The Oscars don't have a great reputation for nominating and center-staging Latino talent, but this year, animated hit Coco, which stars a majority of Latino actors, nabbed two nominations and Gael García Bernal will perform “Remember Me” from the hit at the Oscars.

By Frances Solá-Santiago
February 28, 2018 03:58 PM
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The Pixar animated film Coco has already established its place in movie history. Since its release last year, the movie, which stars a majority of Latino actors, has busted the box office bringing in more than $700 million in gross sales worldwide and received Oscar nominations for Best Original Song and Best Animated Feature Film.

Now, fans across the globe have a chance to witness the magic of Coco live at the 90th Academy Awards on March 5. Actor Gael García Bernal and singers Miguel and Natalia LaFourcade will perform the nominated song “Remember Me,” written by songwriting veterans Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who won an Oscar for their 2013 megahit “Let It Go” from the animated movie Frozen.

The last time a Latino star performed at the Oscars was in 2005, when Carlos Santana (alongside Spanish actor Antonio Banderas) interpreted Jorge Drexler’s song “Al otro lado del rio” from The Motorcycle Diaries. (True, in 2017, Lin-Manuel Miranda rapped an intro to his song “How Far I’ll Go” from the Moana soundtrack before Auli’i Cravalho took the stage to interpret the tune, but that was a fast fleeting moment.) When Drexler eventually won the first-ever Oscar for a song in Spanish, he took the chance to sing a short verse from the track in place of an acceptance speech in protest of not being invited to perform at the ceremony alongside Santana and Banderas. Two years prior, Lila Downs and Caetano Veloso performed the Oscar-nominated song “Burn It Blue” from Frida in both Spanish and English. But, far too few Latinos get to showcase their talents at Hollywood’s biggest night.

And Latin entertainers like Gina Rodriguez and Salma Hayek have decided to take a stand in recent months to urge the academy to nominate more Latin stars and to encourage studios to create more work for and about the community. At the 2018 SAG Awards in January, Rodriguez highlighted the dearth of opportunities for Latinos in Hollywood. “Studios, I love you,” she said on the red carpet. “But we buy one in every four tickets every weekend. Latinos hold studios up.”

While “Remember Me” is not a Spanish language song, the group of performers is an unprecedented show of Latino representation at the iconic awards show. Other performers at this year’s ceremony include nominee Mary J. Blige, Oscar winner Common, and actress Keala Settle.