It's that time of year again. Before we dive into the self-congratulatory, politically motivated charade that is the Academy Awards (yeah, we said it!) and celebrate Penelope Cruz's inevitable win, we'd like to present our 2nd Annual Lazzie Awards, where we give special thanks and praise to the very worst in Latin Hollywood. And boy, was there a lot to be ashamed of in the 2008-2009 season.
Without further ado, the losers are...
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Diego Luna, Milk
In an otherwise brilliant biopic with moving performances, Luna bombs spectacularly as Jack Lira, Harvey Milk’s psychologically challenged and hyper-clingy last boyfriend, and proves that no man—gay or straight—should ever, ever rock an apron. It’s possible that this heinous crime against acting wasn’t his fault, since the real-life Lira seems to have really been that pathetic, but hearing Luna hysterically shriek, “Where are yoo?! Are yoo weet Scott? Are yoo weet anotherrr man?!” still elicited the deepest, most painful cringe we’ve experienced in quite some time. Whenever James Franco threw a pitiful look in Luna’s direction onscreen, we couldn’t help wondering whether he was thinking the same thing we were.
The John T. Leguizamo Award for Worst Actor on TV
Cristián de la Fuente, In Plain Sight
Anyone who crosses over from telenovelas to crime dramas is in for a reality check, and Cristián de la Fuente just got schooled. Shortly after wooing grannies and flamboyant Italian judges with his Cha-Cha on Dancing with the Stars, the Chilean actor made his debut on USA’s In Plain Sight as (what else?) hunky Latin lover Raphael Ramirez, the boyfriend of Mary Shannon (played by Mary McCormack); at the time, de la Fuente boasted to Latina.com that his pairing with McCormack would be like a modern-day Ricky and Lucy Ricardo, a la I Love Lucy. Let’s just say he was giving himself way too much credit.
The "There's Always Waitressing" Award for Worst Actress in a Movie
Jessica Alba, for all of 2008
Alba started off the year with a bomb, Good Luck Chuck, then went on to star in even more craptastic films such as The Love Guru and The Eye. After putting the vote to our readers, Alba ran away with this award, leaving all other competitors in the dust. Congrats Jessica!
The "There's Always Waitressing" Award for Worst Actress on TV
Dania Ramirez, Heroes
As Maya, Ramirez literally had us cringing on our couches. Other than the fact that the girl can rock a mean pair of short shorts, we never could quite wrap our heads around this casting choice. We found ourselves watching many episodes through our fingers, kind of like the same way you’d take a peek at a car crash.
The "We Want Our Money Back" Award for Worst Movie
The Love Guru
This poor excuse for a comedy committed many crimes against humanity last year—starring Mike Myers and Jessica Alba, littering itself with awful jokes, bombing at the box office, exploiting an entire ethnic community for cheap laughs—but sucking mightily was the gravest offense of them all.
The "Worst Fauxtino of the Year" Award for Worst Portrayal of a Latino
Vanessa Ferlito, Nothing Like the Holidays
It was hard to pin down a great Fauxtino candidate this year, given the startling trend in Hollywood of actually hiring Latinos to play Latinos. But thankfully, we were given the gift of Vanessa Ferlito in Nothing Like the Holidays. We're not really sure what exactly about Ferlito's botched Spanish and thick Brooklyn Italian accent screams "Latina"—especially since there are 10 actual Latinas who would have been perfect for the role.
The "No Espeak Espanish" Award for Poor Spanish Speaking Skills in a Movie
Victor Rasuk, Ché
So thick were the Cuban accents in this Che Guevara bio-epic, you couldn't even slice through them with a machete if you tried. In fact, we're pretty sure we hardly heard any "s" sounds uttered during the entire four grueling hours of the film(s)! And yet, somehow, some way, Nuyo-Dominican actor Victor Rasuk was cast in a blink-or-you'll-miss it role as young revolutionary Rogelio Acevedo and forced to display his 8th grade-level Spanish (e.g."Ya-mar pour telay-phone-O") for all to hear. Next time Rasuk tries to take on a subtitles-only movie, might we suggest a diction coach?
The "No Espeak Espanish" Award for Poor Spanish Speaking Skills on a TV Show
Michael Trevino, 90210
You know how creepy gringo men get a rise out of women speaking Spanish? Well, apparently teen stud Ozzie Cardoza, Michael Trevino's character on 90210 (2.0!), has a theory that the reverse is also true. Ozzie is constantly speaking broken Español in a misguided attempt to woo his high school crush, Naomi Clark (AnnaLynne McCord), and the effect is not quite as lame as it sounds—it's worse. Seriously. See here if you don't believe us.
The "I'd Rather Be Watching the Weather Channel" Award for Worst TV Show
Too many characters and convoluted plotlines made Season 3 of Heroes a must-skip. Even with (or perhaps because of?) the inclusion of Latino twins Maya and Miguel, and the persistent eye candy that is Mohinder—thanks for all those shirtless scenes, by the way—this season couldn’t be saved.
Award for "Ickiest Onscreen Chemistry" in a Movie
Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
From their first date ending with ScarJo's head in a toilet bowl to their stiff, wholly unbelievable breakup scene, Javier and his, er, "intellectually curious" blonde muse ignited little to no fireworks in VCB. Only when Juan Antonio (a.k.a. Mr. Suave) loosened up Rebecca Hall's uptight character and reunited with his endlessly sexy ex-wife, Maria Elena, did things really get steamy. All hail Penelope Cruz!
Award for "Ickiest Onscreen Chemistry" on a TV Show
Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) and Dr. Erica Hahn (Brooke Smith), Grey's Anatomy
We've said it before, and we'll say it again. Callie deserves better! The curvaceous nurse's liplock with her colleague was so bad, Grey's producers actually sent Brooke Smith packing and found a new woman for Ramirez to pursue. You know it's bad when a girl-on-girl kiss fails to turn on anyone, let alone pull in ratings.
The "Setting Us Back" Award for Negative Stereotyping in a Movie
Eva Mendes, The Women
Mendes didn't just play a spicy, sexy Latina (again!); she embraced the stereotype to its fullest. Her character in The Women embodied pretty much the ultimate negative image that Latinas have been fighting against for ages: a sex-crazed, man-eating, soulless spitfire. ¡Qué Caliente!
The "Setting Us Back" Award for Negative Stereotyping on a TV Show
Um, we’re not going to lie here and say that we expected this show to break down barriers or anything. But neither did we expect it to be like our worst nightmare of kitschy Spanish television come to life. From the Santeria themed voting room, to Maria Conchita Alonso, this whole show was just a hot mess.
Award for "Best Reality TV Trainwreck" Female
Daisy de la Hoya, Rock of Love
Leave it to celebreality mastermind Cris Abrego and the wholesome folks at VH1 to find Oscar de La Hoya's secret, trashtastic niece, give her the chance to find true love in aging hair metal star Bret Michaels, mercilessly crush her heart, then take pity and reward her with the consolation prize of her own spin-off reality show (Daisy of Love, coming soon). We love—and hate—it already.
Award for "Best Reality TV Trainwreck" Male
Frankie Delgado, Bromance
Being Brody Jenner is bad enough. Being the wingman to Brody Jenner on a lower than low-rated MTV show and passionately defending your bromantic union with him as anything other than an attempt to get famous and get laid? Priceless.
The "Karma's a Beyotch" Award for Shady Behavior: Female
America, we love you and we used to love Ugly Betty (until it totally started to suck this year), but it seems you may be getting your just desserts. Can we make a gentle suggestion? When you are on a press tour with your "best friend" promoting Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Part 2, you should refrain from rolling your eyes, fidgeting and glaring at her like you think her whole existence is pointless just because someone asked her about the hit show she stars in. Now Ugly Betty might be canceled. What can we say? Karma's a beyotch!
The "Karma's a Beyotch" Award for Shady Behavior: Male
This past year, Mexican hottie Verástegui campaigned in favor of Proposition 8, saying, "I feel I have been called to fight for traditional marriage between a man and a woman," and against reproductive rights for women. We understand that he has a ton of time on his hands being that all his other projects are...um, non-existent. But damn, Eduardo, must you dedicate your life to make other people's so difficult?
The "Biggest Disappointment" in a Movie Award
Nothing Like the Holidays
Oh, Latinos. Is it really that hard for us to support our own movies? Sure, this feel-good holiday flick had its flaws—a cliche joke about Adobo here, inauthentic gangster swagger courtesy of Jay Hernandez there...but it had plenty of heartfelt moments and funny one-liners, too. But we didn't care. We embarrassed it at the box office, choosing instead to see Keanu Reeves in The Day the Earth Stood Still. So now that we've had a couple of months to reflect on our guilt, consider this: Is John Leguizamo doing the worm really worse than Keanu's staring blankly at everyone for two hours? Think about it.
The "Biggest Disappointment" in a TV Show Award
Betty followers were hoping that the show's cross-country move to New York would spice things up; instead, all we got was a fizzled relationship between Gio and Betty, less face time for Hilda and one unfulfilled pregnancy (Christina, who's been carrying Wilhemina and Bradford's baby for what feels like at least a year). Then, just as we're deciding whether to keep holding on or pull the plug, ABC puts Ugly Betty on hiatus and rumors of an impending cancellation explode.
Note to producers: we viewers are neither stupid nor gullible, so just be honest: Should we just quit watching and get our suffering over with before Betty is officially nixed?
Eagerly awaiting your reply,
The "Lifetime Underachievement Award"
Let’s be serious for a second. Can you really be called an actor when you’ve played the exact same character (also known as yourself) for 40-plus movies? To his credit, about half of Hollywood projects take place in New York City and, well, you always need a Nuyorican to play an authentic Nuyorican and really enunciate the word “Papi” properly. It’s no wonder, then, that acclaimed directors like Steven Soderbergh keep casting Guzman for that critical role—after all, there’s something to be said about consistency. But what about range?! Even Guzman himself has said that “people come up to me on the street and call me Pachanga all the time.” Hmmm...could it be because you are him?