My friends and I have a longstanding tradition of having potluck dinner parties to watch the Oscars together. There are two must-have elements: dishes with punny names inspired by the nominees, and a one dollar buy-in for a ballot. The person who guesses the most wins correctly takes home the pot.
For Roma, I’d suggest shaking things up. This year, it’s worth playing favorites—throwing a Roma-themed watch party. It’s not just a beautiful movie worth 10 nominations on the quality of the story, acting, and cinematography alone.
Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma shines a very important light on domestic workers, whose labor and even existence are often undervalued or made invisible–as much today as in 1970s Mexico, where the story takes place.
Just one example? Domestic workers are excluded from federal labor protections … though hopefully not for long. Another example? America has a shortage of care workers that’s getting worse as our population ages, but certain politicians are vilifying the very immigrant women who make up much of this workforce and could help meet rising demand.
We’ve got lots more to say about Roma and why it’s especially relevant and thrilling for domestic employers (of nannies, house cleaners, and home care workers) like us. We wrote about it here, and founding Hand in Hand-er Gayle Kirshenbaum wrote about the moments in Roma that reflected memories from her own life.
Here’s how you can make your own Roma-themed Oscar party, and make this Oscar night a teensy bit less guilty- pleasure-viewing and more launchpad-for-social-progress.
Greet guests with a Yalitza Apericio-tivos (flexible option—any cocktail will do!).
An appetizer of Clams Cleo-sino feels appropriately retro. Set out bowls of Alfonso Cuaron-ichons.
For a main dish, why not serve up Pasta with a Roma-tomato sauce, Marinara de Tavira sauce, or pasta Alfredo-Cuaron?
Maybe offer a Pepe-roni pizza for the kids (Pepe is one of the kids in Roma)
For a conversation starter during those boring red-carpet moments when they’re interviewing celebrities you don’t recognize, try: Hey, did any of you grow up with a nanny? Or, I’ve thought about hiring a nanny if we had a second kid—would you? And see what comes out. For an extremely commonplace arrangement, it sure can bring up a lot feelings. One of the beauties of Roma’s success this past year is bringing these conversations about women, work, and motherhood, and the relationships between domestic employers and workers, to the fore.
We always placed bets — this part’s optional, but it does keep your attention when they’re doing less thrilling categories like “sound mixing.” The New York Times offers one you can fill out online, and CBS has a printable PDF.
Bigger than 1 Night
Roma has already been shaking things up. Lead actress Yalitza Aparicio is the first woman of indigenous descent to appear on a Vogue cover! And our sisters at the National Domestic Workers Alliance have actually worked with filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron to use the film as a stepping stone toward better conditions for the millions of “Cleos” in the U.S. today.
Here’s how you do your part.
During a commercial break: Celebrate a house cleaner, nanny, or home attendant whose work made or makes your life better. Post a photo of your Roma-themed party and write a message dedicating it to the #HeroinesInOurHomes, whether it’s a nanny who took care of you or someone who helps you take care of your kids, parents, or home!
During a boring category: Get everyone signing this petition in support of the Federal Bill of Rights. Here is a Facebook post on our page that you can share, too, along with selfies from your party!
While someone else washes dishes: Ask anyone at the party who employs a childcare provider, house cleaner, or home attendant to RSVP to our next webinar: Best Practices for Employing a Cleaner or Childcare Provider.