Salma Hayek will be adding Latino star power to the 85th Annual Academy Awards with the news that she has been added to the list of presenters during Sunday’s ceremony.
The Mexican actress – who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in the 2002 film “ Frida” – has been added to list of presenters that includes “Identity Thief” star Melissa McCarthy, John Travolta, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx and Liam Neeson.
The Academy Awards will be hosted by “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane and will feature performances by Barbra Streisand, jazz songstress Norah Jones and multiple Grammy-award-winning artist Adele.
This year’s awards ceremony – which honors achievement and performance in film – may very well feature Hayek handing out a coveted gold statue to a fellow Latino. Hispanics are represented in four categories at the 2013 Oscars: Chilean film “No” is a Best Foreign Language Film nominee, while Paco Delgado from Barcelona, Spain is nominated for Best Costume Design for “Les Misérables,” Jose Antonio Garcia for Best Sound Mixing for “Argo” and Chilean cinematographer Claudio Miranda for Best Cinematographer in “Life of Pi.”
It’s a stunning reflection of the growing influence of Latinos behind the camera in Hollywood. In the past, the Academy Awards have honored acting performances from the likes of Rita Moreno, Penelope Cruz, Mercedes Ruehl, Javier Bardem and Benicio del Toro; this year, in a remarkable contrast, Hispanic behind-the-scenes producers are emerging as highly visible talent within the mainstream movie industry.
According to a recent Nielsen report, the number of U.S. Latino moviegoers in 2012 increased by 12 percent and Latinos accounted for 25 percent of all movies seen, even though they are just 18 percent of the movie going population. As a growing percentage of movie ticket revenue is attributed to Latino spending at the box office, it seems appropriate then, that the number of Hispanic filmmakers in the tight-knit Hollywood community increases.
After all, says movie critic Kelvin Chavez, Latinos belong on both sides of the camera.
“Families don’t see movies just because they’re marketed as Hispanic with a Latino cast,” says Chavez, who reviews films at LatinoReview.com.
“And more and more, what will matter is the presence of Latinos shaping the overall product.”