Entertainment

The Motion Picture Academy Just Dropped Diversity Requirements For Oscar Nominations And It’s Pretty Lit

Equity is coming to the Oscars.

The Academy Awards have long received critique and backlash for their lack of effort to ensure diversity among its nominees. The criticism of these practices dates back to its first show in 1929. Since then, only 6.4% of academy award nominees have been people of color. Since 1991, only 11.2% of the academy’s nominees have been people of color. What’s worse, according to research, white actors have managed to build their careers on winning Oscars for roles in which they played the parts of POC. In fact, more women who are white have won Oscars for brownface and yellowface portrayals of women of color than actual actresses of color.

This year, the Academy is finally making an effort to change.

On Tuesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced they made new eligibility requirements for the top prize at the Oscars.

Under the new guidelines for the ceremony’s Best Picture award, films are required to meet two out of four standards. They are: “on-screen representation, themes and narratives; creative leadership and project team; industry access and opportunities; and audience development.”

“We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry,” the Academy said in a statement.

The new changes will be required in the Best Picture category starting with the 96th Academy Award which will air in 2024.

“The aperture must widen to reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them. The Academy is committed to playing a vital role in helping make this a reality,” Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a joint statement.

The academy’s newest requirements outline that “films must have at least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors represent an underrepresented racial group, with at least 30 percent of all actors in minor roles from underrepresented groups.”

It gets better though! The show will require those submitting projects to ensure diversity and inclusion behind the camera as well. The academy is also encouraging projects to ensure women who are either part of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, and part of the LGBTQ+ community as well as people with disabilities.

Here’s to a better award show!

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Netflix’s ‘Ya No Estoy Aquí’ Will Represent Mexico At This Year’s Academy Awards

Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘Ya No Estoy Aquí’ Will Represent Mexico At This Year’s Academy Awards

Ya No Estoy Aqui / Netflix

Mexico has a storied history of successfully competing at the Academy Awards. In fact, it’s this long shadow of worldwide successes – such as last year’s Roma by Alfonso Cuarón – that hang over any Mexican film productions with Oscar ambitions.

And although not everyone agrees with this year’s choice for the country’s selection for the competition, many are rallying around Mexico’s chance at winning another golden statue.

Netflix Mexico is sending another film for Oscars consideration: Ya No Estoy Aquí.

The Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences (AMACC) announced this week that Ya No Estoy Aquí, by director Fernando Frías and released by Netflix, will represent Mexico in competition for “Best Foreign Film” at the 93rd Annual Academy Awards.

Fernando Frías expressed his excitement in a statement shared by Netflix.

“The news took me by surprise and I am overwhelmed with happiness and emotion… The public shows us that they are ready to connect with our stories here in Mexico: here they found their way, from here they have been writing, and from here they go out into the world and not the other way around,” he stressed.

Although we’ll have to wait until March 15 to find out if Ya No Estoy Aquí actually makes the Academy’s short list of films officially nominated to the Best Foreign Film category. So far, more than 30 countries have submitted films, so there is still a long road ahead.

Other Mexican films considered for the competition included Nuevo Orden by Michel Franco, El ombligo de Guie’dani by Xavi Sala; Esto no es Berlín by Hari Sama; Mano de obra by David Zonana; and Te llevo conmigo by Heidi Ewing.

Ya No Estoy Aquí has earned huge praise for its powerful storyline.

Ya No Estoy Aquí has received praise for his cast of non-professional actors and for being shot on location across parts of Mexico and the United States. As a film, it addresses important issues that are particularly relevant in today’s political climate, such as belonging and immigration.

The film tells the story of Ulises (Juan Daniel Garcia), a young man who is part of the band Los Terkos, who are immersed in the culture of Kolombia music, popular for years in the northern city of Monterrey. But after problems with a local cartel, Ulises must escape to the United States where, not surprisingly, he suffers a thousand and one issues while adapting to his new life.

Since its debut at different festivals such as the Morelia Film Festival, the Cairo Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival, Ya No Estoy Aquí has captured the attention of critics, obtaining important recognitions in its wake. A few months ago it was the highest award-winning film at the Ariel Awards with ten awards, including Best Film.

It was just last year that the Mexican film Roma won big at the awards ceremony.

Credit: Roma / Netflix

Just last year Mexico won big at the Oscars, thanks to Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, which took home many awards including Best Foreign category. Cuarón along with Guillermo del Toro (who won big in 2018) have both endorsed the academy’s selection of Ya No Estoy Aquí.

