Recognizing The Award-Winning Latino Acting Pioneers and Latinx Nominees of Today

Oscar Nods Moreno Aparicio
Photo Credit IG Rita Moreno & Yalitza Aparicio

While we wait with bated breath to find out if Latinx nominee Yalitza Aparicio will become the first Mexican and Indigenous actress to win an Oscar, let’s take a look at the other great actors and actresses who have had the honor of being nominated for Academy Awards for acting.

Jose Ferrer

In 1950, Puerto Rican Jose Ferrer became the first Latino Actor to win an Oscar. The award was for his starring role in the film, Cyrano de Bergerac.

Norma Aleandro

In 1987, Argentinian actress Norma Aleandro earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the film, Gaby: A True Story (1987). The first Argentinian to do so, Aleandro also starred in The Official Story (1985), which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

Andy Garcia

Cuban Andy Garcia is one of the Latino heavyweights in Hollywood. He has appeared in numerous roles, garnering an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Godfather III (1990, the first Cuban actor to do so).

Fernanda Montenegro

In 1998, Brazilian Fernanda Montenegro became the first Latina, and the first Brazilian actress, nominated for a Best Actress Oscar (she was also the first nominated for a Portuguese-speaking role). It was for her role in the film, Central Station.

Benicio del Toro

Puerto Rican Benicio del Toro is the second Latino actor ever (after Anthony Quinn) to be nominated twice for Best Actor (he is also the third Puerto Rican actor to win an acting Oscar, and the second Puerto Rican to win Best Actor). He was nominated for 2000’s Traffic (which he won), and 2003’s 21 Grams. When del Toro won in 2000, he became the first and only actor to win for a mostly Spanish-speaking role.

Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek had the role of a lifetime, interpreting the iconic Frida Kahlo in the 2002 film, Frida. She was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards, becoming the first Mexicana, and second Latina, to earn that honor.

Catalina Sandino Moreno

Colombian actress Catalina Sandino Moreno was the third Latina, and the first Colombian, to be nominated for Best Actress. It was for her starring role in the 2004 movie, Maria Full of Grace (which also was the first time an actress was nominated for Best Actress for a Spanish role). More recently, she played Luisa in the television series The Affair.

Demian Bichir

In 2011, Demian Bichir’s role as Carlos Galindo in A Better Life earned the Mexican actor an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He is one of only three Latino actors, and one of two Mexican actors, to be nominated for Best Actor.

Bérénice Bejo

Berenice Bejo is an Argentinian actress, known for her role of Peppy Miller in the 2011 silent film, The Artist. Her role in the film, which also won Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score, earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination. Bejo is the second Argentinian, and the fourth Latina, to earn that honor.

Yalitza Aparicio

Yalitza Aparicio made history this year, when she became the first indigenous Mexican woman, the second Mexican woman, and the fourth Latina to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Even more impressive is that it was for her first role, in the film Roma (2018).