Fernando Meirelles read Paulo Lins' semi-autobiographical novel City of God, about three young men and their lives in a favela in western Rio de Janeiro where Lins grew up. The Brazilian filmmaker decided to adapt it to film, and that he’d pick the actors from among the inhabitants of the city’s slums. Meirelles and his team selected 200, with whom they worked on the film, which became a national and international success, earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. Critic Roger Ebert gave the film a four-star review, writing "City of God churns with furious energy as it plunges into the story of the slum gangs of Rio de Janeiro. Breathtaking and terrifying, urgently involved with its characters, it announces a new director of great gifts and passions: Fernando Meirelles. Remember the name."
Best Director, City of God, 76th Academy Awards, Nominated