On Monday at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA the Hollywood elite gathered to celebrate the nominees for the upcoming 90th Oscars on March 4. With the shadow of Harvey Weinstein looming over The Academy, and the #metoo movement bringing light to that shade, over 50 protestors gathered at the luncheon to make their voices heard as well.
Due to the underrepresentation in films, many protestors were out in force with signs that read, “enough is enough” while chanting “Latinos excluded, time to be included.” According to a report by Stacy L. Smith, an associate professor at the University of California, Latinos make up 23 percent of the movie-goer population. However, only 3 percent of speaking characters in film throughout the last decade were Latino.
The lack of diversity in film has been increasingly apparent that it sparked a social movement in 2015 with the introduction of #OscarsSoWhite. While small steps of progress have been made, there is no denying that there is still much more work to be done. This year none of the acting nominees are Latino but, Mexico-born Guillermo del Toro is nominated for Best Director and Original Screenplay. The protest leader, Alex Nogales president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, told Deadline that the protest was not about the Oscars but about studio helms not taking accountability.
In his statement to Deadline, Nogales says, “The reason we’re here is because the heads of all the studios are inside, and they’re not utilizing Latino talent, neither in front of nor behind the cameras.” He then added, “For years the success of the major film studios has been won on the backs of U.S. Latinos who represent 23% of all movie-ticket buyers and 18% of the U.S. population. Yet, on- and off-screen and in the narratives Hollywood’s movies tell, Latinos remain the most underrepresented minority in the industry. Enough is enough.”
In a report done by Avya Skincare, since the Oscars began in 1928, only 34 Hispanics have been nominated for Best Actor/Actress in lead and supporting roles and Best Director. Out of these 34, only Jose Ferrer won best actor for his role in “Cyrano de Bergerac” and no Hispanic woman has been named best actress.
Other attendees at the protest included famed producer Moctesuma Esparza whose credits include ‘Selena,’ Arenas Entertainment founder and CEO Santiago Pozo, president of MALDEF Thomas A. Saenz, and former Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina.
At the protest, Mr. Moctesuma stated, “Latinos, like all human beings, want to see themselves represented on screen.”