Latinos and the 2013 Oscars: Mixed Feelings

from Inocente’s FB: Daniel Day Lewis, Inocente, Filmmakers
Last night an article, “2013 Oscars see big loss for Latino filmmakers” by NBC Latino, said “Hispanic audiences had big hopes…, but it was an evening of mixed emotions with just one win for a Latino nominee (Claudio Miranda for “Life of Pi”) and three wins for films with Latino main characters (“Inocente,” “Sugar Man” and  ”Argo”).” 

The ‘mixed emotions,’ weren’t from the amount of Oscar wins, it was from the mixed feelings of anger and disappointment which put a damper on the positive contributions of Latinos actors, directors, designers, and stories. 

The anger came from comments such as these: 

Seth McFarlane’s equal opportunity lame joke when he introduced Salma Hayek, 

 “We’ve reached the point where Javier Bardem, Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz takes the stage and we have no idea what they’re saying, but we don’t care because they’re so attractive.” 

This isn’t the first, or last, swipe that a television host will take at Latino accents. 

We heard it from Ricky Gervais when he recently hosted the Golden Globes and said he “…couldn’t f*** understand what (Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek) are saying.” We hear from Ellen DeGeneres on the TV commercial with Sofia Vergara, “…well no one can understand you.” (I’ll never buy those products).

The disappointment was from the omission of Lupe Ontiveros from the “In Memoriam” gallery.


Felix Sanchez, chairman and co-founder of National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, told Fox News Latino,

“U.S. Latino actors remain mostly on the lower rungs of official Hollywood,” Sanchez said. “The catch-22 comes from the disparity of the work: Latino actors of Lupe’s generation played mostly low socioeconomic roles, and despite this truth, Lupe’s filmology is substantial and many of her acting film credits are from films honored by their inclusion in the Library of Congress’ prestigious National Film Registry.”

Throughout her career, Ontiveros had been an advocate for breaking Latino stereotypes in Hollywood. In 2009, Ontiveros told CNN she was upset that she was continually being cast as a housekeeper, one she played over 300 times in her 35 year career.

“It’s upsetting to any culture when that is the only projection you have of that culture,” Ontiveros said. “You’re pigeonholed, stereotyped…when I go in speaking perfect English, I don’t get the part…”

You can be talented, win Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, whatever and the Latino actor accents become the butt of racist jokes or their contributions get left out, in front of several million viewers.There is still so much farther to go in getting the respect Latino’s in the film industry should receive.

Now for the other part of the mixed feelings, the positive ones: 
  • Searching for Sugar Man,” a movie about the life of singer and songwriter Sixto Rodríguez, a Latino from Detroit who became a prominent figure in South Africa during the early 70s, took home the Oscar for best documentary. He was called “one of the greatest singers ever” by the film’s Swedish director, Malik Bendjelloul, who accepted the Oscar.
  • Inocente” earned an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. The film tells the story of a 15-year-old female artist – the young artist I blogged about – who takes on homelessness and immigration laws in San Diego, California.
  • Argo,” for telling the story of Antonio Mendes, the CIA operative who lived the real story and wrote the book “Argo.”
  • Claudio Miranda, cinematographer of “Life of Pi.” He was nominated for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” in 2009 also.
  • Paco Delgado, designer for his period costumes of “Les Miserables.”
    from Huffington Post
  • For the several Latino/a actors, directors who made well received movies in 2012 and all of those nominated for awards.
  • For Salma Hayek, in her incredible dress and gracefulness on the red carpet, looking every bit of a movie star, not only a “Latina star.” 
There are many more good feelings to remember about Latinos and the Oscars, especially when we look to the future, which includes:
  • Abe Diaz, the 18 year old student from DePaul University, the winner of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “The Oscar Experience College Search” contest for aspiring filmmakers.
Now if we could only get television hosts who knew how to crack a good joke without disparaging so many people. I’m not holding my breath on that one. 


Categories: Abe Diaz, Antonio Mendes, Argo, Claudio Miranda, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Inocente, Latinas, Latinos and the Oscars, Lupe Ontiveros, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, Sixto Rodriguez, Sugar Man

2 replies

  1. I didn't get a chance to watch the Oscars. I didn't even know that people still made disparaging comments about Latino accents nowadays 😦 I'm also surprised (and saddened) that Ontiveros was cast as a housekeeper so many times.
    I hope that there will be more positive comments and recognition in the near future!

    Like

  2. Thanks Jennifer, I appreciate your comments.

    Like

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