Latinos Left Out

Updated: Nov 14, 2018


For four of the past five years, Mexican directors have taken home the top prize in that category at the Oscars.


Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water in 2018, Alejandro Iñárritu for Birdman in 2015, and again in 2016 with The Revenant, and Alfonso Cuarón in 2014 with Gravity. But these films have more in common than just their directors country of origin…like their profound critical acclaim, their unconventional plot lines…and there was one more thing…what was it?

These three directors call themselves the Three Amigos, and in doing so, demonstrate an understanding of the benefits of camaraderie in an industry that has historically excluded foreigners and people of color.

There are no Latinx people in these films.


Leaving the Latinx artist community asking: Where the brown people at?


The reaction by the Latinx community to the success of these directors has been a mixed bag at best. Is it possible to applaud great artists, but also to be genuinely disappointed at the lack of attention they’ve given to a vast, talented and hungry community of Latinx artists vying for bigger opportunities and better representation in a community from which they have been systematically and routinely excluded and replaced by white actors for decades? Yup.


Most notably, Inarritu’s Birdman, one of my favorite films of 2015, set in New York City, quite possibly had the biggest missed opportunity to reflect the ethnic diversity that exists there. The entire cast was made up of caucasian actors. Unless of course you include Oscar-winning Asian-American actress, Emma Stone.

I’m kidding Emma, we can still totes be BFFs.


These three directors call themselves the Three Amigos, and in doing so, demonstrate an understanding of the benefits of camaraderie in an industry that has historically excluded foreigners and people of color.


So why not show a little love to the Latinx community that supports your work and watches your films? Ya feel?


And look, I can sit here and spout out statistics about how vastly underrepresented Latinx people are in film, how much growth and buying power exists in our community, and how aggressively we can thrash a rainbow striped baby pinata when we want something badly enough, to justify my point, but I won’t. That’s what hyperlinks and family video archives are for.


And it would be unfair to put the fate of the entire Latinx film community into the hands of three talented directors who happened to have achieved enormous success with years of hard work and commitment to their craft, or to overlook the professional pressures they might feel when working in the U.S.-based market such as the need to cast bankable stars to open movies. Which then begs the question, when is it the right time to stop succumbing to these pressures and start giving Latinx artists the ability to become bankable?


American Latinos face unique challenges in uniting artist communities given that our cultural roots span over two continents. And we are certainly as diverse as you would expect people to be originating from almost three dozen different independent countries. But that still isn’t an excuse not to support eachother where and when we can.


How do ya like that? Kum-bay-fucking-ya.


So, Guillermo, Alejandro, Alfonso, you can count on the support of the Latinx community, but keep in mind that unconditional love…only exists in the movies