Diversity Wins at the Oscars But Not Inclusive of U.S. Latinos

The presence of Asians and Asian-Americans was indeed impressive this year, with many firsts. Minari, the story about a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm searching for the American dream, received five Academy Award nominations. Lee Isaac Chung received a nomination for best director; Steven Yeun, became the first Asian American to be nominated in the best actor category, while Yuh-Jung Youn, took home the Best Supporting Actress golden statuette. Photo: ABC

By Bel Hernandez, Latin Heat Entertainment

Oscar wins for Latinos came mainly in the behind-the-camera categories, where they were part of the creative teams.

The 93rd Oscars (Photo: ABC) Mia Neal, Kamika Wilson,Sergio Lopez-Rivera
(Photo: ABC)

Carlos Cortes was part of the win for the Oscar award for sound to Sound of Metal. The team also included Jaime Baksht, Phillip Bladh and Michelle Couttolenc.

Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Viola Davis’ personal make-up artist, received an Oscar for Best Make-up, the first Latino to do so. His two partners, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, also became the first African Americans to win the Oscar for their work as hairstylists for Ma’ Rainey’s Black Bottom. [Featured photo]

In the press room, Lopez-Rivera, when fielding questions about diversity, commented, “We look forward to the time when these questions [of diversity] are moot.” 

Although nominated, there was no win for El agente topp (The Mole Agent), the documentary from Chile  El agente topo (The Mole Agent)

Rita Moreno (Photo: ABC)

The only two Latino presenters were EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) actress Rita Moreno. She presented the Best Picture Oscar to the producers of Nomadland.  While Oscar-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix, who many don’t know was born in Puerto Rico, presented the lead actor and actress award at the end of the show to Anthony Hopkins for Best Actor in The Father and Francis McDormand for Best Actress in Nomadland.

It was a different kind of night at the Academy Awards.  The first time the Oscars aired from various venues, the Dolby¨ Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center¨in Hollywood, and international locations via satellite. The usual star-studded event, with not as many A-list actors in attendance.  However, we still got a glimpse of the designer gowns as the stars walked the red carpet, still following safe distancing as required. Instead of an orchestra and dance numbers, there was celebrity DJ Questlove “scratching” us off to and back from commercials. But what was all too familiar was the scant presence of U.S. Latinos on the Oscar nomination ballot.