Gael García Bernal did so much more than just present an award at the Oscars — he dropped some knowledge.
Before announcing the winner for Best Animated Feature Film, Gael García Bernal and Hailee Steinfeld both shared a few words about the category. While actress Hailee Steinfeld kept her introduction short, Gael García Bernal turned his introduction into a powerful stance on immigration. Considering that all of these films “feature flesh and blood actors,” Gael García made it clear that “as a Mexican, as a Latin American, as a migrant worker [and] as a human being,” he is completely “against any form of wall that wants to separate us.”
People on Twitter applauded Gael García for taking a stance and not letting those 23 seconds go unnoticed.
Representation is a loaded word when it comes to conversations about diversity in casting, especially when it comes Latinos. The latest study from UCLA’s “Hollywood Diversity Report 2018″, shows the huge disparity Latinos experience when it comes to roles behind and in front of the camera. What makes matters even more frustrating is the reports evidence shows audiences tend to prefer movies and TV shows that feature diverse casts. So what gives and what has to change? Here’s a look at the evidence on why Latinos are being left out of the conversation when it comes to representation.
This year, the Oscars showcased the best of what a prospering film industry that includes Latinos could be, or did it?
The feel-good story of this past awards season was Alfonso Cuaróns’ Oscar-winning film “Roma.” The movie centered on a housekeeper of a middle-class family in Mexico City. Despite high praise, the film received and Cuarón becoming the fifth Mexican in the last six years to win Best Director, the reality for U.S.-born Latinos in Hollywood hasn’t changed.
Latinos account for the largest percent of moviegoers among minorities at 24 percent. Yet when it comes to getting roles, that’s a whole different story. In 2017, Latinos accounted for only 5.2 percent of all roles in the top grossing films. This was hardly an improvement from the previous year which was at 2.7 percent.
When it comes to getting roles on TV shows, it’s the same trend. Latinos accounted for no more than 7 percent of all TV roles when it came to the top shows on broadcast, cable and digital networks.
For those in the industry already, making changes is harder than it looks.
Even when Latino-centered shows like “One Day At A Time” receive critical acclaim, that is rarely enough. This past month news broke that the show has been canceled by Netflix. Despite high praise from critics and fans, the series still has to prove itself.
“We are one of the fastest growing minority groups in country and we are still fighting for our films and scripts to be shown to the world,” independent filmmaker Kenneth Castillo said. “That’s not right.”
Castillo says what’s going on with “One Day At A Time” is an unfortunate thing that proves how even when Latinos create great content, at times it’s still not good enough. “I’ve seen this happen time and time again in Hollywood and we need to have some meaningful dialogue about where as Latinos we stand.”
If Latinos are going to see real progress when it comes to representation, they can’t wait for Hollywood to do it first.
There’s no denying that we are entering a new golden age in Mexican cinema with the continued success of Latino directors like Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo Del Toro. But it’s a different story when it comes to U.S.-born Latino directors and actors.
Representation is important when it comes to how one sees themselves and how the world perceives them as. As the largest growing minority group in the U.S., Latinos should be near the top of most film studios and getting major roles. But that’s anything but the truth. So this all begs the question, where and how do we see change?
If Latinos are going to see make any progress when it comes to more representation, they’re going to have to do it themselves. Castillo says that Latinos can’t wait for Hollywood to open the gate for more opportunities.
“We have to create our own stories and narratives in this country,” Castillo said. “Grab a camera, write that script and share your own story that Hollywood will never get to tell.”
With the release of the surprise animated hit and Oscar winner, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” the world is suddenly aware of one of the incarnations of Spidey: Miles Morales, a Latino superhero. However, the character has been a constant feature in the Marvel comic book universe for quite some time, since 2011 to be exact. Right in the middle of the Obama years, media, in general, started to move forward in terms of representation, and Marvel wasn’t left behind. Morales represented a huge step in terms of how popular culture manifestations such as comic books can, in fact, be representative of a multicultural, inclusive society.
Here’s everything you need to know about our very own Latino Increíble Hombre-Araña.
His full name is Miles Gonzalo Morales
Very telenovelesco is you ask us. He is a half-Black, half-Latino Brooklyn teenager.
He is fluent in Spanish which brings him closer to his Latina mom.
