Calls for boycott of the Academy Awards have been growing over the Oscars’ second straight year of all-white acting nominees.
Director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith have both decided they will not attend this year’s ceremony in protest, saying it’s time for people of color to disregard the Academy Awards.
"Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power," Pinkett-Smith said in a Facebook video on Monday. "And we are a dignified people and we are powerful."
However, missing from the voices of outrage is Hollywood’s Latino talent – nobody in the Hispanic community has raised the issue that Latinos were also notably omitted from the acting categories, and have been for many years. Many awards handicappers expected a nomination for Benicio Del Toro for “Sicario.”
“Because of the lack of opportunities, [Latino] talent has always been afraid of biting the hand who feeds them,” Felix Sanchez, co-founder and chairman of the National Hispanic Federation of the Arts, told Fox News Latino on Monday. “There are few heavyweights in the community that can make those kinds of statements. Nobody [else] wants it to hinder their career.”
In addition to this fear that speaking out will hurt any career, Sanchez said that the conversation needs to be expanded from the black-white paradigm to include all minorities, but especially Latinos, who make up more than 17 percent of the U.S. population.
“We are in the same boat, but from a different perspective,” he said, adding that Mexican filmmakers Alejandro G. Iñarritu and Emmanuel Lubezki were also nominated for best director and cinematography, respectively; however they seem to be excluded from the diversity conversation by Hollywood.
“They represent a unique diversity which we celebrate,” he said.
When Oscar nominations were announced last week, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cherly Boone Isaacs acknowledged she was "disappointed" that all 20 acting nominees were again white. Isaacs has worked to diversify membership for the academy, which a 2012 study by the Los Angeles Times found is overwhelming white and male.
“Jane the Virgin” actress Gina Rodriguez, who does not outright support a boycott of the Academy Awards, told Entertainment Today on Sunday that to impact future nominations, the diversity of the Academy’s board needs to be dissected. The Academy currently has 5,783 members.
"It's not as diverse as reflected in today's society. [We've] got to fix that," she said at the Critics’ Choice Awards.
It was a statement echoed by Sanchez, who said membership rules needs to be restructured to only have people who are currently working in Hollywood eligible to vote.
He said, though, the onus is still on the studios and agents to make any meaningful change by getting more Latino stars in leading roles.
“We had only two actors [Benicio del Toro and Oscar Isaac] that could have been nominated this year,” Sanchez noted.
When asked if Latino stars should join the boycott, Sanchez said that "boycotts have not worked out well for us when it comes to TV or film," in reference to a failed attempt to boycott Donald Trump's hosting stint of "Saturday Night Live."
In his Instagram post boycotting this year’s ceremony, Spike Lee made it clear the Academy Awards is only part of the problem in an industry with deep-rooted diversity issues.
"The Academy Awards is not where the 'real' battle is," wrote Lee on Monday. "It's in the executive office of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks. This is where the gatekeepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned to 'turnaround' or scrap heap. This is what's important. The gatekeepers. Those with 'the green light' vote."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Lucia I. Suarez Sang is the Entertainment Editor for Fox News Latino. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang