Oscar diversity: It’s been 54 years since a Latina took home an Academy Award


It is not only African Americans who have been underrepresented in the Oscar field over the decades. So have other people of color including Latinos, Asians and indigenous actors.

Movies and the movie business are reflective of the eras they were made in. The racism that was so prevalent during much of the 20th century in America could be seen in the awards selections.

#OscarsSoWhite: Full coverage of the boycott and Hollywood’s reaction


For example, white actors earned Oscars playing Latino and Asian characters.
Warner Baxter won the lead actor as the Mexican Cisco Kid in 1928’s “In Old Arizona.” And Austrian Luise Rainer won her second lead actress Oscar as the Chinese peasant O’Lan in 1937’s “The Good Earth.”

The track record of Latino, Asian and indigenous nominees and winners has improved over the years, but no Asian actress has won an Oscar in 58 years, and it’s been 54 years since a Latina took home an Academy Award.

Here’s a look at nominees and winners of Latino, Asian or indigenous descent:

Latino Oscar winners and nominees:

Adriana Barraza: Supporting actress nominee for 2006’ s “Babel.” Barraza was born in Mexico.

Demian Bichir: Lead actor nominee for 2011’s “A Better Life.” He was born in Mexico.

Benicio del Toro: Supporting actor winner for 2000’s “Traffic” and supporting nominee for 2003’s “21 Grams.” Del Toro was born in Puerto Rico.

Jose Ferrer: Lead actor winner for 1950’s “Cyrano de Bergerac”; supporting nominee for 1948’s “Joan of Arc” and lead actor nominee for 1952’s’ “Moulin Rouge.” Ferrer was born in Puerto Rico.


Andy Garcia: Supporting actor nominee for 1990’s “The Godfather III.” Garcia was born in Cuba.

Thomas Gomez: Supporting actor nominee for 1947’s “Ride the Pink Horse.” He was the first Hispanic to be nominated for an acting Oscar.

Weeks before there are any winners, we already know that only white actors will take home an Oscar in 2016.

Salma Hayek: Lead actress nominee for 2002’s “Frida.” She was born in Mexico.

Catalina Sandino Moreno: Lead actress nominee for 2004’s “Maria Full of Grace.” She was born in Colombia.

Katy Jurado: Supporting actress nominee for 1954’s “Broken Lance.” She was born in Mexico.

Susan Kohner: Supporting actress nominee for 1959’s “Imitation of Life.” Kohner’s mother is Mexican actress Lupita Tovar.

Fernanda Montenegro: Lead actress nominee for 1998’s “Central Station.” She was born in Brazil.


Rita Moreno: Supporting actress winner for 1961’s “West Side Story.” Moreno was born Puerto Rico.

Edward James Olmos: Nominated for lead actor for 1988’s “Stand and Deliver.” He was born in Los Angeles and is of Mexican descent.

Anthony Quinn: Supporting actor winner for 1952’s “Viva Zapata” and 1956’s “Lust for Life”; lead actor nominee for 1957’s “Wild is the Wind” and 1964’s “Zorba the Greek.” Quinn was born in Mexico.

Asian Oscar winners and nominees:

Shohreh Aghdashloo: Supporting actress for 2003’s “House of Sand and Fog.” She was born in Iran.

Sessue Hayakawa: Supporting actor nominee for 1957’s “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” He was born in Japan.


Rinko Kikuchi: Supporting actress nominee for 2006’s “Babel.” She was born in Japan.

Ben Kingsley: Lead actor winner for 1982’s “Gandhi”; lead actor nominee for 2003’s “House of Sand and Fog”; supporting nominee for 1991’s “Bugsy” and 2001’s “Sexy Beast.” The British-born actor is of Asian descent; his father was an Indian from Kenya.

Mako: Supporting actor nominee for 1966’s “The Sand Pebbles.” He was born in Japan.

Pat Morita: Supporting actor nominee for 1984’s “The Karate Kid.” He was Asian American.

Haing S. Ngor: Supporting actor winner for 1984’s “The Killing Fields.” Ngor was born in Cambodia.

Merle Oberon: Lead actress nominee for 1935’s “The Dark Angel.” The Anglo-Indian actress denied her heritage until a year before her death in 1979.

Jennifer and Meg Tilly: Jennifer was a supporting actress nominee for 1994’s “Bullets Over Broadway.” Meg snagged a supporting actress nominee for 1985’s “Agnes of God.” Their father was Chinese American.


Miyoshi Umeki: Supporting actress winner for 1957’s “Sayonara.” She was from Japan.

Ken Watanabe: Supporting actor nominee for 2003’s “The Last Samurai.” He was born in Japan.

Indigenous Oscar winners and nominees:

Keisha Castle-Hughes: Lead actress nominee for 2004’s “Whale Rider.” She was born in Australia of Maori and Australian descent.

Chief Dan George: Supporting actor nominee for 1970’s “Little Big Man.” He was chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

Graham Greene: Supporting actor nominee for 1990’s “Dances With Wolves.” He was born on the Six Nations Reserve in Canada.

Ben Johnson: Supporting actor winner for 1971’s “The Last Picture Show.” He was of Cherokee and Irish descent.



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