The brouhaha over the lack of diversity in the Oscars

OPINION My childhood was spent dreaming about becoming a film actress. I surely thought that dream could come true if I took part in school plays, but that was not to be. The acting parts typically went to the Anglo students; we Mexicans were relegated to portraying trees, vegetables, animals, or serving as stagehands. However, by high school some of that discriminatory thinking began to change. I credit our high school drama teacher, Mr. von Rosenberg who started the change–so long as you delivered the part he didn’t care what color you were or what accent you carried. SEE ALSO: ‘Spare Parts’ film proves there are great roles for Latino actors, just not enough I still remember the day I auditioned for the role of Hippolyta in Midsummer’s Night Dream. This is was my one big chance to nail a major role and be on my way to Hollywood. But as much as Mr. Von Rosenberg tried to bring me along I couldn’t deliver the role of the Amazonian Queen Hippolyta. My dream of becoming an actress ended that day. I didn’t whine, didn’t blame anyone, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it hurt to the loose the role. Since my life wasn’t going to be in films I became a movie buff; watching Roy Rogers and Gene Autry westerns after school and watching even more movies on weekends with my family. I can’t remember the first time I watched the “Academy Awards” (since 2013 there are known as the “Oscars”) on television but I haven’t missed a year since. Of course, as a Mexican I always wanted to see another Mexican appear in movies or even more importantly, win the much coveted, “Oscar.” But that hasn’t been the case. Although interestingly, the statue of the “Oscar” was designed based on the real life figure of the Mexican film director and actor, Emilio “El Indio” Fernandez. As it turned out, in 1928 MGM’s Art Director Cedar Gibbons was tasked with designing the Academy Awards statue and his future wife, Dolores Del Rio recommended her friend Emilio. So there you have it, a Mexican, is the image upon which the Oscar was designed. And that is where the influence of Latinos in Oscar life starts and ends. It’s no secret that minorities in this country haven’t been a part of the major “Hollywood” movie scene. Just as when I was a child, minorities have been traditionally relegated to playing minor roles that don’t fall in the category of “Oscar” nomination material. Admittedly, there is a growing influence in Hollywood among minorities especially from the African American community. During the past 20 years we’ve seen more and more African American actors and creators win Oscars. Yet, after the Oscar nominations were announced last week, we read screaming headlines about the lack of diversity among the list of actor nominees. The Rev. Al Sharpton got so worked up he called for an emergency meeting to discuss taking action against the academy awards’ power leaders. Which makes one wonder, when Sharpton has his meeting will he speaking “diversity” inclusive of which group or groups? Blacks? Hispanics? Native Americans? Asians? We know that none of these groups, except Blacks have any kind of footing in the Hollywood door so will Sharpton now become the leader in “all things Hollywood” for all groups left out of important movie roles, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations? In other words, what is his agenda that makes movie sense? We know that movies, unlike other careers in our society, are based on the story line of the day and in turn actors are chosen to play the roles accordingly. In turn, the actor that best outperforms his or her peers is recognized for their work. Nominations for best this and best that, shouldn’t be based on achieving a diverse quota but rather they should be based on the performance of the actor period. SEE ALSO: Another great year for Mexican directors at the Oscars We movie goers watch movies to be entertained but no doubt, many of us would be proud to see a member of our respective racial or ethnic community perform on any given day; however, if the story line doesn’t call for such we shouldn’t force the issue. Let’s stop whining about the list of nominations for movie awards and start demanding that more diverse actors and creators be HIRED in movies period. But like anything else these individuals must be able to demonstrate their talent. And I am not sure how Sharpton or anyone else can make that happen.The post The brouhaha over the lack of diversity in the Oscars appeared first on Voxxi.

Guía de Regalos

Executive Producer Paul Garnes, Common, Oprah Winfrey, Director Ava DuVernay, David Oyelowo, and John Legend attend a special screening of ‘Selma,’ presented by Paramount Pictures on January 18, 2015 in Selma, Alabama. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

OPINION

My childhood was spent dreaming about becoming a film actress. I surely thought that dream could come true if I took part in school plays, but that was not to be. The acting parts typically went to the Anglo students; we Mexicans were relegated to portraying trees, vegetables, animals, or serving as stagehands.

However, by high school some of that discriminatory thinking began to change. I credit our high school drama teacher, Mr. von Rosenberg who started the change–so long as you delivered the part he didn’t care what color you were or what accent you carried.

SEE ALSO: ‘Spare Parts’ film proves there are great roles for Latino actors, just not enough

I still remember the day I auditioned for the role of Hippolyta in Midsummer’s Night Dream. This is was my one big chance to nail a major role and be on my way to Hollywood. But as much as Mr. Von Rosenberg tried to bring me along I couldn’t deliver the role of the Amazonian Queen Hippolyta.

My dream of becoming an actress ended that day. I didn’t whine, didn’t blame anyone, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it hurt to the loose the role.

Since my life wasn’t going to be in films I became a movie buff; watching Roy Rogers and Gene Autry westerns after school and watching even more movies on weekends with my family. I can’t remember the first time I watched the “Academy Awards” (since 2013 there are known as the “Oscars”) on television but I haven’t missed a year since.

Of course, as a Mexican I always wanted to see another Mexican appear in movies or even more importantly, win the much coveted, “Oscar.” But that hasn’t been the case. Although interestingly, the statue of the “Oscar” was designed based on the real life figure of the Mexican film director and actor, Emilio “El Indio” Fernandez. As it turned out, in 1928 MGM’s Art Director Cedar Gibbons was tasked with designing the Academy Awards statue and his future wife, Dolores Del Rio recommended her friend Emilio. So there you have it, a Mexican, is the image upon which the Oscar was designed. And that is where the influence of Latinos in Oscar life starts and ends.

It’s no secret that minorities in this country haven’t been a part of the major “Hollywood” movie scene. Just as when I was a child, minorities have been traditionally relegated to playing minor roles that don’t fall in the category of “Oscar” nomination material. Admittedly, there is a growing influence in Hollywood among minorities especially from the African American community. During the past 20 years we’ve seen more and more African American actors and creators win Oscars. Yet, after the Oscar nominations were announced last week, we read screaming headlines about the lack of diversity among the list of actor nominees.

The Rev. Al Sharpton got so worked up he called for an emergency meeting to discuss taking action against the academy awards’ power leaders. Which makes one wonder, when Sharpton has his meeting will he speaking “diversity” inclusive of which group or groups? Blacks? Hispanics? Native Americans? Asians? We know that none of these groups, except Blacks have any kind of footing in the Hollywood door so will Sharpton now become the leader in “all things Hollywood” for all groups left out of important movie roles, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations? In other words, what is his agenda that makes movie sense?

We know that movies, unlike other careers in our society, are based on the story line of the day and in turn actors are chosen to play the roles accordingly. In turn, the actor that best outperforms his or her peers is recognized for their work. Nominations for best this and best that, shouldn’t be based on achieving a diverse quota but rather they should be based on the performance of the actor period.

SEE ALSO: Another great year for Mexican directors at the Oscars

We movie goers watch movies to be entertained but no doubt, many of us would be proud to see a member of our respective racial or ethnic community perform on any given day; however, if the story line doesn’t call for such we shouldn’t force the issue.

Let’s stop whining about the list of nominations for movie awards and start demanding that more diverse actors and creators be HIRED in movies period. But like anything else these individuals must be able to demonstrate their talent. And I am not sure how Sharpton or anyone else can make that happen.

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The post The brouhaha over the lack of diversity in the Oscars appeared first on Voxxi.