Truth be told, the 2024 Oscars were not what we were expecting. The snubs, the bad jokes, and the general silence around Palestine were just a few of the things that made us doubt whether to watch the ceremony or not.

But then, we saw America Ferrera getting ready for the big night, and everything changed. This was a big moment for her and for every single Latina watching her stories on Instagram.

Almost a hundred years after the first Oscar ceremony, women of color are finally having their moment — whether they took the statuette home or not. As Da’Vine Joy Randolph said in her acceptance speech, we created our own path.

And it’s all thanks to those who came before us, like Rita Moreno.

When the term “support” means more than an Oscars category

During the 96th Oscars Ceremony, one of the public’s favorite moments was undoubtedly the Best Supporting Actress award presentation. The stage received a powerful quintet of previous winners: Jamie Lee Curtis, Mary Steenburgen, Lupita Nyong’o, Rita Moreno, and Regina King.

Each of the previous awardees presented a nominee, tracing an imaginary line from path carvers to torch bearers that brought tears to our eyes. It took us a moment to understand that the goosebumps we felt were synonymous with pride. Pride of how we women always support each other; how we honor each moment because of the hard work it implies to get there. And why, despite the tabloids’ best efforts, we will always be each other’s biggest supporters.

Credit: Getty Images.

You just needed to listen to Rita Moreno’s ode to America Ferrera while introducing her as a nominee.

“America,” Moreno said, pronouncing the name in Spanish and as a nod to West Side Story, the film for which she won in the same category 63 years before. “America, your powerful Barbie monologue is perhaps the most talked-about moment in the most talked-about movie of the past year.”

“Your words and the passion with which you delivered them about the most impossible standards females must try to live up to galvanized not only women but everyone with a pulse,” she continued, while Ferrera struggled to breathe with excitement, just like all of us watching at home. America, from one woman to another, congratulations on your tour de force.”

A full-circle moment for Latinas in Hollywood

The presentation of the Best Supporting Actress at the 96th Oscars became a metaphor for women’s empowerment, resilience, and, yes, support. Furthermore, it was a moment of reflection on how far we’ve come. After all, of the 96 ceremonies, the Academy has presented the Best Supporting Actress award 88 times. Before that, supporting actresses were given only plaques. 

Hattie McDaniel made history in 1940, four years after the first ceremony when she became the first person of color to win an Oscar in any category. Twenty years later, Rita Moreno became the first Latina to do so — and she completely changed the game for us.

Since then, we’ve had many nominations — Gabriela Rodríguez, Salma Hayek, Yalitza Aparicio, and Ana de Armas come to mind — but we’re still underrepresented, however, not because of a lack of talent. The Academy has only nominated eight Latinas to the category. And it took us 52 years to have another Latina, Lupita Nyong’o, win the Best Supporting Actress Award. 

The latest one was, of course, our beloved America Ferrera, whose impactful monologues in the past twenty years have won over our hearts and our unyielding support. She represents each and every one of us, with or without curves, exhausted of the weight of gender roles but always ready to show up and do our part.