Entertainment

The 2021 Oscar Nominations Have Arrived and, Once Again, Almost No Latinos Were Nominated

Photo via Getty Images

The 2021 Oscar nominations were announced today and, as usual, it was a bittersweet affair. Like every year, movie fans have taken to their social media and group chats to discuss the artists and project who deserved–or didn’t deserve–their nominations.

But many Latinos who are concerned with Latino representation onscreen couldn’t help but notice a distinct lack of Latinos nominated in any of the major categories.

In the major categories, only one Latino was nominated for anything–Panamanian-American director Shaka King. The “Judas and The Black Messiah” director was nominated both for Best Original Screenplay as well as Best Picture.

But other than that one lone nominee, the Academy failed to recognize any other Latinos. This was a disappointment to fans of Latin American films like Guatemalan film “La Llorona” or Mexican film “Ya no estoy aqui“–both of which were considered frontrunners for the Best International Feature Film category.

Despite the disappointing amount of Latinos nominated this year, the Academy has otherwise been making strides in its commitment to diversity.

Steven Yeun is the first Asian-American actor, to be nominated for Best Actor for his work in in “Minari”. Two female directors, Emerald Fennel and Chloé Zhao, are nominated for Best Director, for “Promising Young Woman” and “Nomadland”, respectively. The latter is the first female director of Asian descent to be nominated in that category.

Riz Ahmed is the first Muslim actor to be nominated for Best Actor for his work in “Sound of Metal”. Not only that, but the Academy has nominated many Black artists this year. And notably, with her fourth nomination for her work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, Viola Davis has become the most-nominated Black actress in Oscar history.

Despite the strides in overall inclusivity, some Latinos took to Twitter to express their ultimate disappointment.

One of the loudest voices was “Arrow” actor Kirk Acevedo, who rattled off statistics that didn’t look too good for the Academy.

“Not 1 F—–g Latino Actor, Actress, Director or Writer nominated at this years Oscars,” he erroneously wrote (again, Shaka King is Latino, of Panamanian descent). “Not only this Oscar year but almost every Oscar year. He continued: “A reminder: Latinos represent 1/5 of the United States & 25% of ALL income at the U.S. box office. WE EXIST!”

Considering how large the Los Angeles Latino population is, there is no excuse not to hire Latinos.

Hollywood needs to make a real concerted effort to recruit Latino talent in front of and behind the camera. Only when more Latinos are in powerful positions–be that on the creative or business side–will we start seeing real change.

Until then, we’ll probably be writing another story exactly like this come next Oscar season.

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After 17 Seasons “Grey’s Anatomy” Has Finally Cast Its First Indigenous Doctor

Entertainment

After 17 Seasons “Grey’s Anatomy” Has Finally Cast Its First Indigenous Doctor

Courtesy of ABC

Just when you thought “Grey’s Anatomy” had literally done every storyline in the book, they turn around and surprise you. And this time, “Grey”‘s is bringing some good news.

Now, in 2021, after 17 seasons, “Grey’s Anatomy” is finally featuring its first indigenous doctor, Dr. James Chee, played by actor Robert I Mesa.

Robert I Mesa is an actor of Navajo and Soboba descent. According to an online biography, Mesa is self-taught photographer, filmmaker and actor working in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mesa took to Instagram to celebrate the good news about being the first indigenous doctor on “Grey’s”.

“I’m so excited and honored to be the first indigenous doctor on Grey’s Anatomy,” he wrote. “James Chee will be back on April 15, so be sure to tune in…Thank you so much To Grey’s Anatomy! I know this is going to mean so much to my indigenous peoples.” He ended the caption with “it’s a good day to be indigenous”

Although now Mesa is now on one of the biggest shows on TV, he is still a relative newcomer to showbiz and “Grey’s” will be his first major role after appearing on episode three of this season.

“Grey’s Anatomy” has always prided itself in hiring diverse actors to fill its cast.

In fact, when “Grey’s” creator Shonda Rhimes first created the show in 20–, she instructed her casting director to bring in actors of all races to audition. “The script was written with no character descriptions, no clue as to what anyone should look like,” she told Oprah in 2006.

“We read every color actor for every single part. My goal was simply to cast the best actors. I was lucky because the network said, ‘Go for it.'”

Those directions led to one of the most culturally and racially diverse casts in TV history. And it also changed the television landscape forever.

“When they had me come in to read for the role of chief of surgery, I hadn’t seen an African American in that kind of role before,” James Pickens Jr, who plays Dr. Richard Webber, said to The Hollywood Reporter.

He continued: “Shonda always wanted to make sure that the show impacted the landscape in a way that we hadn’t seen before on TV. I like to think that Grey’s had a big part in how the industry casts shows.”

“Grey’s Anatomy” has paved the way for other racially-diverse Shondaland shows like “How to Get Away With Murder”, “Scandal”, “Station 19”, and most recently, “Bridgerton.”

We’re glad that an iconic television staple like “Grey’s Anatomy” is finally expanding its diverse cast to include its first indigenous doctor.

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A New Film Called ‘Trans Los Angeles’ Is Coming Out and It Features Mostly Queer, Latinx Talent

Entertainment

A New Film Called ‘Trans Los Angeles’ Is Coming Out and It Features Mostly Queer, Latinx Talent

Photos via Getty Images

If you’re afraid there is going to be a big “Pose”-shaped hole in your heart after the upcoming final season, then we might have some good news for you. A new movie called “Trans Los Angeles” might be just what the doctor ordered.

On Wednesday, Deadline announced that a new movie called “Trans Los Angeles” is officially in the works.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, the cast of “Trans Los Angeles” will feature a range of LGBTQ Latinx talent, including Stephanie Beatriz, Carmen Carrera, and YaYa Gosselin. The movie is the vision of up-and-coming transgender writer/director Kase Peña.

According to Deadline, “Trans Los Angeles” will be an anthology film, made up of four four stand-alone shorts. Each segment will focus on a different character in a different part of Los Angeles and spotlight the different and varying lives of trans people.

One of the stand-alone shorts has buzz around it already. The anthology installment “Period” will star the aforementioned Latinx superstars Stephanie Beatriz, Carmen Carrera, and YaYa Gosselin.

Per Deadline, “Period” will center on a Latinx transgender woman named Vergara (Carmen Carrera) who has recently been released from LA County jail. Vergara “gets a part-time job taking care of a shy 12-year-old girl (YaYa Gosselin), while doing sex work on the side, to make ends meet.” However, things become complicated for Vergara because “sex work is what got her locked up in the first place.”

“Trans Los Angeles” will be, without a doubt, trailblazing. It is rare that Hollywood makes movies with transgender people as main characters and transgender artists inhabiting the roles. So far, Panavision, Light Iron Post, WarnerMedia, and Latino Lens are backing “Trans Los Angeles”. The WeHo Transgender Arts Initiative grant is also partially-funding the film.

Excited for the news, fans and fellow celebrities alike flooded the social media accounts of all of those involved, offering their endless support and congratulations.

“So happy for you!!!! 👏👏👏” wrote Eva Longoria. Another fan added “Can’t wait to see this, Carmen!! YOU GO GIRL!!!”. Writer/director Kase Peña commented: “It’s only the beginning. That’s all. ❤️🔥”

Last year, Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival selected Peña to participate in a Netflix’s Latinx Inclusion Fellowship Series. The fact that Peña was able to get such an ambitious project off the ground shows that it just takes a bit of effort on Hollywood’s part for more diverse stories to get made.

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