Lubezki began his career in Mexican film and television productions in the late 1980s. His first international production was the 1993 independent film Twenty Bucks (1993), which followed the journey of a single twenty-dollar bill.
Lubezki is a frequent collaborator with fellow Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. The two have been friends since they were teenagers and attended the same film school at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Together they have worked on six motion pictures: Sólo con Tu Pareja (1991), A Little Princess (1995), Great Expectations (1998), Y Tu Mamá También (2001), Children of Men (2006), and Gravity (2013). His work with Cuarón on Children of Men (2006), has received universal acclaim. The film utilized a number of new technologies and distinctive techniques. The “roadside ambush” scene was shot in one extended take utilizing a special camera rig invented by Doggicam systems, developed from the company’s Power Slide system. For the scene, a vehicle was modified to enable seats to tilt and lower actors out of the way of the camera. The windshield of the car was designed to tilt out of the way to allow camera movement in and out through the front windscreen. A crew of four, including Lubezki, rode on the roof. Children of Men (2006) also features a seven-and-a-half-minute battle sequence composed of roughly five seamless edits.
Lubezki has been nominated for eight Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, winning three, for Gravity (2013), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), and The Revenant (2015). He is the first cinematographer in history to win three consecutive Academy Awards.