Academy Awards Re-Cap: Few Latino Nominees, Historical Wins, and Political Statements

The excitement over Latino-directed films dominating the Academy Awards in recent years has died. Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman took home the statue for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay at the 2015 awards and his masterpiece The Revanant won Iñarritu the award for Best Director (which also got Leonardo DiCaprio his first Oscar for Best Actor) at the 2016 awards.

There were a few nominations for Latino’s at this year’s show, including Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s Moana for Best Original Song, Rodrigo Prieto for cinematography, and although Chilean director Pablo Larraín didn’t get nominated, his film Jackie got nods for Best Actress, Best Original Score, and Best Costume Design.

While this year’s Academy Awards lacked Latino nominees in major categories, and in general, there were many political statements made. Gael García Bernal, before presenting the award for Best Animated Feature Film, made his position on President Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico wall clear: “As a Mexican, as a Latin American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I’m against any form of wall that wants to separate us.” Followed by applause, and an audience donning blue ribbons in support of the ACLU, Gael made a protest statement at an otherwise conservative event. Go Gael!

Given that Moonlight took home the award for Best Picture (after La La Land is mistakenly awarded), Viola Davis became the first African American actress to win an Oscar, Emmy, and a Tony for acting, after her win for Best Supporting Actress in Fences, and Mahershala Ali is the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar, strides have been made for women, immigrants, Muslims, and African Americans, who continue to be underrepresented, and unrecognized in film and awards shows. Hopefully the excitement of wins from this year’s Academy Awards carries over to next year, and so on.