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Where’s the Latino Oscar Buzz?

Where’s the Latino Oscar Buzz?

Posted by Juan Gavasa on February 21, 2015

It’s Oscar time again, and you haven’t heard a peep from director Diego Luna griping that his film about heroic farm labor leader Cesar Chavez didn’t get nominated for Best Picture or any other Academy Award.

And the small-budget film, “Cesar Chavez,” Oscar buzz or no Oscar buzz, had some strong points in it.

Michael Peña’s portrayal of the Latino civil rights leader was every bit as good as David Oyelowo’s in “Selma,” the Oscar-nominated film for best picture about Martin Luther King’s voting rights march that has had many African Americans complaining about Academy Awards slights.

As if, real life awards for film-making were supposed to have some kind of Affirmative Action quotas or be like Little League where every participant gets a trophy.

Oscars snub Latinos

By contrast, historically, there hasn’t been this same kind of moaning and groaning from most Latinos, griping that Hispanic actors haven’t been nominated in numbers that would seem representative of the nation’s demographics.

And yet, unless my reading of Census Bureau numbers is wrong, Latinos now outnumber blacks in America by a significant margin. Not to mention that Latinos are also a sizable bigger chunk of the movie-ticket buyers than African Americans.

Alfonso Cuaron accepting the award for best director for “Gravity” during the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. In 2013 the Latino director won the Oscar for best director in 2014, making him the first Mexican in history to receive the accolade.  (AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater)

Where’s the Latino Oscar Buzz?

Why is that?

Why hasn’t there been a furor among Hispanics like we’ve seen from blacks over the fact that “Cesar Chavez” hasn’t been an awards darling at Oscar time, or perceived slights such as the fact that director Robert Rodriguez has never won an Academy Award or even a Golden Globe.

For crying out loud, shouldn’t Antonio Banderas be nominated every year, regardless of whether he’s made a movie, or no matter how bad it’s been? Should Salma Hayek pull some kind of stupid Kanye West antic at the Oscars and take to the stage at Best Actress time to make some kind embarrassing self-serving scene?

But, of course, we won’t see that kind of ridiculous behavior from Hispanic artists, just as most Latinos while wishing that more Hispanics were in the entertainment business aren’t going to realistically expect that any Latino-themed movie or their actors be honored as if it were our “Citizen Kane.”

And, for the record, “Citizen Kane” didn’t win a Best Picture Oscar, losing out to “How Green Was My Valley,” in 1942 – ever heard of that one? Alfred Hitchcock never won an Academy Award either, and Francis Ford Coppola didn’t win best director for “The Godfather.”

The artists from all those films, though, were winners nevertheless – and especially so for not being sore losers.

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