By Jack Rico
The 2013 Academy Awards might not have been the most cheerful event for Latino viewers who expected more wins for their own.
This year, out the 24 categories there were only four wins we can claim ours including Best Cinematography for the Chilean Claudio Miranda (who doesn’t speak Spanish) for his work on “Life of Pi,” Best Documentary Short for “Inocente” about a homeless undocumented Latina immigrant who longs to be an artist, Best Documentary Feature for “Searching for Sugar Man” about a musician of Mexican descent named Rodriguez who became bigger than Elvis Presley in South Africa during the 70s, and the biggest win of the night, Best Picture for “Argo,” based on the story of CIA operative Tony Mendez, who though he says is not Hispanic, does admit to having a Mexican bloodline.
Sounds like we’re reaching a little on these “Latinos,” huh? Let’s be frank, Hispanic pride was really absent, for all intents and purposes. If some of these nominees don’t even feel Hispanic, why should we be offering our unconditional, passionate signs of support? But look up! Even though the 2013 Oscar awards weren’t our year in movies, let us reassure you that 2014 holds a brighter horizon for Hispanics in film… in fact we know that the 2014 Oscars will be all about the Hispanic vibe.
From directors to actors, the crème de la crème of Hispanic talent will once again shine this year, in the same way they did back in 2007, and showcase the full wealth of cinematic talent we have to offer as a culture.
How is this possible? Call it coincidence.
Hispanic directors have been hard at work, one even putting out two films this year. Make sure to be on the lookout for: Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón with his sci-fi project “Gravity” starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar with the comedic tale “I’m So Excited,” Mexican director Guillermo del Toro with the sci-fi film “Pacific Rim,” Mexican helmer Alejandro González Iñárritu for the comedy “Birdman,” Mexican-American director Robert Rodriguez with the action thrillers “Machete Kills” and “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” and up-and-coming Mexican helmers Diego Luna with “Chavez” and Michael D. Olmos with “Filly Brown”.
Out of all these big names, Alfonso Cuarón and Pedro Almodovar have the most legitimate chances of being nominated in the Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film categories, respectively. del Toro also has a shot to be nominated in the Visual Effects category.
But this year not only promises to be a feat for directors but for actors as well. In 2013 we are seeing Latinos everywhere from roles big to small. It seems that the Latino actor has become a hot trend in films thanks to Hispanic moviegoers showing Hollywood who’s boss at the box office, right Universal Pictures?
Await for: Dominican and Puerto Rican actress Zoe Saldana is coming strong with three blockbusters each guaranteed to please a variety of tastes. The awaited sci-fi action film “Star Trek into Darkness,” “Nina” where she plays the jazz musician and classical pianist herself, and the thriller “Blood Ties” where she is among stars like Mila Kunis and Marion Cotillard; Sonia Braga, Alice Braga, Diego Luna and Talisa Soto will be in the action packed sci-fi “Elysium;” Michelle Rodriguez will return in the latest “Fast and Furious” as well as the animated film “Turbo” where she will be joined by Luis Guzman and Michael Peña; Jessica Alba, Alexa Vega and Rosario Dawson in the sexy neo-noir styled action film “Sin City: A Dame to Kill for;” Eva Mendez in the emotion filled drama “The Place Beyond the Pines;” Selena Gomez in the girls gone wild film “Spring Breakers” and the thriller “Getaway;” Gina Rodriguez and the late Jenni Rivera will play a daughter/mother duo in the awaited urban drama “Filly Brown;” America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson and Michael Peña in the bio-pic of a Mexican civil-rights leader in “Chavez;” Danny Trejo, Sofía Vergara, Antonio Banderas, and Demián Bichir, will be joined by Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez and Alexa Vega in the obviously Latino packed “Machete Kills;” Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Paz Vega bring out their comedic side in the hilarious flick “I’m So Excited,” and last but not least Penélope Cruz will also appear with hubby Javier Bardem along with Cameron Diaz, John Leguizamo and Rosie Perez in the drug trafficking thriller story “The Counselor”. That’s not including Salma Hayek who is part of the indie film – “As Luck Would Have It”. As you can see, the biggest names in the Hispanic movie industry all coincided with 2013 releases, some high profile, other lower profile. Nevertheless, the best chances of Oscar nominations will go to Bardem and Cruz for in the Supporting Acting categories.
2007 set a surreal Hispanic film movement at the Academy Awards when three Mexican directors – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro – dubbed The Three Amigos, were nominated for a total of 16 awards combined! Even a Best Actress nomination went to Penélope Cruz for her role in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Volver”.
2014 perhaps won’t equal that number of nominations, but it will solidify our contributions to cinema. And who knows, we may even win a few.