How Latinos stole the Oscars

OPINION Who would have ever thought that Latinos would steal the civil rights Oscar thunder from the film “Selma” on Hollywood’s biggest night when the Academy Awards’…

Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, winner of Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture, for ‘Birdman’ poses in the press room during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Loews Hollywood Hotel on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)


Who would have ever thought that Latinos would steal the civil rights Oscar thunder from the film “Selma” on Hollywood’s biggest night when the Academy Awards’ bleeding heart seemed stuck in the 1960s, what with a symbolic civil rights bridge on stage and sappy white guilt running rampant?

But it did, and today Hollywood and part of America are still trying to figure out how that happened.

SEE ALSO: ‘Birdman’ nabs Mexico the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director

Hollywood, after all, is nothing if not the epicenter of liberalism in the country, from being the cash cow for left-of-center political candidates and causes and on Sunday night appearing to have cleverly tailor-made an Oscar show as a sentimental statement for the perceived slight to “Selma” and black America.

But all those political sentiments aside, the Oscars and America may not have anticipated the developments of the finale of the show that transcended Hollywood and its politics to make an even more important statement about Latinos in the Americas today.

Sean Penn and Alejandro G. Iñarritu are friends.

Actor Sean Penn and producer/director Alejandro G. Inarritu, winner of Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture, for ‘Birdman'(Photo: C Flanigan/Getty Images)

The night’s unexpected turnaround began when Mexican director Alejandro G. Iñárritu won the best directing Oscar for “Birdman,” then took on full steam when his film about a broken down former star attempting a comeback captured Hollywood’s top prize, Best Film at the Academy Awards.

Iñárritu had been winning many of the industry’s awards leading up to the Oscars, but his victory Sunday night – over what seemed to be the consensus favorite “Boyhood” and even the sentimental if overrated “Selma” – appeared to stun an audience of stars and moguls.

Leave it to actor Sean Penn, as symbolic of bleeding heart Hollywood as any other star, while he’s presenting the best film Oscar to slip in the off-color line that some Latinos may have taken offense to: “Who gave this son of a bitch a green card?”

SEE ALSO: Sean Penn’s ‘green card’ joke sparks #Penndejo on Twitter

But that may have just underscored how unanticipated Iñárritu’s triumph may have been.

For no one believes in quotas and Affirmative Action more than bleeding heart white liberals, who dominate the industry’s awards ceremony, and hadn’t the Oscar for best film and best director not gone to a Mexican last year — Alfonso Cuarón for “Gravity”?

Not to mention that this year’s cinematography Oscar went to Mexican Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, who had also won the award for “Gravity” a year ago.

Emmanuel Lubezki won an Oscar.

Emmanuel Lubezki accepts the Best Cinematogrphy Award for “Birdman” (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Sean Penn undoubtedly was kidding, but it may have been the best set-up to what Iñárritu had to say in accepting Hollywood’s highest honor.

“Maybe next year the government will inflict immigration restrictions,” said Iñárritu, recalling last year’s best director winner, Alfonso Cuarón. “Two Mexicans in a row. That’s suspicious, I guess.”

And what better way to tweak the nose of Congress for its foot-dragging on immigration reform, not to mention President Obama’s own late-to-the-party executive actions trying to make up for six years of broken promises to Latinos on immigration.

But Iñárritu’s humorous reply to Penn, with whom he is friends and whom he directed in “21 Grams,” was only a lead-in to his far more serious message.

“I want to dedicate this award to my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico,” said Iñárritu. “I pray that we can find and build a government that we deserve.

“And the ones who live in this country, who are part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect as the ones that came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.”

When was the last time a public official or leader ever, in a setting this large or with an audience of a hundred million or more, ever called upon America to treat its more recent immigrants the way it does its does other Americans, all of them of immigrant stock except possibly the Native American?

Birdman's Mexican director and cinematographer both won Oscars at Sunday's Academy Awards.

Winner for best director, “Birdman” director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. (Photo: Robyn Beck/Getty Images)

Perhaps never.

But there was another message inherent in Iñárritu’s celebration, a message to those bleeding hearts lamenting the perceived slight to people of color at the Oscars, for whom brown apparently is not a color, or a forgotten one at best.

That message: color, race and ethnicity weren’t part of Iñárritu’s Oscar-winning film, unless Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Zack Galifianakis or Emma Stone are all secretly Hispanic.

For Iñárritu’s triumph, a victory for all Latinos, if you will, is uppermost a resounding statement to bleeding heart America that great filmmaking, like all great art and good work, is about skill, talent, dedication, hard work and the gift of God.

SEE ALSO: The road for Mexicans to become best directors in Hollywood

It’s not about reparations for civil rights abuses of the past or present and for ridding oneself of centuries of guilt for an injustice that Americans today didn’t commit, were not a part of, but continue to be played as if they were responsible and have to pay for forgiveness of their sins.

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