Oscar and Lupe: A Tale of Forgetfulness

So, I’m about 5 days late and 35 thousand dollars short but I need to talk a little about the Oscars.

I don’t want to talk about Seth MacFarland‘s hosting stint and the boobs song (and his problem understanding beautiful Latinos – I know it was a joke, take it easy).

I’m not gonna talk about Argo (maybe, just a little). And I’m not going to talk about Jennifer Lawrence tripping or Renee Zellweger trippin (from the shoulders on up).

And I’m not going to talk about the winners or the losers because I did not watch the Oscars this year.

It happens. Just missed it. Didn’t even TiVo it. I was shooting a music video in the streets of Inglewood.















Oscar? Inglewood? Oscar? Inglewood? The choice was easy. By the time I got home, I got some grub and went online to face the hurricane of post Oscar Tweets and Facebook updates.

Note to all: don’t spill the beans on televised events as they happen. You’re not Bob Uecker. Actually…note to self: stay offline more.

In the midst of this Oscar shit storm one story stood out. The No memorium In Memorium. The omission of Andy Griffth, Gore Vidal, Larry Hagman, Richard Dawson, Sylvia Kristel and Guadalupe Moreno from the ‘In Memorium’ section of the show. That little slide show of those in the movie business who passed away in the last year.

Well, I mentioned Guadalupe Moreno because it’s Lupe Ontiveros‘ real name (I know to most either name will draw the same blank look). A name is just a name but a face is much harder to miss and Lupe’s was unforgettable (and Sylvia’s, too – thanks to Cinemax). Before passing away in Whittier, CA (everything is prettier or shittier in Whittier depending on if Horchata glass is half full or half empty – chill, it’s not a racist remark – I’ve lived in Whittier and I LOVE Horchata), Lupe played many roles throughout her career but she will always be remembered for being the maid in close to 150 TV, movie and theater productions. Her breakout roles (for me) came in Gregorio Nava’s “El Norte” (Watch this movie, NOW!), in “Selena” (where she played Selena’s Fan Club President who eventually murdered her), “The Goonies“, “Mi Familia“, “Real Women Have Curves” and my favorite “Chuck and Buck” where she played a theater director and was nominated for an Independent Spirit award for best supporting actress for a role that required no rubber gloves (Oye, Hollywood! Think outside the garbage can, folks can actually do good work).

All in all, pretty freakin’ amazin’ for someone who got into the business as an extra after being a social worker for 18 years (it’s never too late, y’all). At one point in her career she almost gave up playing heavy accented maids (she WAS born in El Paso and spoke perfect English) but fate is funny and you always have to be ready with what you’ve got (nothing less and nothing more) when the time comes. The video below reveals the story of a certain offer to be maid that Lupe couldn’t refuse – please watch. Regardless, Lupe was a pioneer and nothing expresses her passion more than this quote from Guadalupe Moreno herself,

“I’m proud to represent those hands that labor in this country. I’ve given every maid I’ve ever portrayed soul and heart. “

The Academy corrected their omission by including Lupe Ontiveros on their website but it might be a little to late for some. Take a look at this little segment that was produced for HBO Latino called “Celebrity Habla”. Lupe reveals herself and makes you wish she was still around. Adios, Lupe! And thank you for cleaning up! We loved every single second.

As for Argo – all I can say is I knew it would win best picture because I rarely agree with the Academy in that category so, eh…who cares?

But Ben, just Argo make another movie in Boston. Please. Argo might of been a cool little thriller but what I missed in it was the sweat, life and heart I felt with The Town and Gone Baby Gone. I don’t really care about the whole playing Tony Mendez when there were many available Latino actors that could play the part. I understand that you had to play the part because it meant more money for the budget. You don’t need any excuse about Tony Mendez not looking Latino or whatever. You’re an actor. A star even. Hell, you were married to Jennifer Lopez, that kind of makes you Latino by osmosis. OK, maybe not, but do me a favor… put Jennifer Lopez in a great movie and we’ll call it even. Deal?

P.S: I said “35 thousand short “at the top because that what I need to make a movie. Any donors? Ben?

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