When nominations for this year’s Golden Globe Awards were announced, we made a point of singling our the many Latinos we wished had made the cut. This was to highlight the lack of Latino nominees in this year’s list. But also because we wanted to push back against the notion that this lack was because there weren’t lots of eligible possibilities. The Globes’ storied history, much like this year’s ceremony, is full of groundbreaking wins (Alfonso Cuarón‘s win for Best Director was the fourth time in six years that a Mexican won that award!) and glaring oversights (how did Edgar Ramirez lose for his great turn as Gianni Versace?).
Indeed, while Sunday’s show gave the director plenty of time to celebrate his most recent film and his leading ladies, the lack of Latinos and other Latino shows or films was unmissable. Accepting the award for Best Foreign Language Film — the second ever win for Mexico — Cuarón got to thank both Yalitza Aparicio and Marisa de Tavira, who beamed from the film’s table as Leo Dan’s “Te He Prometido” played in the background. His speech was all about the power of the movies.
“Cinema at its best tears downs walls and builds bridges to other cultures,” he said. “We see experiences, new shapes and faces. We begin to realize that while they may be strange, they are not unfamiliar. We begin to understand exactly how much we have in common.”
Echoing a similar sentiment were the filmmakers behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (which include Cuban-American Phil Lord). While accepting the award for Best Animated Feature co-director Peter Ramsey stressed that the story of Afro-Latino Miles Morales becoming the famed superhero was at its core a story about how anyone can wear the mask.
That kind of refrain was heard elsewhere. When producers for the Ricky Martin and Edgar Ramirez-starring miniseries The Assassination of Gianni Versace won, they also spoke about wanting to shine a light on “those who are not represented.” That’s why, despite rewarding wins by the likes of Regina King (for If Beale Street Could Talk), Mahershala Ali (Green Book) and Sandra Oh (for BBC series Killing Eve) we wish we could’ve seen any kind of on-screen Latino talent taking up the podium.
But then, history at the Globes hasn’t been kind to Latinos. While recent wins for Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), America Ferrera (Ugly Betty), Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle) and Oscar Isaac (Show Me a Hero) broke barriers in their respective television categories, they’re more exceptions than we’d like to think. For starters, all four actors easily doubled the amount of awards won by Latinos in the Globes’ entire 76th-year history. Not since Benicio Del Toro won for Traffic back in 2000, for example, has a Latino actor won on the movie-side of the Globes. This despite nominations for the likes of Cameron Diaz, Salma Hayek, Adriana Barraza, Lupita Nyong’o, and this year’s Lin Manuel Miranda.
There are many such disheartening statistics that I could cite. Like how Benicio is only a handful of Latino actors to win a Golden Globe for feature film performances. The others? Susan Kohner (Lupita Tovar’s daughter won a supporting nod in 1960 for Imitation of Life) Rita Moreno (who won for West Side Story back in 1961 and was snubbed this year for One Day at a Time), Raquel Welch (in 1974 for The Three Musketeers) and Jose Ferrer (who won Best Actor all the way back in 1950!)
Or how there are categories (like Best Leading Actor in a Comedy or Musical) where the total number of Latinos nominated can be counted with one hand. (Do the math: with 76 years and five slots every year, those are terrible odds!)
Or how Ugly Betty and Mozart in the Jungle remain the only shows with Latino leads to take big prizes in the TV categories. (To think Pose could’ve joined the club this year!)
Or how no single Latina has won in any of the following categories: Best Leading Actress in a Motion Picture Drama, Best Leading Actress in a TV Drama, Best Supporting Actress in a TV Comedy, or Best Leading Actress in a Limited TV Series. (None, in fact, have ever been nominated in that last one.)
So while Roma and Miles Morales got their time in the sun, we’re stuck yet again hoping for more progress. For more support from the industry. For more awards bodies to recognize that there is a wealth of talent ready to be celebrated. Frankly, though, I wish I didn’t need to make these same pleas after every awards show. There’s always next year, I guess.
But let’s end on a good note and enjoy just how fabulous a time Gina Rodriguez was having both on the red carpet and backstage.