Comic book writers have made him proud of his heritage, and one of his superpowers is being bilingual. He also has some uniquely Latino tastebuds: he loves his mom’s pasteles. He and his mom Rio share a bond by speaking Spanish, effectively creating a world that the two of them can share.
The character was created in 2011 by comic book writers Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli
The reason? Bendis, who is African-American, wanted to create a character that young Black kids, like his own, could relate to. Repeat after us: Representation matters.
He is Peter Parker’s successor with great power.
After Peter dies (or did he?), Morales is bitten by a genetically enhanced spider, and with the aid of S.H.I.E.L.D., the family and friends of the late Peter Parker and other encapuchados he becomes the one and only Spidey. There is drama, of course, as his police officer father Jefferson totally loathes justice fighters.
He is a superhero by pure chance.
The story is a bit silly, actually. Miles was visiting his uncle, who robbed Oscorp and unknowingly got the arachnid bite too. He was bitten by surprise and got unexpected superhuman abilities.
He was only 13-years-old when the transformation happened
Because of this, Nick Fury and the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D team had to keep a very close eye on him.
He is hated by Venom.
Venom is one of Spider-Man’s most violent foes. When he learned that a new Spidey was jumping around, he immediately sought a confrontation. The scenarios are eerily similar to the ones in the duels he had with Peter Parker.
Miles had the Stan Lee seal of approval.
That’s right, Stan Lee himself, who passed away just last year, was one of the comic-book personalities who approved of Miles and silenced critics who said that Miles was an affirmative action move by Marvel. Lee considered that it was great for non-white youth to have a role model.
He is inspired by Donald Glover.
Miles Morales is the result of an unlikely source of inspiration: Donald Glover’s character in “Community,” in particular, the episode where he is wearing his Spider-Man pajamas.
He has two extra-awesome abilities that the original Spider-Man lacked.
Check this out: 1. He can camouflage himself. 2. Like many arachnids, he has a venom that paralyzes victims so Miles can serve justice.
His father, Jefferson Davis, hates superheroes.
Miles kept his secret identity from his father for a long time, because his dad used to be a burglar and distrusts superheroes. In the comic books, there have been some great and tender father-son moments between Miles and Jefferson.
He didn’t want to be Spider-Man at first.
It actually took him a year… and we don’t blame him. Imagine being a 13-year-old suddenly invested with superpowers and super responsibilities. When he was 14, though, he finally embraced his new powerful identity.
Conservative commentator Glenn Black said Miles looked “too much” like Barack Obama.
The host said that Marvel felt pushed to create this here after Former First Lady Michelle Obama said that some traditions needed to be changed. Oh, hay quienes siempre le ven tres pies al gato.
He has teamed up with The Avengers
Yes, this happened in the November 2015 issue All-New, All-Different Avengers #1. Wouldn’t it be great to see this in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
He loves sneakers.
His favorite are his Air Jordans… he even fought Venom wearing a pair. In real life, Nike released a special edition to commemorate the release of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”This retro version has a black, white and red design, also in honor of Latino Spidey’s now iconic suit.
He might just be immortal.
Norman Osborn sort of tells him that one of the side effects of the serum that gave him so much power could be immortality. That would be a lot to take in for a teenager.
His mother is killed by Venom.
Yes, Rio Morales, a nurse, is killed by perhaps the most famous villain in the Spider-Man universe.
He was once so sick he almost died.
Yes, it happened in “Spider-Man 240.” The creator Michael Bendis became ill, which served him as inspiration to write a whole issue in which the hero is mostly in bed, being supported by family and friends to stay alive. This is where the immortality superpower was put into question.
Cuidado! Spoiler alert.
Peter Parker wasn’t truly dead! No estaba muerto, andaba de parranda. Yes, Peter and Miles embark in some pretty amazing adventures together in “Spider-Men”issues 1 to 5.
His best superpower: having a BFF.
Let’s be honest, Peter Parker sorta sucks as a friend and has run into some bad luck. But not Miles, who can always count in his best friend Ganke Lee to listen to him, offer consolation and just be a wonderful sidekick in life.
He has an evil uncle, and he kicks his ass.
His uncle Aaron, who got Jefferson into trouble many times in their youth, becomes the incarnation of Prowler. Time for his nephew Miles to put him in his place.
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