Awards Season is Winding Down and There’s One Stand Out: Latinos de Hoy

Martha Higareda and Se Fija!’s Angela Ortiz

Martha Higareda
and Se Fija!’s Angela Ortiz

The legendary Charo

The legendary Charo

Angelica Maria being interviewed

Angélica Maria being interviewed

Awards shows come and go—we watch them, attend them, and complain about them. That’s why I was very surprised to be at an awards celebration that gave recognition to folks who have actually done or are doing something with their lives: the Latinos de Hoy Awards, given by The Los Angeles Times and Hoy newspapers.

Our consentidos grammy winners La Santa Cecilia

Our consentidos grammy winners
La Santa Cecilia

Sheila E. and her parents musician Pete Escovedo and her mom Juanita Gardere

Sheila E. and her parents musician Pete Escovedo and her mom Juanita Gardere

This is the second year for the event that honored some outstanding people and organizations. The recipients include:

  • Richard Montañez (Inspiration Award)
  • Robotics Team of Carl Hayden High (2014 Education Award)
  • La Santa Cecilia (Cultural Ambassador Award)
  • Eugenio Derbez (Humanitarian Award)
  • Angélica Maria (2014 Legend Award)
  • Justino Mora (UCLA student and Push4Reform co-founder, Young Leader Award)
  • Jose Hernandez of Mariachi Sol de Mexico (Master of the Arts)
  • Sheila E. (Special Achievement in Music Award)
  • Oscar De La Hoya (Community Icon Award)

    L-r: Juan Escobedo, Alejandro Patino, Lupe Gonzalez, Angela Ortíz, Romi R Dias, and Umberto Gonzalez

    L-r: Juan Escobedo, Alejandro Patino, Lupe Gonzalez, Angela Ortíz, Romi R Dias, and Umberto Gonzalez at the ALMA Awards

For me, the highlights of the evening were meeting actress/singer Angélica Maria, who I grew up watching on television and on film, and having a nice chat with singer Sheila E.’s dad, the legendary percussionist Pete Escovedo.

It was an interesting contrast to this year’s ALMA Awards that took place in the same week. It wasn’t the 15th year blowout I was expecting, though there were a couple of standouts, like a wonderful performance by Café Tacvba and a great acceptance speech from director/producer Guillermo del Toro. Take a look at it here:

Photos: ©2014 Angela María Ortíz S.

Alejandro González Iñárritu Talks “Birdman”

Alejandro González Iñárritu

Alejandro González Iñárritu

Composer Antonio Sanchez ©Daniel Sheehan

Composer Antonio Sanchez
©Daniel Sheehan

We came across a really good Indiewire q&a with Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu that we thought we would share. He talks about the making of his films especially his latest, Birdman—which stars Michael Keaton as Riggan, a washed up former action star.

The Film is getting great reviews both in acting and filmmaking. Check out the Iñárritu interview here. And check out another q&a with the Birdman composer Antonio Sanchez in TheWrap.

Óscar de la Renta Dead at 82

Óscar de la Renta

Óscar de la Renta

I’m not a couture type of a person, but who doesn’t know the name Óscar de la Renta, the Dominican born designer dressed many first Ladies and the Hollywood elite. His talent will be missed.

You can read more here on ABC News.

A Birdman, A Satire and A Thriller

Birdman150Here are three more films in theaters now for you to consider checking out.

Birdman aka (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki and music composed by Antonio Sanchez. The cast includes; Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, and Amy Ryan.

Dear White People150Dear White People
First time director Justin Simien and starring Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P Bell, Kyle Gallner, Brittany Curran, Marque Richardson, and Dennis Haysbert.

Kill the Messenger150Kill the Messenger
Is directed by Homeland’s Michael Cuesta and it has a huge cast of talented folks; Jeremy Renner, Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Paz Vega, Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff, and Michael K. Williams.

A half-hour with “Fury:” Se Fija! and friends talk to the new film’s writer/director and some of its stars

FuryIt’s not often you get to hear all of a press conference with such impressive people. But we were part of a special press conference about the World War II thriller, where writer/director David Ayer (End of Watch), Logan Lerman (Noah, Percy Jackson, Perks of Being a Wallflower) Jon Bernthal (Walking Dead, Wolf of Wall Street) and our old friend Michael Peña. And you can hear it all right here.

