The 2022 Oscars (94th annual Academy Awards) was a memorable event for many reasons, especially for those in our communities.
We saw Ariana DeBose making history and following in the footsteps of Rita Moreno with her win for Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story. We even saw her give a speech that has stuck with us since we first watched, while Moreno stared on in wonder and pride.
We also witnessed the likes of Rosie Perez hit up the stage with her cast members from the 1992 film White Men Can’t Jump. That movie set Perez on a road that would change her career. Also, it’s important to note that it’s been 28 years since Perez was invited to the Oscars.
But that’s not all when it comes to the moments that Latine talent had at the 2022 Oscars. From Sebastián Yatra performing “Dos Oruguitas” and other talent presenting, here is a look at our six favorite Latine moments at the Oscars this year.
Ariana DeBose Wins Big
We can’t start this list without first mentioning the biggest and most groundbreaking win of the night. Ariana DeBose became the first openly queer Afro-Latine woman to win an acting Oscar for her supporting role in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. She thanked Rita Moreno during her acceptance speech for paving her way and told the audience that as a little girl, she found her strength through art.
“That’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate,” she said. “So, to anybody who’s ever questioned your identity…or if you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: there is indeed a place for us.”
Rachel Zegler Throws Playful Shade
When the lead actress of West Side Story took the stage to present the Best Visual Effects Oscar, she poked fun at the fact that she hadn’t been invited to go to the ceremony until fans online started questioning the Academy decision, which quickly landed her a spot on the presenter’s list.
After her co-presenter Jacob Elordi said that “Growing up in Australia, I never thought that I would stand on this stage,” Zegler commented back with, “And I never thought that I would be here six days ago.” Her playful shade-throwing was followed by a pump of her fist as the audience laughed at her perfect comedic timing.
Sebastián Yatra Sings His Heart Out
Lin-Manuel Miranda might not have won the Oscar for Best Song for his heartfelt “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, but that took nothing away from Yatra’s wonderful rendition of the track earlier in the show.
The Colombian singer brought tears to the eyes of a lot of viewers as he performed with musicians on a lush green backdrop reminiscent of the setting in Encanto. His singing was accompanied by two Latine dancers who floated across the stage like the butterflies that adorned Yatra’s black suit.
Rosie Perez’s Return
After not being invited back to the Academy Awards ceremony in 28 years, Perez finally got her chance to return to the stage as a presenter for Best Cinematography. Making it even more special, she shared the spotlight with her co-stars Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes from the 1992 sports comedy White Men Can’t Jump. The film was celebrating the 30th anniversary of its theatrical release that same night.
Perez’s influence didn’t stop there. She and DeBose also shared a lovely hug backstage after DeBose won her Oscar. Respect for Latines recognizing other Latines.
‘Encanto’ Scores Best Animated Feature Victory
Disney’s Encanto beat out a strong group of contenders for its big win on Oscar night. Taking the stage to accept the award were the film’s directors and producers, including Yvett Merino, who is Mexican-American.
“I am so proud to be a part of a film that puts beautiful, diverse characters in front and center – and that people everywhere are seeing themselves in the film,” Merino said. The group also gave shoutouts to Lin-Manuel Miranda for writing the songs, Germaine Franco for composing the score, and Charise Castro Smith for co-writing the script.
That ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ Performance
The most popular song of the year wasn’t up for an Oscar nomination, but Oscar producers were probably thinking that since the track was breaking all the music charts, it would probably bring some more viewers to the telecast. That might turn out to ultimately be true, but the performance of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” was a mixed bag for many viewers.
While it featured some cast members like Stephanie Beatriz and Diane Guerrero, the focus was mostly on non-Encanto actors like Megan Thee Stallion, Becky G, and Luis Fonsi. Some people felt their addition took away from the song. Others just kicked back and enjoyed the hit. Neither group uttered one word about Bruno.