Mexican hit pix snub local kudos contest

Cuaron, Del Toro protest being excluded from Oscars

MEXICO CITY — Two of Mexico’s best-performing pics of 2001 are snubbing local film kudofest the Ariels in protest at being passed over for Oscar consideration.

Alfonso Cuaron’s “Y tu mama tambien” (And Your Mother, Too), which broke local B.O. records last year, and Guillermo Del Toro’s “El espinazo del diablo” (The Devil’s Backbone) will not be repped at the May 27 event, when the Mexican film industry honors its own.

Cuaron and Del Toro are among Mexico’s best-known directors, and both pics represented their returns to Spanish-lingo filmmaking after working in the U.S.

The local Academy of Film Arts & Sciences, which runs the Ariels, chose Maryse Sistach’s “Perfume de violetas” (Violet Perfume) as Mexico’s candidate for Oscar foreign-lingo pic consideration.

The Academy “lacks professionalism and seriousness,” said Biviana Tenorio, spokeswoman for Anhelo, which produced “Mama” and co-produced “El espinazo.” “‘Perfume’ is a very good film but it doesn’t really have a chance at the Oscars.”

Inspired by a true story, “Perfume” tells the tragic attempts of an abused and poor teenager to befriend a middle-class girl whose life she envies. It grossed $3 million.

In contrast, Cuaron’s raunchy road pic “Mama” took in $13 million, and the Spanish Civil War ghost story “Espinazo,” co-produced with Pedro Almodovar’s Deseo Prods., grossed $5 million locally.

Normally, all Mexican films, regardless of success and garlands abroad, enroll for the Ariels.

Academy technical secretary Sylvia Gil refused to be drawn into the dispute, telling Daily Variety only: “All films are welcome at the Ariels.”

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