Even though the 2013 Oscar nominations did not feature Hispanic actors or filmmakers in the sexy, high-profile categories of acting and directing, there was a Hispanic presence felt behind-the-scenes.
Four Hispanics were nominated overall at the 85th Annual Academy Awards nominations ceremony today. They were: Paco Delgado from Barcelona, Spain nominated for Best Costume Design for “Les Misérables,” Jose Antonio Garcia for Best Sound Mixing for “Argo,” Chilean cinematographer Claudio Miranda for Best Cinematographer in “Life of Pi” and a second Chilean export in Pablo Larraín’s “No” in the Best Foreign Film category.
The trend here was off-camera work, those whose skill and creative talent made magic in front of the camera.
Spanish man Paco Delgado, in particular, is having perhaps the best year anyone in film could have. Apart from his first nomination at the Oscars today, he also has been nominated for Spain’s Goya Award in Costume Designing for “Blancanieves,” an artistic, black and white look at Snow White, and the BAFTA, English’s highest honor in film. It doesn’t get better than that, since it’s international acknowledgement. “I’m in Madrid when a friend called me and gave me the Oscar news. I’m very happy to be recognized. I’m trying to keep my head on my shoulders because if not… *laughs*,” says Delgado.
This is the first Academy Award nomination for Jose Antonio García who shares it with veterans John Reitz and Gregg Rudloff. “Argo” received a whopping 8 Academy nominations and is looked upon by many critics, including myself, as one of the frontrunners to win Best Picture. Sound mixing is extremely key to a movie because it can heighten the cinematic experience for any moviegoer and it did so for “Argo.”
Chilean Claudio Miranda, who doesn’t speak Spanish and left Chile when he was 1 year old, and whose mother is Danish but they grew up in France, is elated once again for his second nomination in the category of Best Cinematographer (his first was for ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’). He says, “I am amazed and surprised. It was the culmination of everyone’s work in ‘Life of Pi. I was at home when my wife woke me up and told me the news. I was shocked that it happened.”
Then finally and surprisingly, a second Chilean product was recognized by the Academy in the Spanish language movie “No” in the Best Foreign Film category. The film’s premise, about an ad executive (Gael García Bernal) who comes up with a campaign to defeat Augusto Pinochet in Chile’s 1988 referendum, has been lauded by the South American press for its feel-good and well-told story. Chilean director Pablo Larraín is the man responsible for the film, which will be released in the U.S. on February 15th.
Since the turn of the century, we’ve been witnesses to Benicio del Toro, Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz win Oscars for their work in front of the cameras, but Hispanics are now becoming a tour de force during the filmmaking process. If we can dominate on both ends of the Hollywood spectrum, the next 20 years are going to be fascinating for Hispanics in mainstream cinema.
Remember that, except for Chile’s “No,” you can see all the nominated movies, “Les Misérables,” “Argo,” and “Life of Pi,” currently in theaters and experience the artistry of these Hispanics come to life.
The 85th Annual Academy Awards will be televised Sunday, February 24 on ABC.
Jack Rico, NBCLatino contributor and founder of showbizcafe.com.