In statements given to Variety as part of a look at the year ahead in Latinx film representation, Rosie Perez reveals she has never been invited to attend or present at the Academy Awards since her 1994 Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance in “Fearless.” The actress added, “Not even to sit in the audience, not to present, nothing — and I’m a member. I love the Academy Awards. I cheer on my peers, but it hurts.”
Perez described the feeling of never being invited to attend the Oscars as a guest in the audience as “like when your home team doesn’t ask you to come back into the stadium after you got up to bat and hit the home run.”
Perez was nominated in 1994 opposite Anna Paquin in “The Piano,” Holly Hunter in “The Firm,” Winona Ryder in “The Age of Innocence,” and Emma Thompson in “In the Name of the Father.” Paquin, at age 11, took home the prize. Paquin is the category’s second youngest winner following 10-year-old Tatum O’Neal in “Paper Moon.”
“The biggest struggle has been navigating through other people’s shortcomings,” Perez told Variety about navigating Hollywood as an actress of Puerto Rican decent. “Other people’s bigotry, racism — and specifically the ones that don’t understand that they are bigots or racists.”
While the Academy has been making strides for more inclusivity among its nominees, Variety notes only four of the 23 categories at the 2021 Oscars have Latinx representation: Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, and Carlos Cortés for Best Sound (“Sound of Metal”), Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibañez for Best Documentary (“The Mole Agent”), and Shaka King for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay (“Judas and the Black Messiah”).
Perez is a member of the Academy. “Fearless” is her only Oscar nomination to date, although she starred in Spike Lee’s Oscar-nominated “Do the Right Thing” (Lee for Best Original Screenplay, Danny Aiello for Best Supporting Actor). Perez starred in “Fearless” as a grief-stricken survivor of a plane crash. The actress most recently appeared in the HBO Max comedy series “The Flight Attendant,” which earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Comedy Series.