First: HUGE congratulations to Demi?ín Bichir for his subtle and touching performance in Chris Weitz' "A Better Life."
Second: EQUALLY huge disappointment in the fact that Bichir is the only American/US Latino to receive a nomination in any performance categoryÔÇôlead or supporting actor, director, screenwriting, or Best Picture.
Emmanuel Lubezki received a well-deserved nod for his work as cinematographer in "The Tree of Life" (the fifth Oscar acknowledgement for this Mexican-born artist); European actress (born in Argentina, working in France) Berenice Bejo, was one of the zillion nomination for this year's darling, "The Artist;" Spaniards Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal's, "Chico & Rita," produced in the UK and Spain, was nominated for Animated Feature Film (the film has been on the film-festival circuit since September 2010; it will see a limited theatrical release in early February), while Alberto Iglesias was nominated for Music/Original Score for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy;" and Sergio Mendes' "Real in Rio" from the animated feature "Rio" was nominated Best Music/Original.
There were a few nominations-by-association worth noting: Puss in Boots was nominated for Animated Feature, but starring voice Antonio Banderas was not. "Albert Nobbs" received a number of acknowledgments, notably Glenn Close as the lead character, but director Rodrigo Garcia was overlooked. And though Bichir certainly deserved the attention, it is more than odd that "A Better Life" received no other nominations of any kindÔÇônot for screenwriting, Best Picture, or Chris Weitz Best Director (Weitz and Bichir talk about the film here). Where other filmsÔÇôas is frequently the caseÔÇô'cascade' through the nominations (this year it's The Artist more than any other)ÔÇô"A Better Life" is otherwise ignored.
Other rather startling omissions include any mention of Pedro Almodavar's crucially acclaimed "The Skin I Live In" or its star Antonio Banderas and Rodrigo Garcia's absence for "Albert Nobbs," even though the film received nominations for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and even Best Makeup. And Brazilian-born director Carlos Saldanha's "Rio" didn't make the cut for Best Animated Film (nor did Saldanha himself as director), despite its overwhelming success, especially compared to some of the other nominees in the category.
There were more than fifty films with Latinos in prominent positions in front or behind the camera that were released in the U.S. in 2010. You can see the list and a little about them here. It's a shame that some of the more notable ones (like "Gun Hill Road," "Without Men," "Jumping the Broom," "Go For It," and The "The Skin I Live In," among many others) didn't get some much as a mention.
As a representation of Latino Hollywood, this year's Oscars are, without a doubtÔÇªeh.