After mourning over more than 100 celebrity deaths, including Latino music icon Juan Gabriel, an intense election year, dangerous natural disasters and vicious terror attacks worldwide, many are eagerly waiting for 2016 to be over.
But let’s not say goodbye to this year without taking a quick look back to the times in which these Latinos made 2016 a year to remember, for all the good reasons.
Let’s not forget Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu won the Best Director Oscar for a second year in a row for his film The Revenant, despite the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel "El Chivo" Lubezki made history when he won the Oscar for Best Cinematography, becoming the first cinematographer to win the award three years in a row.
It has been quite the year for Mexican actor Gael García Bernal. During this year’s Golden Globes he took home the award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy TV Series for his lead role on the Amazon Prime hit show Mozart in the Jungle. Audiences have fallen in love with his character, Rodrigo de Souza, a young, eccentric, Mexican musical prodigy brought to the U.S. to conduct the prestigious New York City Orchestra in an attempt to keep classical music relevant in modern day New York.
The show’s third season debuted earlier this month and he garnered a second nomination in the same category for the 2017 Golden Globes.
Thankfully, García Bernal is not the only Latino we’ll be cheering for on the January 8th Golden Globes. Chilean film director Pablo Larrain’s Neruda, a film inspired by the life of iconic Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, is one of the nominees for Best Motion Picture in a Foreign Language.
The song “How Far I’ll Go” from the Disney movie Moana got Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of the award-winning Broadway musical Hamilton, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.
Gina Rodriguez scored a third Golden Globe nomination for her lead role on the CW hit TV show Jane The Virgin, a spin-off of the 2002 Venezuelan telenovela Juana La Virgen. Hopefully, 2017 kick starts with a repeat of Rodriguez’s 2015 emotional speech after winning the award.
Gina Rodriguez and Lin-Manuel Miranda have been making a lot of headlines throughout 2016.
Most recently Miranda was named the Entertainer of the Year by the Associated Press, an honor previously given to artists like Beyoncé, Adele, and Lady Gaga. Back in April, Miranda became the second Latino to ever win a Drama Pulitzer Prize for his musical Hamilton.
2016 was also the year Gina Rodriguez vowed to only take roles that progressed the image of Latinos in the entertainment industry and turn down stereotypical roles, according to an interview with Marie Claire magazine.
Another young Latina who is taking the entertainment industry by storm is Guatemalan singer and songwriter Gaby Moreno.
From voicing musical character Marlena on the TV show featuring the first Latina Disney princess Elena of Avalor to getting a Grammy nomination in the Best Latin Pop Album category for her bilingual album Ilusión, 2016 has been a busy year for Moreno.
The first-time Grammy nominee and already Latin Grammy winner also paid tribute to legendary singer Linda Ronstadt by interpreting one of the artist’s songs from the 80’s “Rogaciano El Huapanguero” during this year’s Special Linda Ronstadt Tribute Concert. Ronstadt's musical career began with the influences of the Mexican rhythms from her father’s guitar and ended in 2013 after revealing she could no longer sing because of the effects of Parkinson's disease.
2016 brought to an end the two-year-long wait for Calle 13 fans, after the duo’s former singer Residente announced his 2017 musical comeback.
René Pérez Joglar, better known as Residente, kept busy this year. Between campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, advocating for the liberation of Puerto Rico’s last political prisoner Oscar López and appearing on the musical Hamilton’s mixtape version, Residente managed to seal a unique type of deal with Fusion Media Group, a division of Univision Communications, certainly opening a new chapter in the tricky relationship between the independent and corporate music industry.
The five-year deal includes the development of new multimedia content such as a new music album based on Residente’s ancestors and DNA results, a highly interactive new website that takes users through his life and music journey and a long form documentary featuring him.
Speaking of big music industry moves, the all-time King of Bachata Romeo Santos joined Jay Z’s record label and entertainment company Roc Nation as the CEO for their new Latin division. So far, Santos has signed four up-and-coming musicians to Roc Nation Latin, including Dominican singer Mozart La Para and American Idol alumna Karen Rodríguez.
Latinos continue to make a mark in film and were showcased throughout the presentation of 26 film projects during the Tribeca Film Festival’s 15th anniversary. Among these were Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Silva and Mexican actor Gael García Bernal.
With that, let’s leave this year behind as we eagerly await more Latino success in 2017.