Oscars® 2014: “Gravity” Tops With 7 Awards; Pizza Party, and Mexicans in The House

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Lupita Nyong’o  Photo Credit:  Darren Decker / ©A.M.P.A.S.

Three Oscar Winning Mexicans, the Jared Leto Speech and the Pizza Party at the Oscars®

By Bel Hernandez

Last night was a good year for Latinos at the Oscars®.  All told, five Oscars® went to Latinos, three of those were for the film Gravity.  Alfonso Cuaron took home the Best Director Oscar statuette as well as one for Best Editing on the film.  Cinematographer Emmanuel Luebezki, a six time Oscar nominee finally got his just due when he won for Best Cinematography making him the first Latino in history to win in this category.   The talented and beautiful Lupita Nyong’o, although Kenyan, was also born in Mexico and fluent in Spanish, took home the Best Supporting Actress award, solidifying her star status.  Mexico must be feeling the pride, because all three of these Oscar winners were born in Mexico.  Cuaron’s win is also the first time a Latino has won the directing category.

Not since  2002 have Latinos been so well represented at the Oscars® .  That year Salma Hayek’s Frida won two (Best Make-up and Best Original Song)  the five Oscar® nomination it received.  Pedro Almodovar’s film Talk To Her received two nomination that year, one for Best Director and the other for Best Original Screenplay which was won by Almodovar. 

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In his acceptance speech, Alfonso Cuaron thanked the “wise guys” of Warner Bros. then quickly realized that his literal translation of the Spanish of  “los sabios” in English did not mean what he intended.  He quickly corrected himself to say “wise people”.  Cuaron often jokes that his English sometimes gets him in trouble.  He recounts the time, while filming Gravity, when he said to Sandra Bullock that he was going to give her “herpes”.  What he meant to say was going to give her an “ear piece”.  But there was no mistaking, in any language,  the Spanish tribute to his wife who was in the audience, when he lovingly told said to her “Si yo esto aqui es por ti…esto es para ti,”  Translation, “If I am here, its because of you..this is for you.”   Even those who did not understand Spanish could sense the love.

In addition to the Latino Oscar®  winners, this year’s Oscars®  were a bit more diverse and inclusive.  Lupita Nyong’o  who African-American also represented this group as did fellow 12 Years a Slave winners John Ridley (Best Adapted Screenplay) and director/producer, Steve McQueen (winning as producer) and they could not have been happier to take the Best Picture Academy Award for their film.  The diverse presence was also seen in the performers, presenters and sadly also In Memoriam.  We were happy to see Carmen Zapata included in the In Memoriam.  Actor Luis Avalos, who also past away recently was not included.  Although as and actor he did work in 19 feature films, most of his credits were in television.

Other highlights included the Oscar®  win for songwriters Robert Lopez and wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez who won for original song Let it Go for the film Frozen.  With this win Robert Lopez, who is of Filipino decent,  joins the EGOT family of only twelve persons who have won all four awards, an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar®  and Tony.  The song/recitation acceptance speech by the husban/wife team was fun and endearing, a nice break from the norm.

And speaking of speeches there were a few that stood out, but it was Jared Leto win for Best Supporting Actor at the beginning of the telecast that set the bar high.   His acceptance speech set the bar high.  He honored his fellow nominees, gave a short tribute to his mother, thanked his brother for being his best friend, thanked the Academy and then he said:

To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say we are here and as you struggle to… to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible… We’re thinking of you tonight….And this for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world with you and for you.”

This speech ranks as one of the best Oscar®  acceptance speeches of all time.

Ellen DeGeneres as host was, by all account, was a hit once again.  With an outrages pizza party at the Oscars®  and the selfie photo that crashed Twitter.  The 86th Academy Awards where a major hit on so many different levels this year.