As we all know, this year’s Oscars were boycotted by a number of celebrities lead by Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of Will Smith, who sent out a PSA urging the Black community not to partake in anything pertaining to the annual award ceremony. The numbers were clearly there to support her argument of African American disenfranchisement in Hollywood. More so, however, there is another sect of people denied this prestige acknowledgement, if not at the same rate (and, possibly, worse): Latinos.
According to the Huffington Post, just four Latino actors have been nominated for Best Actor. Jose Ferrer was the only nominee to take home the award, in 1950. As for Best Supporting Actor, there have been six nominations among four actors, in which two took home the award: Anthony Quinn and Benicio Del Toro. It has been 15 years sine a Latino or Latina took home an Oscar, leaving one to question: where are the Jada Pinkett Smith’s of the Latin community?
Where is the rebellion needed in order to enforce necessary consideration of such indices in the Hollywood institution for Latino actors and actresses, and where do we stand in the political debate of being included—if not even in Hollywood? A murky place namely where Latinos can be identified (as an example) as the backdrop Mexican gangster to California-based movies like Fast and The Furious, who play to Latin stereotypes, but have yet to honor the heritage as a whole, nor even acknowledge them at the Hollywood table. Does this mean the Latin community lacks a sense of pride in themselves? There is a case to be made that America lacks proper role models and icons to call their own for young Hispanics.
Those who saw Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu win Best Director two years in a row at the Oscars would say improvements have been made in recognizing the Latino as a force in the Hollywood community, however, this is really not the case. For Latinas, the numbers recognize only three actresses have been nominated for Best Actress since the first Oscar award ceremony in 1929. None of the nominations took home the award, with the first nomination of the three coming in 1998, roughly 70 years later.
This is not to take away from the current African American boycott, but we must make a case for the ongoing inability for America, or its Hispanic leaders, to make a call for Latin exclusion throughout institutions to be done away with.