The National Hispanic Media Coalition said today that it will hold two demonstrations targeting the Academy Awards to protest “the chronic under-representation of Latinos in on-screen and behind-the-camera roles in motion pictures.”
None of this year’s acting nominees is Latino, but Mexico-born Guillermo del Toro is nominated for Best Director and Original Screenplay for The Shape of Water, which leads the field with 13 nominations.
The NHMC said that it will hold the first demonstration on February 5 to coincide with the Academy’s annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon. The second one will be held the day before the Oscars “at a time and location to be announced,” it said.
“Hollywood continues to be challenged by gender and ethnic diversity,” said Alex Nogales, NHMC president and CEO. “Our upcoming demonstrations are only the first of what will become increasingly aggressive wake-up calls to Hollywood studios to end institutionalized racism against Latinos. By targeting the Academy Awards, we’re serving notice to the motion picture industry that we’re not asking for equity anymore. We’re demanding it.”
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A recent study by the USC Annenberg School found that of the 100 top-grossing films of 2016, 54 depicted no Hispanic/Latino characters, and that of those characters whose ethnicity could be determined, only 3.1% were Hispanic/Latino. That is despite the fact that the U.S. Census Bureau says Hispanics constituted 17.6% of the nation’s total population in 2015 – making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority.
“For years the success of the major film studios has been won on the backs of U.S. Latinos who represent 23% of all movie-ticket buyers and 18% of the U.S. population,” Nogales said. “Yet, on- and off-screen and in the narratives Hollywood’s movies tell, Latinos remain the most underrepresented minority in the industry. Enough is enough. It’s time to end the whitewashing and put Latinos in front of and behind the camera.”