When West Side Story and Encanto were released they were praised for Latinx representation and after winning Golden Globes, both films have been nominated for Oscars. Afro-Latina actress Ariana DeBose, who played Anita in WSS, earned her first Oscar nom for supporting actress. The 31-year-old earned the nomination 60 years after Rita Moreno became the first Latina to win an Oscar when she won in the same category for the same role. The film also received a best picture nomination and Encanto earned a best animated film nomination. If the film wins, the Oscar will go to the producers including Yvett Merino.
“What I’m most excited about is audiences being able to get to see, not only the story, but really this family, the family as a whole, the diversity we have in the family, and how many different people and different personalities there are. It’s exciting,” she told Collider. The film also received a Best Score nomination for composer Germaine Franco, the first Latina invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences music branch and to receive the Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature for Coco. Of course Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote all eight songs for the soundtrack, got a Best Original Song nomination for “Dos Oruguitas.”
DeBose has yet to release an official statement following the announcement though she did post on social media: “WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?!,” she captioned a photo looking shocked. “Once I compose myself I’ll have real words to say. But until then….”
Spanish actor Javier Bardem, who sparked controversy when he was cast as Cuban actor and singer Desi Arnaz, earned a best actor nomination. “To embody Desi Arnaz’s spirit was a privilege and an honor and to be connected to his energy and legacy is something I will never forget. Thank you to his family for trusting me with the responsibility of bringing this larger-than-life entertainer and entrepreneur to screen,” he said in a statement.
Director Hugo Covarrubias and producer Tevo Diaz earned a nomination in the Best Animated Short Film category for Bestia. The Chilean stop motion short, set in 1975, tells the story of Ingrid, a woman who works as a police agent for Chile’s military dictatorship and exploring her relationships.
“Inside every beast lives a victim,” Covarrubias told The Wrap. “I believe that in this case, Ingrid… is also a kind of victim of the totalitarian machine that reigned in Chile in the ’70s during the military dictatorship, so we think so much about the banality of evil.”
The 94th Annual Academy Awards take place March 27, 2022, on ABC – it’s uncertain if it will be in-person or virtual at this time.