The family of Lupe Ontiveros ripped the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for failing to include the late actress in its “In Memoriam” segment during the Oscars telecast Sunday.
A family statement signed by son Elias P. Ontiveros says the move “displayed an indifference to the Latino community and made a statement about the lack of regard for Latino talent in film.”
Of course, inclusion in the segment was, as usual, subject to intense lobbying by family, agents and other handlers. Ontiveros' family did not lobby the Academy, Elias told us.
And, to be fair, a film about '60s crooner Rodriguez, Searching for Sugar Man, took the best documentary prize, while a feature about a Latino CIA operative, Argo, took the top film prize during the 85th Academy Awards.
Still, Ontiveros' exclusion has inspired much head shaking in the Latino community. L.A. city councilman Jose Huizar also wrote a letter to the Academy decrying the omission.
He writes: “Ontiveros was a torch-bearer and symbol of hope to the Latino
The family's statement was distributed by the National Hispanic Media Coalition, a group that has perpetually wagged its finger at Hollywood for its lack of Latino representation.
Ontiveros was perhaps best known for her role as a maid in the Oscar-winning As Good As It Gets.
The family's statement expressed “disappointment about the unfortunate omission” and called it “a poor decision … “
The family says the Academy had a chance to reach out to an important demographic:
It was also a missed opportunity by the Academy to reach out to the millions of Latino movie fans, who go to the movies at a higher rate than any other group in the U.S.
[Update at 2:11 p.m.]: The Academy just sent us this response:
Lupe Ontiveros is among the many worthy artists we were unfortunately not able to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year's Oscar show. She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery on Oscar.com.