Latinos in Film and Television

Golden GlobeThe Golden Globes recognize “excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign.” The nominees for the 74th annual Golden Globes were announced on the morning of Monday, December 12, 2016.

In the last several years there has been a call for a more inclusive selection of nominees. In past years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has awarded prizes to a number of Latino and Latin American actors including Rita Moreno (1961), Andy Garcia (1990), Jimmy Smits (1995), Benicio del Toro (2000), America Ferrera (2007), Javier Bardem (2007), Gina Rodriguez (2015), Gael Garcia Bernal (2016), and Oscar Isaac (2016).

The number of roles and types of roles for Latino and Latin American actors in film and television has grown over time despite decades of typecasting. Though as many viewers know, far too often white actors play non-white characters, e.g., Al Pacino in Scarface; Catherine Zeta-Jones in Zorro, or Madonna in Evita, and as a result the visibility of Latino and Latin American actors is absent from film and television.

The visibility of Latino and Latin American actors is incredibly important to the development and understanding of Latino culture in society. Film and television are a reflection of the world around us but in no way has the expansion of film and television as a medium, its widened accessibility, reflected the populace accurately. The range and inclusivity of characters to reflect the dynamic lifestyles and cultures within the Latino population is still missing in the catalogue of programming available to viewers.

A greater importance must be placed on the visibility of Latino and Latin American talent in film and television as the population of Latinos grows in the U.S. and around the world. Talent must reflect those who are watching. Yet today’s announcement of the Golden Globe nominees is no exception from previous years; this year there were 72 actors nominated for a Golden Globe and only 2 were Latino. We want to see ourselves. Part of the Mission of The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is to “promote interest in the study of the arts, including the development of talent in the entertainment field through scholarships given to major learning institutions.” If the measure of success of their mission are these awards then they have failed, both themselves and us. It’s not for a lack of talent, films, or television programming. We’re here. We need to be seen. Do you see us?



Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy: Gina Rodriguez, “Jane the Virgin”


Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy: Gael García Bernal, “Mozart in the Jungle”

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