If the Oscars are so white, and many of Hollywood's stars are turning to a boycott, where are Latinos in this protest?

"It's kind of a catch-22," said Felix Sanchez, co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. He says unlike some prominent actors of color, who are not receiving recognition from the Academy for roles they portray, Latinos aren't even getting the parts. Without opportunities for actors and directors, he says, Latinos lack the high-profile in Hollywood "to address why there are no Latinos being named here."

The Oscars are exemplary of Hollywood's lack of diversity, but hardly the source of the problem. A 2013 MPAA study found 25 percent of box office sales were to Latino moviegoers, despite comprising 17 percent of the population. "The first step really" toward increasing the number of Latinos nominations "is about the studios and whether there is a commitment to including Latinos."

The #OscarsSoWhite boycott puts the few Latinos invited to attend in a delicate predicament. The Oscars are the most visible part of a system that Sanchez and others are working to change. But many fear "to shun it [the ceremony] is to bite the hand that feeds you."

The point, he says, is "Latinos are not getting roles, period. I mean that's where it starts."

Angilee Shah



From PRI's The World ©2015 Public Radio International