Spanish Club celebrates diversity in film

I am the president of the St. John’s Spanish Club, and our last meeting was an Oscars Party on Feb. 12. I came up with the idea for this meeting when I was thinking about different meeting themes for the month of February. Originally, I thought about Valentine’s Day, because it seemed to be the most obvious choice, but it really did not have any association with Spanish-speaking culture. Then, I remembered the Oscars are in February and immediately thought it would be a perfect meeting idea. The only problem was how I could make it more specific to Spanish Club. 

There has been a lot of controversy in the past years about the lack of diversity in the group of Oscar nominees. I wanted the meeting to focus instead on a celebration of the success of Oscar winners and nominees of Spanish-speaking descent. I knew that I was going to have to do some research for this meeting as soon as I decided I wanted to do a full presentation. This is very different from the other Spanish Club meetings I have planned in this past year as president, but I knew a presentation would be the best way for me to celebrate Spanish-speaking actors, actresses, and directors. 

I spent time looking through lists of Latino and Spanish winners and nominees. I watched trailers and movie clips for some of the movies that seemed the most popular. I pulled together all of this information into a PowerPoint that included the name of the nominee, what movie they were nominated for, what country they are from (or where their family is from), and whether or not they one the award. I also chose a few of my favorite clips to share while I presented. 

Finally it came time for the club meeting in room 113. I brought popcorn and Sour Patch Kids as “movie snacks” for the Oscar Party. I shared my presentation with the club. I showed clips that I had chosen, including Rita Moreno’s performance of “America” as Anita in West Side Story, which won her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1961. I also showed the trailers of movies nominated for Best Director and Best Picture, including Birdman, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, which won both categories; Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, which won Best Director; and The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo del Toro, which won both awards. 

The club ended after the presentation and a discussion about some of the movies. In the end, the meeting very much achieved the goal I had for it, to celebrate the diversity in the movie making industry. I learned a lot from my research and was introduced to new movies and directors. I am glad to have been able to share all that I learned with other members of Spanish Club. 

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