Prior to Roma and The Shape of Water, Mexico has competed eight times at the Academy Awards. Most recently with Biutiful (2011) by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Pan’s Labyrinth (2007) by Del Toro, The Crime of Padre Amaro (2002) by Carlos Carrera, Amores Perros (2000) by González Iñárritu, Actas de Marusia (1975) by Miguel Littin, Tlayucan (1962) by Luis Alcoriza, Ánimas Trujano, The Important Man (1961) by Ismael Rodríguez and Macario (1960) by Roberto Galvadón.

We will have to wait until April 2021 to know if AMACC’s choice was the right one. In the meantime, because of the pandemic, you can enjoy Ya No Estoy Aquí on Netflix and judge for yourself. 

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Jennifer Lopez Gave A Teary Speech About Change And Being A Young Latina While Accepting The 2020 People’s Icon Award

Entertainment

Jennifer Lopez Gave A Teary Speech About Change And Being A Young Latina While Accepting The 2020 People’s Icon Award

Sergi Alexander / Getty

Drum roll please… and the 2020 People’s Icon is Jennifer “Jenny from the Block” Lopez!

The E! People’s Choice Awards took place on Sunday and J.Lo took the stage to receive the People’s Icon Award in a stunning red dress. 

J.Lo was honored for her work as an artist, dancer, actress, and for opening the door for more  LatinX representation in the entertainment industry. She has been very successful, from starring as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in the 1997 film to the iconic Versace green dress to her role in the 2019 “Hustlers” movie and her 2020 Half-time Super Bowl performance.

As J.Lo received her award on stage, she was surprised with a virtual message from Nicole Kidman and Renne Zellweger. 

Moments later, Emme and Max, Lopez’s 12-year-old twins appeared on the screen to congratulate their mom and stayed on the screen as support during J.Lo’s acceptance speech.

“Man, 2020 was no joke right? I mean before 2020 we were obsessing about winning this award or getting nominated for that award or we were caught up in who sold the most records or box office opening or crazy stuff like did we get the latest drop or the newest sneakers before anybody else. But not this year. This year was the great leveler,” Lopez told the audience as she began her speech. 

“It showed us what mattered, what didn’t. And for me, reinforced what mattered most: People, all of us, together,” Lopez said and took a pause as the audience applauded. 

“Helping each other, loving each other, being kind to each other. And the importance of that connection, that human touch. I realized that’s what I strive for in everything I do. To reach people, to touch people. I believe that’s what we all want, those shared experiences to know that we’re not in this alone.”  

The artist thanked her fans, family, and friends for having faith and believing in her even when she did not feel motivated. 

“You know I approach my career the same way I approach my life. I lead with life, I feel with my heart and I always try to speak truth in telling stories, singing songs. I do so with the purpose of bringing a little happiness, creating beauty and inspiring others to do the same. From being a little girl in the Bronx, New York, and having the privilege of performing on some of the biggest stages in the world, and even at the Super Bowl earlier this year, that was a biggie! I have seen and learned a lot and I am still learning. I want to thank you and tell you how much I appreciate you for letting me do that in front of you for all of these years,” she said.

J.Lo went on to speak about the struggles and doubts she faced as a woman and a Latina and gave an inspiring message to young girls. 

“As a Latina and as a woman, we have to work twice as hard to get the opportunities, sometimes my big dreams and my ambitions, it made the people around me nervous. ‘You can’t be an actress. You’re an actress, what you want to sing? You’re an artist, you won’t be taken seriously as a businesswoman.’ The more that they said I couldn’t, the more I knew that I had to. So now here I stand so very grateful knowing that the true measure of my success is not in box office numbers or records sold, but from the love that I feel from all of you,” a teary J.Lo said. 

“The true measure is inspiring girls in all ages and all colors, from all over the world, to know you can do whatever want, as many things as you want and to be proud of who you are no matter where you come from. I want them to know your dreams are limited only by your imagination, determination and their willingness to never give up. If I have touched you or them in any small way, then this is the greatest award I could ever receive. I accept this award with great humility and gratitude, and hope we can begin to heal as a country and stand together united and proud, and in harmony,” she said.

At the end of the speech, she gave a message to the Latino community in Spanish. 

“Y a mi gente Latina a donde quiera que yo esté y donde quiera que yo vaya siempre los tengo presente. Y es para mi un orgullo poder representar a los Latinos de todas partes. Con todo mi corazón y con todo mi amor gracias mi gente los quiero mucho y recuerden la vida es un tango y hay que seguir bailando siempre,” Lopez said before leaving the stage. 

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