Lupe Ontiveros, right, and America Ferrera, promoting the film "Real… (Los Angeles Times )
The National Hispanic Media Coalition issued an open letter Tuesday to the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expressing their unhappiness that the late "Real Women Have Curves" actress Lupe Ontiveros was not included in the telecast's "In Memoriam" segment.
Ontiveros died in July. She was 69.
The letter explains that Ontiveros was not a member of the academy, which was the reason for her omission, but it adds that the actress, sponsored by actors Miguel Sandoval and Edward James Olmos, was denied membership in the organization when she applied.
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"It is astonishing that an actress of Ontiveros' caliber and experience was denied membership to the Academy," said the letter.
Lupe worked in the entertainment industry for 35 years. Her other film credits include "El Norte," "The Goonies," "Selena," "As Good as It Gets" and "Chuck & Buck."
The letter continues, "As the controversy of the academy's omission of Lupe Ontiveros in the Oscars in Memoriam subsides, we ask that the academy take a moment to pause and reflect on its commitment to the growing U.S. Latino talent."
UPDATED, 4:50pm: In a statement, the Academy said, " “Lupe Ontiveros is among the many worthy artists we were unfortunately not able to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year’s Oscar show. She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery on Oscar.com.”
According to a study conducted by the Los Angeles Times last year, Latino membership in the organization is less than 2%.
Academy CEO Dawn Hudson has expressed a desire to increase the diversity in the organization that is 94% Caucasian and 77% male. The group declined to comment on the NHMC letter.
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