By Luisa Elquiroz, Herald Tribune
American actor Edward James Olmos, who was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 4th Platino Prizes for Ibero-American Cinema Saturday, said Hispanics were ready to stake out a place in the United States film market commensurate with their numbers.
“The future is in our hands 100 percent. There’s a lot of us, and there will be even more. They’re afraid of us in the US,” Olmos said at a press conference in Madrid.
Known as “Eddie” by his friends, the Los Angeles-born actor of Mexican descent said when asked about US President Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency and his vow to build a wall on the US-Mexico border that recent events were a mere bump in the road and urged people to hopeful and patient.
“We’re going to dominate art like we did in the 1930s and 1940s, and we’re going to do it again because there are more of us, and they’re afraid,” Olmos said on the eve of the Platino Prizes awards ceremony, which will be held on Saturday at Madrid’s La Caja Magica stadium.
In that era, “there were 750 cinemas in the United States that showed our work; now there are 25, unless it’s (Pedro) Almodovar’s latest, which is shown on 300 screens, but that happens once every 18 months,” the actor said.
Speaking to an audience that included the president of the Spanish Academy of Cinema, Ivonne Blake, and several hundred Latin American journalists, Olmos said he was extremely moved and even cried upon learning he had been chosen as the latest recipient of the Platino Honor Award, a career-achievement prize.
“What Latin America cinema needs today is recognition of its art. And patience, because we’re at a world-class level. Our art needs to be rewarded and then for these films to be allowed to travel the world,” the actor said.
Best known for his role in the hit 1980s television series “Miami Vice” and his starring turn as an inspiring math teacher in the 1988 drama film “Stand and Deliver,” Olmos lamented the miniscule presence of Hispanic films the US cinema market, saying they accounted for just 4 percent of all movies screened.
“We need to keep telling our stories … and we need things like the Platino Prizes – thank God for creating them. This is the way to garner attention. They’ll eventually make commercials where they say, ‘so-and-so, winner of a Platino,’” he said.
The 70-year-old Olmos will reprise his role as the mysterious Gaff in “Blade Runner 2049,” which is due out in the fall and is the sequel to the classic 1982 science-fiction film “Blade Runner.”
Olmos praised the work Canadian director Denis Villeneuve has done on the film, saying he had created something powerful but that he could not reveal any details about the sequel.
Your Editor Applauds: Eddie Olmos keeps fighting and winning