Latino Oscar Contenders From 2021

Latinos are having a banner year in cinema, proven by the outstanding performances, and invigorating filmmakers and artisans, behind many of this year’s leading contenders for the Oscars.

During this holiday break, we’re sitting in the midst of voting for the Screen Actors Guild Awards (which opened on Dec. 6 and closes Jan. 9) and the first round of BAFTA Awards (began on Dec. 10 and ends Jan. 3).

As guild voters plow through their pile of screeners, both digitally and physically, The Hamden Journal is providing a helpful reminder of films that are engrossed with Latino talent and culture that should not be forgotten before ballots are turned in.

From the newcomers that stepped in front of the camera in “West Side Story” (David Alvarez and Rachel Zegler) to the scribes that told our stories in “Encanto” (Charise Castro Smith and Yvett Merino); from the visionaries behind “Nightmare Alley” (Guillermo del Toro) to the first-time director that made it look easy in “Tick, Tick … Boom!” (Lin-Manuel Miranda); and from the names you may already know in “The French Dispatch” (Benicio del Toro) to the ones you may not recognize as our own in “Passing” (Tessa Thompson), there’s enough consideration to be given to a group that is grotesquely underrepresented in the Academy’s history.

There’s history that can be made for people like Ariana DeBose (who would be the first person to win in a remake for a previous Oscar-winning character), Rita Moreno (who would be the oldest nominee of any competitive Oscar ever), Clifton Collins Jr (who would be the fifth Latino nominated for best actor) and Reinaldo Marcus Green (who would be the first Afro Latino directing nominee).

It’s not just about what you can see and who directed the projects. An animated gem like “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” has Cuban Phil Lord while Natalie Morales and Virgil Williams are telling stories differently with “Language Lessons” and “A Journal for Jordan.”

Check out all the predictions for the Oscars here. In no particular order, here are the Latinos voters shouldn’t forget.