10 Latino Oscar Winners!

We're rooting for Argentinean actress Berenice Bejo (The Artist) and Mexican actor Demian Bichir (A Better Life) to take home the golden statuettes at this Sunday's Academy Awards. But while we wait for the Oscars to start, let's take a look back at those who have already grabbed the ultimate prize in Hollywood in major categories.

And the Oscar went to...

1. Jose Ferrer

Jose Ferrer

Best Actor, Cyrano de Bergerac, 1950

The boricua actor became the first Latino to win an Academy Award for this classic role as a man with a big nose whose poetry wins over the woman he secretly loves—for a friend.

2. Anthony Quinn

Anthony Quinn

Best Supporting Actor, Zapata! 1952, Lust for Life, 1956

The strapping Mexican-born actor, long a Hollywood go-to actor for ethnic roles, took home back-to-back golden boys for real-life personages: Mexican revolutionary leader Zapata’s brother Eufemio (the lead role somehow went to Marlon Brando) and painter Paul Gauguin in the latter Van Gogh biopic.

3. Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno

Best Supporting Actress, West Side Story, 1961

It might have burned real-life Puerto Rican Moreno to see the lead role of Maria go to Natalie Wood, but then again, Wood was a huge star and Moreno was just starting out. So she got the much more fun role of spirited Anita and walked away with the Oscar.

4. Mercedes Ruehl

Mercedes Ruehl

Best Supporting Actress, The Fisher King, 1992

The actress won a boatload of awards for her role as the firecracker Anne Napolitano, girlfriend of a suicidal radio host in this heartwarming drama, but none were as special as the Oscar, which she became the first Cuban American to win.

5. Benicio del Toro

Benicio del Toro

Best Supporting Actor, Traffic, 2000

Hands down the best thing about this drug war epic is the Puerto Rican actor’s Mexican cop fighting massive corruption in his own force. That last scene in the movie, in which he watches over kids as they play baseball in a field lighted by bulbs he got for them, was, well, pure gold.

6. Pedro Almodovar

Pedro Almodovar

Best Original Screenplay, Talk to Her, 2002

While the iconic Spanish director’s movie All About my Mother won an Oscar for Best Foreign film, those awards go to the country that the movie is from, not the director or producers. The only award that Almodovar can call his own is one for his writing on this twisted, bittersweet film about a girl in a coma and an obsessed male nurse who cares for her.

7. Jorge Drexler

Jorge Drexler

Best Original Song, “Al Otro Lado del Rio,” The Motorcycle Diaries, 2004

Oscar show producers made a major faux pas when they asked Antonio Banderas and Carlos Santana to sing this pean to freedom over the Uruguayan singer who wrote it. But Drexler got his revenge when he won—and sang a stanza of his song as part of his acceptance speech.

8. Gustavo Santaolalla

Gustavo Santaolalla

Best Original Score, Brokeback Mountain, 2005, Babel, 2006

Juanes collaborator and composer Santaolalla displayed mastery of his art when he turned in a simple, haunting score Brokeback and then turned around and endowed Babel with music that had layers and layers of cultural influence and meaning. 

9. Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem

Best Supporting Actor, No Country for Old Men, 2008

As the scariest bad onscreen guy to come along in a long time, Bardem hardly said much (his purposely terrible haircut, on the other hand, said plenty) in the Coen brothers’ crime epic, but he didn’t need to. His presence said it all and he became the first Spanish thespian to take home an Oscar.

10. Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz

Best Supporting Actress, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, 2009

Having been nominated but passed over for her spunky turn in Volver the year before, the Spanish actress nabbed the prize for her scene-stealing role as mentally unstable artist who comically haunts her ex-husband and his new love.