Where Are Latinos at the Oscars?


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No Latinos actors are nominated for 2018 Oscars, Variety reports.

In 2017, actor/composer/poet Lin-Manuel Miranda’s original song for “Moana” was one a very few Oscar-nominated performances by a Latino.

Why don’t Latino performers in Hollywood get more recognition?

First, data show there are not a lot of Latino roles to begin with. Latinos had less than 5% of speaking roles in the top-grossing films, according to USC.

Second, when they are available, they’re often filled by non-Latinos. Ben Affleck played Mexican American CIA operative Antonio Mendez in 2012’s Argo and Jon Favreau played a Cuban food truck entrepreneur in 2014’s Chef, according to an L.A. Weekly op-ed.

“The dearth of Latino storytelling and overlooking of Latino talent is especially remarkable when you consider that about 3 out of 4 people in Los Angeles County are minorities, and about half of them are Latino. Latinos surpassed whites as the largest ethnic or racial group in California in 2015, and we make up nearly 1 out of 5 Americans,” Dennis Romero wrote in the op-ed. “We also accounted for almost 1 out of every 4 tickets purchased by frequent moviegoers in 2015, according to the Motion Picture Assn. of America. In the same year, more Latinos headed to theaters regularly than African Americans and Asians combined.”

Latino actors OscarsA few Latinos have won acting Oscars, according to the Huffington Post:

  • José Ferrer, Best Actor, 1950
  • Anthony Quinn, Best Supporting Actor, 1952 and 1956
  • Rita Moreno, Best Supporting Actress, 1961
  • Benicio de Toro, Best Supporting Actor, 2000

But the last Latino male acting nominees were Demian Bichir in 2012 and Benicio de Toro in 2004. The last Latina acting nominee was Catalina Sandino Moreno in 2005.

Gina Rodriguez, star of “Jane the Virgin,” told studio executives to better serve Latino moviegoers by giving them pictures that are reflective of them, according to Variety.

“You should throw us in a movie or two,” Rodriguez said at a 2018 awards show, then added more here. “It would make sense. We do buy one in every four tickets every single weekend and make sure that your movies do well.”

On the positive side, Latino film directors recently broken through at the Oscars.

Alfonso Cuarón won Best Director (2013, Gravity). Alejandro González Iñárritu won twice (2015, Birdman; 2016, The Revenant).

This year, Guillermo del Toro is up for best director for The Shape Of Water.

“We just have to keep on doing good films and if in the United States these get picked up and they get a little bit of attention, well, it’s great,” Mexican actor and director Gael Garcia Bernal told the Associated Press. “But at the same time, it’s something that is not in our hands. We need to just make good films.”

Santiago Pozo, founder and CEO of Arenas Entertainment, wrote a recent Deadline column, “Oscars Are Black And White, But Not Brown.”

He hopes that the “Academy’s stated aggressive push to become more diverse (not just black and white, but including all the colors of the racial rainbow) will affect the industry in the future.”

“Open the doors to true multiculturalism, not just black and white, not only the establishment, but for all of us,” Pozo wrote. “It will regenerate our decaying business and we will all reap the benefits. If not, we have a rapidly diminishing window of time before going to movies becomes irrelevant to the real world.”

Note: Main photo of Gina Rodriguez, Salma Hayek, Demian Bichir via Variety and REX/Shutterstock

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