August 23, 2022
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) extended invitations some days ago to 397 international artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures to join the organization as members. The future Academy members include many U.S. Latinx and Latin American film professionals from Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Mexico.
Two Brazilian filmmakers were invited by the directors branch to join as members: Academy Award nominated Bruno Barreto, (Four Days in September, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands) and Jeferson De (The Malê Revolt, Bróder!). Additionally, Afro-Latinx filmmaker Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men), whose latest film King Richard was nominated for Best Picture at the 94th Academy Awards, was also invited in the directors branch.
In the documentary branch, Brazilian director Emílio Domingos (Favela Is Fashion, L.A.P.A.) and U.S. Latinx filmmaker Cristina Ibarra (The Infiltrators, Las Marthas), twice winner of the Cinema Tropical Award for Best U.S. Latinx Film, were invited as new members. Two South American producers were invited by the Academy, including Colombia’s Cristina Gallego (Birds of Passage, Embrace of the Serpent) and Brazil’s Sara Silveira (Good Manners, Vazante).
The Academy has also extended an invitation to a handful of U.S. Latinx and Latin American actors: Brazilian actor-director Selton Mello (The Mechanism, Trash); Cuban-American actor Olga Merediz (In the Heights, Adrift); Afro-Latina Ariana DeBose (The Prom), who became this year the first openly queer woman of color to win an Academy Award for acting for her role of in West Side Story; Puerto Rican-American Robin de Jesús (tick, tick…BOOM!, The Boys in the Band), Marco Rodriguez (El Chicano, Unspeakable), and British-American actor of Argentine descent Anya Taylor-Joy (The Northman, Last Night in Soho).
Other Latin American and Latinx filmmakers invited for the short films and feature animation branches include Mexico’s Karla Castañeda; Chile’s Hugo Covarrubias, whose short film Bestia was nominated for an Oscar this year; Mexican-American Yvett Merino, producer of Disney's Encanto; and Mexican-American filmmaker K.D. Dávila, among others.
Ecuadorean-born graphic designer James Verdesoto, who’s crafted the movie posters for Pulp Fiction, The English Patent and Ocean's Eleven, was invited by the Marketing and Public Relations branch; Mexican musicians Leo Heiblum and Jacobo Lieberman, composers of the scores for numerous films including Maria Full of Grace and Prayers for the Stolen were invited by the Academy’s music branch; and Ilda Santiago, executive director of the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival was invited as a member at large.
AMPAS, with its 17 branches of on-camera and behind-the-scenes artists, is the governing body that oversees the selection of the Academy Awards. Membership selection is based on professional qualifications reviewed by their peer group. The new Latinx and U.S. Latinx members have been invited to join the voting branches that decide who will receive the Oscar in their category.