It was a very “male” press conference, extolling the virtues of punching fellow actors in the face as a trust exercise and the joys of stinkin’ up the set, but the affection, respect, and camaraderie is audible with every Q&A. Rather than paraphrase it, just set aside 30 minutes to listen to it all.

Fury is a fairly rare thing in Hollywood these days: a war movie, set in World War II—April, 1945, to be exact. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

L-r: director David Ayer, actors Logan Lerman, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal ©2014 Angela María Ortíz S.

L-r: director David Ayer, actors Logan Lerman, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal
©2014 Angela María Ortíz S.

It’s exciting, unexpected, and even a little emotional. And it opens Friday, October 17 all across the country. Here’s the conference:

Zoë Saldaña on Elevator Talk and “The Book of Life”

the-book-of-life-zoe-saldana-character-posterZoë Saldaña talks to Sam Rubin about the making of The Book of Life on the KTLA Morning News.

A Personal Look at “The Book of Life”

the-book-of-life-poster200By Juan Escobedo

The Book of Life was visually exciting frame by frame. At first I was confused because of the blurred images, then I looked at the kid next to me with his glasses on and realized it was a 3D movie. Yes, it was my first 3D movie. I couldn’t have asked for a better film to lose my 3D virginity.

Directed by Jorge R Gutierrez, the animated flick was about young love; the after life; animal rights; and a history lesson that will make you want to re-connect with your Mexican roots even if you are not Mexican.


My invitation came across via Lalo Alcaraz, cartoonist for the LA Times and Border Town. After knowing him for the past six years and hearing about his family, he finally introduced me to them at the screening of The Book of Life. The film is a family film with lessons to learn and a chance to open a dialogue to teach your kids about Mexican folklore and culture.

This is a film that seamlessly crosses all races with a cast that include Diego Luna, Zoë Saldaña, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Kate del Castillo, Christina Applegate, Ron Perlman, Cheech Marin and so many more. And Guillermo del Toro is one of the film producers.

An animated film that will be an annual must watch during the Halloween and Día de los Muertos season.

Juan Escobedo is a filmmaker and founder of TELA-SOFA

Trailers of Upcoming Films, ENJOY!

1-Interstellar-Poster1502-THE HUNGER GAMES MOCKINGJAY150Interstellar (November 7, 2014)
Director Christopher Nolan and starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn and Michael Caine

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1 (November 21, 2014)
Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Natalie Dormer, Mahershala Ali

4-CINDERELLA1503-The Interview150

The Interview (December 25, 2014)
James Franco, Seth Rogen

Cinderella (March 13, 2015)
Director Kenneth Branagh, Screenplay Chris Weitz, starring Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera, Derek Jacobi, and Helena Bonham-Carter

7-IN THE HEART OF THE SEA1505-Tomorrowland150In the Heart of the Sea (March 13, 2015)
Directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth

Tomorrowland (May 22, 2015)
Directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, and Hugh Laurie


Elizabeth Peña as Died

L-r: Lou Diamond Phillips, Rosanna DeSoto, Esai Morales and Elizabeth Peña at the tenth anniversary of La Bamba. ©1997 Angela María Ortíz S.

L-r: Lou Diamond Phillips, Rosanna DeSoto, Esai Morales and Elizabeth Peña
at the tenth anniversary of La Bamba.
©1997 Angela María Ortíz S.

We won’t see the strong, smart, warm, wry presence of Elizabeth Peña again. From La Bamba to Down and Out in Beverly Hills to more TV than we can remember, in comedy or drama, she was always worth watching. We will miss her deeply.

The news hit all the trades this morning: Elizabeth Peña passed away in Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles at the age of 55. You can read the details and a moving personal tribute to her from Mario-Francisco Robles in Latino Review, right here. No cause of death has been reported quite yet.

Rosie Perez Talks to NPR about Her First Month on the “The View”

Rosie Perez

Rosie Perez

Perez settles in as the first Latina co-host on The View. Listen in on her talk with NPR’s Eric Deggans here or click below.




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