Hispanic audiences had big hopes for the 85th Annual Academy Awards, but it was an evening of mixed emotions with just one win for a Latino nominee (Claudio Miranda for “Life of Pi”) and three wins for films with Latino main characters (“Inocente,” “Sugar Man” and ”Argo”).
First-time host, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane kicked off the Oscars with a routine complete with a quip aimed at female actresses who’ve appeared nude on camera (actually a full song and dance number titled “We Saw Your Boobs”), a make out session with “Lincoln” star Sally Field and an appearance by William Shatner in full-on “Star Trek” regalia, creating a routine that almost made viewers at home forget that the real task at hand was to hand out awards for achievement in film.
Chilean-born, French-raised Miranda helped kick off the awards ceremony with one of the first wins of the night, taking home the award for Best Cinematographer with “Life of Pi.”
“This movie was quite a beast to make,” said Miranda upon receiving his first Oscar. “I’d like to thank everyone that made this possible. I’d like to thank my wife, my daughter and everyone, thank you so much.”
Sadly, the evening’s three other Latino nominees weren’t as fortunate, losing in their respective categories.
Spanish designer Paco Delgado was nominated for Best Costume design for his work in “Les Misérables,” but lost to “Anna Karenina” costume designer Jacqueline Durran.
Mexican nominee Jose Antonio García was in the running to win Best Sound Mixing for “Argo,” but ultimately lost to the competitive team behind “Les Miserables.”And Chile’s “No” — starring Gael Garcia Bernal and which opened in four U.S. theaters just weeks ago to stellar box office numbers — lost to Austrian film “Amour” in the Best Foreign Film category.
However, in a surpsing win, “Inocente” earned an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. The film tells the story of a 15-year-old female artist – Inocente – who takes on homelessness and immigration laws in San Diego, California.
“She’s an artist, and all of you are artists, and we feel like we need to start supporting artists,” said director Sean Fine in his acceptance speech alongside wife Andrea Nix Fine. “Because they’re dying in our community.”
“Argo” – Ben Affleck’s film about CIA agent Tony Mendez’s daring rescue mission of six American hostages in 1979 Iran – won Best Picture.
“I want to thank Tony Mendez, who let us do his story,” said Affleck upon receiving his Oscar.
The musical about Mexican American singer-songwriter Rodriguez directed Malik Bendjelloul - “Searching for Sugar Man” - earned an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
Hayek, who presented during Sunday’s ceremony, showed off her enviable curves in a black velvet Alexander McQueen dress with a regal gold collar. With her hair swept up, the petite star looked every inch a Hollywood A-lister with her striking eye makeup and gold tiara.
Saldana also went for a decidedly high-fashion approach, dressed in a belted, asymmetrical hemmed gown by Alexis Mabille Couture.
And while the evening may not have reaped huge wins for Hispanic talent, the future looks bright for Latinos in Hollwood. Abe Diaz, a student from DePaul University hailing from Duluth, Minnesota, was named a winner of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “Oscar Experience College Search” contest for aspiring filmmakers.
Diaz, one of the competition’s six winners, appeared on stage and helped deliver Oscar trophies to ceremony presenters during the big night — and should his winning entry prove any indication, he may very well receive an Oscar of his own in the years to come.