Oscar-nominated 'Roma' stars on what the film means to them, domestic workers

Yalitza Aparicio, who plays Cleo, a housekeeper and nanny, is the Cinderella story of this Oscar season as the first indigenous Mexican woman to be nominated for best actress.
8:03 | 02/21/19

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Transcript for Oscar-nominated 'Roma' stars on what the film means to them, domestic workers
Hers is the Cinderella story of this Oscar season. The 25-year-old teacher who auditioned for "Roma" on a whim is now the first indigenous Mexican woman ever nominated for an academy award for best actress. Translator: There was a controversy years ago called "Oscar so white." What do you think about that now? Reporter: She is the unlikely star of an unlikely Oscar juggernaut, with ten nominations in all. "Roma." Hailed by critics as a masterpiece by the director, shot in black and white, largely in Spanish. A story centered on a housekeeper and nanny named Cleo, and the wrenching ups and downs inside her world. I read that you got scripts day to day. Translator: Yes, it's true. When Alfonso invited us to the film, he said we're going to work together a lot but in a different way. There is a script that you will never read. So I just ask you to surrender to this process, and that's what we did. Sometimes they would give us the lines, but we would never read what the other character would say, or maybe it said something else that was less shocking, maybe. Like, for example, when she tells me that she's pregnant, what I read was she had broken something from the living room. Reporter: So when she surprised you with the line that she's pregnant, she's really surprising you. Yeah. Reporter: In "Roma", Cleo serves as the second mother to three young kids. And her boss serves as the heartbeat of the film. An unexpected sisterhood which extends beyond the screen, MARIA, a classically-trained actress plays the mom and earned a nomination for best supporting actress. Reporter: MARIA, you have a line when you come home drunk, and you say to her in a whisper, we have to take care of ourselves. When Alfonso told me that line, I said I can really relate to this. I've seen it. I've seen it in my mother. I've experienced it myself. I've seen lots of women going through, and I always ask myself, why is this? Why is this? Why are women and children left so vulnerable in life? Reporter: Alfonso is Alfonso queron, the director. The first-time actress took cues from her mother's sacrifices as a nanny, leaving her own children behind to take care of others. Reporter: How proud is she that you are able to portray a domestic worker with that much dignity and that much respect? Reporter: Growing up, she never dreamed of making the cover of "Vogue " Mexico. In fact, she's one of the few indigenous women to do so. The Netflix film sparking a new wave of activism for rights for domestic workers. If are you a nanny, home cleaner or health care worker, set your expectations and provide time off. Reporter: The director even shot this psa with participant media which produced "Roma" and partnered with the national domestic workers alliance. Its director fights for those who are often underinsured, underpaid and underappreciated. It makes us all capable of going out to do what we do every day, knowing that those that are most precious to us are in good hands. Reporter: She says she's fortunate in her situation and advocates for those who don't have a voice. You take care of the child's emotional need, their physical need. You help nurture them for the coming to be the best person that they could be when they grow up. Reporter: She's being fitted for a gown before heading to Los Angeles for a special viewing party. I love those, don't you? Those are the ones. I hope when people see this film, there are many out there, domestic workers are cleos. So to be able to embrace the profession as a real profession, it's not just the help. I think it would help people to have more respect and dignity and encourage people to be happier about their profession. Representation really matters, right? To see your own story reflected back on the big screen is a transformative experience. Reporter: It really is film making and activism combined. We really have to change politics and policies but the culture. The work that goes into supporting families is a cultural phenomenon. Reporter: You need to change hearts and minds before you can change policy. Especially hearts. Reporter: How much has Alfonso contributed to helping people who are sometimes invisible much more visible. It was time for someone to say thank you, and we really need to be grateful. For example, for me, I'm here because there's a woman that lives with me, and of course a father and my own mother, but that woman is like really the one that knows everything. And we really share motherhood. Reporter: And on the eve of the oscars, in true Cinderella fashion, these women are happy to be going to the ball. What's been the most fun? The gowns alone must be great fun. And you should know that a portion of theater tickets purchased throughout February will be donated to the national domestic workers alliance.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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