Yalitza Aparicio Brought Her Mother To The Oscars And Other Incredible Things Latinas Did Last Night
The 91st Annual Academy Awards took place Sunday night and this year, it was a night full of glitz, glamour, and, most surprisingly, a lot of Spanish
Heading into the night, many viewed “Roma”, Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón’s artful and semi-autobiographic film, as the Best Picture front-runner and indeed, the film racked up three Oscars. But ultimately, “Roma” lost the Best Picture award to Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book.”
Although The Oscars still woefully under-represent Latinas in almost every category, Netflix’s critical darling, ‘Roma,” has provided a major spotlight for Latinx talent and stories, employing a largely Latinx cast and crew in its production.
Latinos Win Big
Sunday night was a big night for the Latinx community, with Spanish-language film “Roma” amassing three Oscar wins out of a total of 10 nominations. “Roma” wasn’t the only winner for the Latinx community though: Cuban-American director Phil Lord’s animated feature “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse” won for Best Animated Film. All in all, Latinos walked away with Oscars for Foreign Language Film, Cinematography, Directing, and Animated Film.
Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, won the Best Director statue for “Roma”, marking the second year in a row that a Latino has won the award after Guillermo del Toro won last year. Cuarón also won the award for Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film–marking the first time Mexico has landed the award out of a total of ten nominations.
Cuarón began his impassioned acceptance speech Best Director first by thanking “Roma”‘s leading ladies, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira. He then went on to thank the Academy for “recognizing a film centering around an indigenous woman–a character who has historically been relegated to the background in cinema”.
In another win for the Latinx community, “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse” up-ended animation titan Disney to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. “Into the Spiderverse” revolves around the story of an Afro-Latino teenager moonlighting as Spiderman who discovers there are multiple versions of Spiderman in parallel universes.
Latino Director Phil Lord touched on the importance of representation in his acceptance speech, saying: “When we hear that a child turns to their parent and says, “[Spiderman] looks like me’ or ‘He speaks Spanish like us’, we feel like we already won”.
Latina Nominees Break New Ground
Most of the Latinx nominees for the night consisted of “Roma”‘s cast and crew, including Mexican actress Marina de Tavira for Best Supporting Actress, Yalitza Aparicio for Best Leading Actress, producer Gabriela Rodriguez for Best Picture, and set decorator Barbra Enriquez for Achievement in set design.
Yalitza Aparicio’s nomination, especially, was notable, as it was the first time in the Academy’s 90-year history that an Indigenous woman was nominated for Best Actress in a Lead Role.
Although these Latinas didn’t walk away with a gold statue, their presence alone was encouraging enough for the historically under-represented Latinx community.
“It’s possible to speak Spanish at the Oscars now”
The winners and nominees weren’t the only Latinos making a splash at this year’s Academy Awards, however. Oscar-winning Spanish actor Javier Bardem veered into political territory when he presented the award for Best Foreign Language film.
In Spanish, he stated: “There are no borders or walls that can restrain ingenuity and talent,” which many interpreted as a dig aimed at President Trump.
Actor Diego Luna began his introduction of “Roma” by stating, in Spanish:
“Ya se puede hablar español en los Oscars. Ya nos abrieron la puerta y no nos vamos a ir”. Translation: “It’s possible to speak Spanish at the Oscars now. They finally opened the door for us, and we’re not going anywhere.”
Spanish-American Chef José Andrés joined Luna in introducing “Roma”and praised the film for shining a spotlight on “all the invisible people in our lives–immigrants and women–who move humanity forward”.
As usual, Latina Twitter users had a lot to say about Hollywood’s biggest night.
Never one to beat around the bush, political commentator Ana Navarro remarked on the refreshing amount of diversity displayed onstage this year.
Other Latinas gave Alfonso Cuarón props for acknowledging domestic workers, a class of women that Hollywood often ignores:
Nuanced stories centered on domestic workers are few and far between in Hollywood.
This Latina expressed excitement at the novelty of a film featuring an Afro-Latino characters winning Best Animated Film:
Just the phrase “#WeSeeYou” says all that needs to be said about the importance of representation.
Some Latinas expressed disappointment that “Roma” was relegated to the “Foreign Film” category when its story transcended such labels:
Some members of the Latinx community were frustrated that “Roma” wasn’t awarded the Best Picture award.
Many Latinas were here for Javier Bardem condemning border walls:
He was one of the few actors of the night who dared to make a political statement–and in Spanish, no less!
And of course, Yalitza made us all fall in love with her more when she brought her mom.
The Mexican actress didn’t take home an Oscar last night, but there’s no doubting that her presence in Hollywood has changed the future of its landscape. Last night Mexican-American fans of the newcomer gushed about Aparicio’s role in bucking the light-skinned Latina stereotype that has so long been favored in Spanish-language films and TV shows.
Also, her appearance at the Oscars couldn’t have been more defining. After spending awards season turning heads in a series of dresses by Alberta Ferretti, Miu Miu and Prada, Aparicio took to the red carpet a pale tulle custom Rodarte gown designed specifically for her, the actress stepped out onto the red carpet with her mother at her side.
And finally, Latinas everywhere expressed their joy at hearing Spanish proudly spoken at the Oscars
The importance of normalizing Spanish’s presence in day to day life cannot be overstated–especially during a time when many Latinas are afraid to speak Spanish in public.
As usual, the Oscars were a night to remember. We hope that the Academy continues to support actors, producers and filmmakers of Latinx descent into the future.
Recommend this story by clicking the share button below!
Notice any corrections needed? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org