Nothing launches Hollywood talent to A-list status quite like a golden Oscar statue, and this year’s Academy Awards will see four Hispanics vying for their own chance to make motion picture history. And no, we’re not talking actors or actresses here – rather, this year’s Oscars are remarkable for its recognition of Latino off-camera talent.
At the 85th Annual Academy Awards, Latinos in four different categories have been nominated: Spanish designer Paco Delgado is a nominee for Best Costume design for his work in “Les Misérables,” Chilean-born, French-raised Claudio Miranda is a Best Cinematographer nominee with “Life of Pi,” Mexican nominee Jose Antonio García is in the running for Best Sound Mixing for “Argo” and “No,” directed by Chilean Pablo Larraín has been nominated in the Best Foreign Film category.
Spanning costume design, cinematographer, foreign film and sound mixing, these categories represent the talent and skill so often disregarded in favor of prominent acting or directing gigs – the like of which cemented the popularity of previous Oscar winners Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Rita Moreno and Mercedes Ruehl, who became the first Cuban-American to win an Academy Award with her performance in 1991’s “The Fisher King.”
But for the Latinos behind the scenes – perhaps surprisingly – the pursuit of an Oscar hasn’t been a preoccupation in their pursuit of art.
“There are lots of little secrets to my work but it’s all in order to tell a beautiful story,” explains Delgado, who lives in Barcelona, Spain and was recruited by director Tom Hooper to create the period film costumes in “Les Misérables.” Delgado, who designed the costumes for well-regarded Spanish movies like “The Skin I Live In” and “Biutiful,” says that receiving an Oscar isn’t the ultimate reward for his work.
“If it comes, great – but if not, my best award is to have made a great movie,” says Deglado, who would be the second Spaniard to win an Oscar following Antonio Canovas del Castillo’s win in 1971 for the film “Nicholas and Alexandra.”
As for Sunday’s Oscars ceremony – the first of which was held in 1929 at the famed Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – there is little doubt that even if these four Latinos are passed over for a win, the Hispanic presence in Hollywood will be felt as Salma Hayek Pinault is among the star-studded list of presenters at this year’s Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles.
And yes – while there were several performances by Latino actors that could have been considered for Oscar nominations, namely Javier Barden, who earned a Screen Actors Guild nomination for his performance in “Skyfall” or Benicio del Toro and Salma Hayek for their performances in Oliver Stone flick “Savages,” audiences at home should cheer for those who work hard behind the scenes to create the most beloved films of the year. After all, there’s no denying that Latino talent belongs on both sides of the camera when it comes to film making.
Check out our gallery of previous Latino Oscar award winners below.