The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will present the winners of its 86th annual edition this Sunday, March 2, at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California. Needless to say, the Oscars have had a timid relationship with Latino talent (as well as with women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, among many other groups of people).
Yet, this 2014, Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón might make history by wining the Oscar for Best Director, thus becoming the first Latino ever to win the honor. Having won the Best Directors honors at the Golden Globes and the DGA Awards, Cuarón is the top contender in his category over David O. Russell, Alexander Payne, Steve McQueen and Martin Scorsese.
Cuarón is the fourth Latin American nominated as Best Director after Argentine Hector Babenco for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1985, Brazilian Fernando Meirelles for City of God in 2003, and Mexican Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel in 2006. Cuarón himself had been previously nominated for the Oscars (with his brother Carlos) in 2002 for Best Original Screenplay for his film Y Tu Mamá También.
Cuarón's space sci-fi film Gravity leads this year's Oscars nominations, tied with American Hustle with ten, including nominations for Best Film, Best Actress, Best Editing, and Best Special Effects, among other categories.
Mexican DP Emmanuel Lubezki is also nominated for Best Cinematography for his work in Gravity. This is his sixth nomination without winning -two of them for his work in other films directed by Cuarón: A Little Princess in 1996 and Children of Men in 2006. Being the top contender in this category, if Lubezki fails to win this time, then he can take it very personal.
The other contender with Latino heritage is Mexican-born Kenyan actress Lupita O' Nyong'o, whose performance in 12 Years a Slave has catapulted her to international stardom. She's also the top contender to take home the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
This Sunday we'll find out if these deserving nominees will be honored. Ay güey!