Hispanic Actors in Hollywood: The New Crop

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Aside from the usual suspects (Zoe Saldana and Gael Garcia Bernal), we hardly ever see Hispanics starring in major Hollywood film roles. But that doesn’t mean they’re not out there hustling. Sure, some have to bring home the bacon by portraying stereotypes: the slutty red-dressed temptress, the coked-out gangster, the “comedy of errors” buffoon, and the loud-mouthed mami (just to name a few). But there’s a lot of young Latin talent making a big impact in indie-er film circles, wowing the independent film award circuit with raw talent and gripping performances.

These are just few of the Hispanic actors to watch out for en la pantalla grande y pequeña.


Ivana Baquero

At the young age of 11, Ivana Baquero astounded audiences with her powerful performance as Ofelia in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, which earned her several nominations and awards, including the Imagen Award for Best Actress. Since then, she has starred in The Anarchist’s Wife and The New Daughter. Her latest project, Keeper of the Pinstripes, is due later this year.


Alice Braga

Alice Braga is best known for her role as Angelica in the critically-acclaimed Cidade de Deus (City of God). Since then, she has starred in several successful South American films and made a name for herself in Hollywood. This year alone she appeared in Predators and Repo Men. Braga is currently filming The Rite: The Making of a Modern Day Exorcist, a horror flick directed by Mikael Håfström.


Paulina Gaitan

At the age of 12, Paulina Gaitan had a crucial role in the powerful Luis Mandoki-directed film about the civil war in El Salvador, Voces Inocentes. She’s continued to play such compelling roles in films like Trade, Sin Nombre, and Somos Lo Que Hay. Her most recent work is in Days of Grace and Las Paredes Hablan. Both films are in post-production and set to be released soon.


Tenoch Huerta

Tenoch Huerta began his acting career with a small role in Asi Del Precipicio in 2006. He went on to act in several Spanish-language films, including Deficit and Cafe Paraiso. His breakthrough role came last year, with his part in the award-winning Sin Nombre. His two latest projects, Busco Empleo and Days of Grace are set for release soon. Huerta is also filming Cristiada.


Oscar Isaac

Julliard alum Oscar Isaac most recently starred alongside Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett in Robin Hood as the vain and inept, yet strangely charming King John. He previously won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Jose Ramos-Horta in Balibo. Isaac is already set to appear in several films next year, including Sucker Punch and the Madonna-directed W.E.


Catalina Sandino Moreno

In 2004, Colombian-born Catalina Sandino Moreno was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her first film role in Maria Full of Grace. She’s gone on to appear in a wide range of films, including Fast Food Nation, Love in the Time of Cholera, Stephen Soderbergh’s Che, and Twilight: Eclipse. Sandino Moreno will also appear in Cristiada next year.


Jeremy Ray Valdez

Jeremy Ray Valdez has made one-time appearances on several television shows, but it was his 24 web spinoff, The Rookie, that really got him noticed and gathered a strong and loyal fan base. Most recently, Valdez starred in La Mission opposite Benjamin Bratt. He’s slated to appear on the upcoming Alan Ball-helmed HBO series All Signs of Death. If Six Feet Under and True Blood are any indication, the show will most likely be a hit for Valdez.


Tristan Wilds

Semi Dominican Tristan Wilds got in the game at the young age of seven. His first major film role was in Spike Lee’s Miracle’s Boys, and he and Miracle’s Boys co-star, Julito McCullum, eventually went on to act in The Wire for two years before Wilds’ current television role as Dixon on the wonderfully-campy 90201. He’ll next appear in the George Lucas-penned Red Tails later this year.