Alejandro González Iñárritu is on all of our minds after winning Best Director for The Revenant (his fourth Oscar) this past Sunday.
In his acceptance speech, the man of the moment – who is known fondly as “El Negro” to close friends and family – said, “What a great opportunity to our generation to really liberate ourselves from all prejudice and this tribal thinking and make sure for once and forever that the color of our skin becomes as irrelevant as the length of our hair.” Gah. Our hearts. Some even hoped that he might pull a Layundowski and whip out an in-your-face “It is your land, but it is my house” mic drop:
What you may have been unaware of is that this Hollywood heavyweight’s nickname is derived directly from his passion for Club América. Yup, that’s right.
“As kids we would play in Asturiano – I’m talking 1975 to 1977 – with some cousins of ours. And because he’s darker, they called him ‘Negro’ for ‘Negro’ Roberto Hodge, the hotshot for América during the time, playing with the likes of Carlos Reinoso, Enrique Borja, and others,” said Héctor González Iñárritu, the director’s brother and head of Mexico’s Comisión de Arbitraje, a referee commission.
Hodge was a Chilean midfielder who arrived at América in 1970. He won the Liga MX that same year – coming in clutch with a goal in the final vs. Toluca – and strutted his stuff in the years that followed, winning another cup and subcampeonato with Las Águilas, where he remained until 1974.
According to his brother, Iñárritu’s forceful fútbol connection doesn’t end there either. “He played on the Selección for the Universidad Panamericana and played really well. He also liked tennis and played it really well. He’s an americanista, the same as me and my dad,” he explained. He’s a player and a diehard hincha. Let’s not forget that he directed this Nike commercial ahead of the World Cup back in 2010 (which features Cristiano, Ronaldinho, and even Gael García Bernal as Ronaldo in the fictional biopic Ronaldo: The Movie).
Héctor described his Oscar-winning brother as someone who “doesn’t work for the awards. He’s more simple, more buena onda than you can imagine.” Hey, one thing’s for sure – we’d love to watch a match with him ourselves. Buena onda indeed.