[55]
2002 11'09"01 September 11 78%[56]
2003 21 Grams 80%[57]
2006 Babel 69%[58]
2010 Biutiful 64%[59]
2014 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 91%[60]
2015 The Revenant 82%[61]


Iñárritu has been recognized with multiple awards for his films, including four Academy Awards, two Directors Guild of America Awards, a Producers Guild of America Award, three BAFTA Awards, three AACTA Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, two Independent Spirit Awards, two American Film Institute Awards, and three Cannes Film Festival awards. He is the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing, and the first to win the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival.[22][23] In 2015, Iñárritu won, among many other accolades, the Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Directing, the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture, and the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Directing for Birdman, becoming the first Mexican to win three Academy awards.[62] In 2016, Iñárritu won the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on The Revenant, marking the first time in 65 years that a director has won the award in two consecutive years. Iñárritu is the third director to accomplish this feat, following John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz.[40]

In 2006, Iñárritu was honored at the Gotham Awards' World Cinema Tribute, alongside fellow Mexican filmmakers Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro.[63] In 2015, Iñárritu received the Sundance Institute's Vanguard Leadership Award for the "originality and independent spirit" of his films.[19] He was also honored by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art at its Art + Film Gala.[64]

See also


  2. Agencias / El Siglo De Torreón (August 15, 2014). "1963: El mundo recibe a Alejandro González Iñárritu, internacional cineasta mexicano". Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  3. "Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu: What I've Learned". Esquire. January 12, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Tobias, Scott (December 3, 2003). "Alejandro González Iñárritu". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Alejandro González Iñárritu". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  6. 1 2 "Alejandro González Iñárritu y sus emblemáticos 3 Premios Oscar". February 26, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  7. "'Birdman' y la dualidad que todos tenemos". The New York Times. February 21, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  9. "Cannes Prospects: 'Foxcatcher,' Inarritu's 'Birdman' Likely Headed to the Croisette". Variety. March 26, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  10. "THE 73RD ACADEMY AWARDS - 2001". Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  11. 1 2 "Alejandro González Iñárritu - Biography - Songwriter, Director, Television Producer". FYI. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  12. "Sean Penn wins Volpi Cup for best actor at Venice Film...". Chicago Tribune. September 8, 2003.
  13. "Oscars 2004: The winners". BBC Online. March 1, 2004. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  14. Foundas, Scott (August 27, 2014). "Interview: 'Birdman' Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu on His First Comedy". Variety. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  15. "Who Is Alejandro González Iñárritu? 5 Fast Facts About The 'Birdman' Director After Academy Award Win". International Business Times. February 23, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  16. "Babel Movie Review & Film Summary (2006)". September 22, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  17. "Iñárritu's Babel To Be Honored By 18th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala". Palm Springs International Film Festival. November 30, 2006. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  18. "Alejandro González Iñárritu to Receive Sundance Institute's Vanguard Leadership Award". Indiewire. January 14, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  19. 1 2 "Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu to Receive Sundance Institute's Vanguard Leadership Award". The Hollywood Reporter. January 14, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  20. "Film Composer Gustavo Santaolalla's Oscar-Worthy Music Studio". Variety. June 28, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  21. "Babel, Dreamgirls take top Golden Globe Awards". January 15, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  22. 1 2 Mitchell, Elvis (2014). "Alejandro González Iñárritu". Interview. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  23. 1 2 "BIRDMAN's Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Wins Oscar for Best Director". February 22, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  24. Whipp, Glenn. "Guillermo Arriaga tells his story". Los Angeles Times.
  25. A.O. Scott (December 28, 2010). "The Mob Work Is Tough; Then He Has to Go Home". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  26. "Cannes Premiere: Javier Bardem Stars in Alejandro Inarritu's Biutiful". The Huffington Post. May 19, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  27. "Javier Bardem Wins Best Actor Award at Cannes Film Festival". Latin American Herald Tribune. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  28. "2011 Golden Globe Nominations Announced". December 14, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  29. "Baftas nominations 2011: full list". The Guardian. January 18, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  30. "Oscars 2011 Nominations List: Academy Awards Nominees". The Huffington Post. January 25, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  31. "Golden Globes: 'Birdman's' Alejandro González Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., and Armando Bo Win for Best Screenplay". The Hollywood Reporter. January 11, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  32. "Oscars: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Wins Best Director for 'Birdman'". Variety. February 22, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  33. 1 2 Fleming Jr., Mike (April 15, 2014). "Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro González Iñárritu Commit To September Start For New Regency's 'The Revenant'". Deadline. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  34. 1 2 "Leonardo DiCaprio will make his return in The Revenant". The Guardian. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  35. "Leonardo DiCaprio's Survival Drama 'The Revenant' Attracts Megan Ellison's Annapurna". Variety. July 11, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  36. Masters, Kim (July 22, 2015). "How Leonardo DiCaprio's 'The Revenant' Shoot Became "A Living Hell"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  37. Chitwood, Adam (February 3, 2015). "Alejandro González Iñárritu Explains Why The Revenant Is Taking 9 Months to Shoot". Collider. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  38. "The Revenant". Metacritic. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  39. "Oscar Nominations: The Complete List". The Hollywood Reporter. January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  40. 1 2 "Alejandro Innaritu Wins Best Director Oscar For The Revenant". Deadline. February 28, 2016. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  41. "The Revenant Wins Best Dramatic Film at the Golden Globes". The New York Times. January 10, 2016. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  42. "Critics' Choice Award Nominations Led by 'Mad Max,' 'Fargo'". Variety. December 14, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  43. Andreeva, Nellie (August 12, 2014). "Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu's 'One Percent' Gets Series Order At Starz". Deadline. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  44. "To Each His Own Cinema (2007)". IMDb.
  45. "Watch: 'Trash Humpers'-Esque Experimental Dance Short Film 'Naran Ja' Directed By Alejandro González Iñárritu". Indiewire. October 26, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  46. "González Iñárritu, el director publicista GANADOR del Óscar". February 22, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  47. "Anatomy of a Cannes Winner: Nike "Write The Future"". Fast Company. June 28, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  48. "P&G Earns Praise For 'Best Job' Commercial, Innovation, Sustainability Efforts". Procter & Gamble. September 19, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  49. "DGA Awards: Alejandro G. Iñárritu Wins Best Feature Film Director For 'Birdman', TV Winners Include Lesli Linka Glatter 'Homeland' & Jill Soloway 'Transparent'". February 7, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  50. "Facebook runs first ad as it reaches 1 billion users". Creative Review. October 4, 2012. Archived from the original on January 6, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  51. "In 'Birdman,' Alejandro G. Inarritu takes his doubts and lets them fly". Los Angeles Times. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  52. "'Birdman' Director Blasts Donald Trump Over Immigration Policy". Rolling Stone. 9 November 2015.
  53. "'Revenant' director Iñárritu makes history, blasts Trump". New York Post. 7 February 2016.
  54. Naran Ja. YouTube.
  55. "Amores Perros". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  56. "11'0901 - September 11". 11 September 2002. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  57. "21 Grams". 21 November 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  58. "Babel". 27 October 2006. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  59. "Biutiful". 29 December 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  60. "Birdman". 17 October 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  61. "The Revenant (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  62. "Alejandro G. Iñárritu Makes History As First Mexican With 3 Oscars: Best Movie, Best Director And Best Screenplay". Latin Times. February 23, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  63. "Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro". Variety. November 28, 2006. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  64. "Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, James Turrell to be honored by LACMA". Variety. July 15, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015.

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