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

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. 
Books, France, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Renni Brown, self editing, Shelly Lowenkopf, Toni Lopopolo, writer routines, Writing, Writing Resources, writing tips

Tips for an Incredible Writing Weekend

It is the evening of my departure for my month long adventure to France. Some anticipatory butterflies are fluttering through my stomach. 

My bags and travel apps are packed. (And yes, I do need to recharge the battery). 

The kids have heard the Riot Act in a couple of different versions. Everything seems like a go, but I’m sure once I’m on the airplane I’ll remember one or two things that are sitting on my dresser at home and not in my suitcase. 

I know I’ll miss my family, my boyfriend, my dog Chip, (but not KiKi the cat- the feeling is mutual). What I didn’t expect was something that crossed my mind a few minutes ago. 

I’m really going to miss my writing ritual. 

The one where I roll out of bed, stretch, push the power button on my laptop,before I go into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee and return to my swivel chair with a big mug of steaming coffee, a dash of half and half, and my peanut butter toast. For two hours, sometimes more, I type, refill the coffee cup, and blow crumbs off my desk.

When my friend Amada and I arrive in Upper Normandy on the 1st of September we will have to  establish new writing routines. Luckily both of us are early morning writers and both of us like quiet. 

During this Labor Day weekend, I’m sure you will want to squeeze in some time to put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. With that thought I’d like to share some tips for your writing weekend. 

1-These 10 gems for first time novelists to think about are from former St. Martin’s Press editor Toni Lopopolo, Agent in her “Bare Knuckle Writing Workshops.” One of the most important tip is: 

Mistake # 9: Poor Self Editing Skills: FTNs haven’t learned to self edit by editing other writers’ fiction, or by reading the recommended books

Sure, you can pay for a professional edit (anywhere from $4 a page to a flat rate of $ 2000) or you can learn how to self edit, make your story stronger, and save the $$$ for a trip abroad or a new roof.

2-A terrific book, Self Editing for Fiction Writers (How to Edit Yourself into Print) by Renni Browne and Dave King (Editors at William Morrow and Writer’s Digest) is a must for a writer. I belong to a writing group, a writing club, and recently the Goodreads pick for our online writer’s group, Wordsmith Studio. This book has been a must read for all three groups. 

The topics which first time novelists find hard to grasp and usually lack in their stories are:

  •  three dimensional characters, 
  • maintaining point of view, 
  • interior monologue, and 
  • voice

This handy reference book delves into subjects such as showing and telling in a way as to engage the readers’ emotionsEach of the 12 Chapters has a checklist so that you can apply the concepts to your work. 

If you’re not at the self editing stage yet, here are some amazing questions and tips about story, from an instructor I’ve had the privilege to meet. 

3-Shelley Lowenkopf is an editor, writer, and Professor Emeritus at USC. In his Seven Things You Write A Story to Discover you are asked to consider the who, what, where, why and more of story. The question, “Why should we care?” is most important.

We tend to care about stories dramatizing experiences that squeeze characters in ways similar to the squeezes and pressures we have experienced.  We care if someone we identify with is vulnerable.” 

 If the reader doesn’t care, they will stop reading. End of story. 

4-For those of you who are in the throes of revision here’s a handy guide that explains editing marks-you know those scribbles all over your work in progress or manuscript.  

Author’s Success Platform

I’m going to skip tip # 5 for another day, another post, because this one is longer than I anticipated. IF you have a 5th tip let us know in the comment section. We really want to know.


Now, I must get back to the suitcase on the floor and cast out some unlucky clothes. 

And remember, before you start your Writer’s Weekend please:


 Au Revoir Mon Ami’s.