Fourteen Years Later and a Latina is Finally Nominated for Best Actress

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Published January 30, 2019
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The Montclarion
Ocsar statues sit lined up for the award show. Photo courtesy of Prayitno via Flickr

Let’s assume there aren’t currently 58 million Latinos located in the United States. Although, as stated by Pew Research Center, “the Hispanic population continues to expand, reaching a record 58.6 million in 2017, according to the Census Bureau’s latest estimates.”

The Latino community continues to expand rapidity, and according to Census Bureau, “the Hispanic growth rate followed at 2.0 percent, exceeding that of blacks, 0.9 percent, and whites, decrease of < 0.1 percent.”

However, even with the rapid growth of the Latino population there still lacks a major representation of Latinos in the film industry, and the Oscars clearly demonstrate the negligence toward our presence.

The Oscars are known to be the symbol of the highest achievement for directors, filmmakers, producers, actors, actresses, costume designers, makeup artists, sound producers and more.

The Academy Awards recognizes truly the best of the best from Hollywood to international films. The diversity of film genres ranges from short skits to animation to foreign language films to documentaries.

There are several parts needed in order to establish these films, prominently for a best picture nominated film, such as “Roma.”

The Netflix film “Roma,” directed and written by Alfonso Cuaron, truly grasps the essence of how a Latina should be represented. The lead actress in the film, Yalitza Aparicio, was recognized for her indigenous Mexican culture in which she demonstrated her soul, compassion and struggles as a woman.

Aparicio beautifully played Cleo, an authentic Mexican domestic worker, while not taking a single acting class or having a background in acting, according to her IMDB biography.

Without any acting experience, Aparicio became the first Latina to be nominated for an Oscar for best actress in 14 years.

It took an immense amount of time because of the Academy’s lack of diversity overall. In 2016, many people on Twitter protested the Oscars with the hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite,” which constituted a large controversy within the film industry as a whole.

Latina female actresses especially must be the typical tall, beautiful, perfectly robust character who possesses little to no personality in a majority of films.

One example is actress Sofia Vergara, who plays the infamously simple-minded and objectified Latina woman. Her films include but are not limited to, “Chasing Papi” in 2003, where she plays Spicy Cici who falls in love with a gorgeous man, and 2015’s “Hot Pursuit,” where she uses her body and looks to benefit her throughout the film.

Cuaron broke the stereotype of what it means to be a Latina and presented to the world a fresh image of a community that is typically suppressed by Hollywood’s fabrications.

The cycles of inequality and outcast for Latinas in the film industry could come to a halt because of Aparicio’s ability to prove that Latinas are capable of more than what their conventional beauty retains them to.

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