Little to no Latinos in this year's Oscar nominations
The relationship between Latinos and the awards remains largely asymmetrical.
On March 15, La Llorona had at least a couple of new good reasons to complain. Despite the usual novelties of each year, the nominations and final races for the Oscars was absolutely miserable for Latinx talent.
Some newspapers opened with the nomination of Maite Alberdi's El agente topo as "Best Documentary," along with My Octopus Teacher, Time, Crip Camp and Collective.
The film deals with loneliness in a nursing home mediated by Sergio Chamy, who enters as a double secret agent.
Four of five films nominated for Documentary Feature are #DirectedbyWomen! @CripCampFilm by @NicoleNewnham and @JimLeBrecht, @moleagentfilm by @lamaitealberdi, "My Octopus Teacher" by @PippaEhrlich and James Reed, and "Time" by Garrett Bradley! Congrats to all! #OscarNoms pic.twitter.com/G7DjS6s1St
— agnès films (@agnesfilms) March 15, 2021
In an interview with the LA Times, the director expressed her thoughts on her chances for the award.
"As a woman I think that in any field we have to [deal with] barriers and impossibilities. And to be nominated for an Oscar, being a Latina filmmaker and a documentary filmmaker, is something that is beyond our dreams," she said.
However, the nomination doesn't overcome the fact that there were important absences in the "Best International Film" category, where Chile, Mexico or Guatemala could have appeared again alongside films such as Ya no estoy aquí and La llorona. No Latin American country qualified in the category, once again, which this year, will pit Denmark (Another Round), Japan (Better Days), Romania (Collective), Tunisia (The Man Who Sold His Skin), and Bosnia (Quo Vadis, Aida?) against each other.
This absence is all the more striking because Latinos account for one out of every four moviegoers, some 60 million in the United States. Therefore, it is not known whether La Llorona would have more reason for grief for the absence in the international category or for the fading of Latino nominees among all the awards.
Some will say that some of last year's most anticipated Latino releases were simply delayed by the pandemic, but when we get into the titles, there are mostly musicals and Lin-Manuel Miranda adaptations.
It is tempting with that, and with the results of the Golden Globes and Grammys, to try to draw conclusions:
It seems, firstly, that the presence of Latinos and Latinas only shines brighter in terms of marketing when it comes to globally entrenched products such as pop or reggaeton.
Secondly, there is interest in social fiction from the continent, but what about the rest of the genres in which Latinos also excel?
There are some of the multiple categories in which they have been nominated but are still underrepresented. Jaime Baksht and Carlos Cortés are the Mexican sound engineers of El sonido del metal, which have six nominations.
Guatemalan Elvira Lind was nominated for best short film for The Letter Room, a category in which, to everyone's surprise, Pedro Almodovar's latest English-language short film did not appear.
This year's Oscars have been delayed a couple of months to weather the impact of the pandemic measures and to come up with a good format, so the final gala will be held in multiple venues on April 25 including LA's Dolby Theatre and Union Station.