Méndez Esparza Receives Gotham Independent Film Awards Nod

Antonio Méndez Esparza is having a notable year…

Antonio Méndez Esparza

The 26-year-old Spanish filmmaker has earned a Gotham Independent Film Awards nomination in the Breakthrough Director category.

Méndez Esparza was recognized for his exceptional work on his debut feature film Aquí y Allá (Here and There).

Aquí y Allá

The film, which took top honors at the Critics’ Week sidebar at the Cannes Film Festival, centers on Pedro, a Mexican man who returns home to a small mountain village in Guerrero, after years of working in the US. He finds his daughters older, and more distant than he imagined, while his wife still has the same smile. Having saved money from two trips to the U.S., he hopes to now finally make a better life with his family, and even to pursue his own dreams on the side by starting a band: the Copa Kings.

Meanwhile, Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza has been recognized for her work on the feature film Safety Not Guaranteed, a film that centers on three magazine employees who head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel.

The 28-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/comedian and her co-stars in the film – Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Jenica Bergere, Kristen Bell, Jeff Garlin and Mary Lynn Rajskub – received a nod in the Best Ensemble Performance category.

The Gotham Independent Film Awards are handed out by the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers.

The awards signal the kick-off to Hollywood’s awards season. In all, Gotham Independent Film Award nominations were given to a total of 26 films across six competitive categories: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance, and Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.

The Gotham Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, November 26th in Manhattan. In addition to the competitive awards, actors Marion Cotillard and Matt Damon, director David O. Russell, and Participant Media founder Jeff Skoll will each be presented with a career tribute.

Here’s a look at the categories with Latinos being recognized:

Best Ensemble Performance

– Bernie, Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey (Millennium Entertainment)
– Moonrise Kingdom, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban (Focus Features)
– Safety Not Guaranteed, Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Jenica Bergere, Kristen Bell, Jeff Garlin, Mary Lynn Rajskub (Film District)
– Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher (The Weinstein Company)
– Your Sister’s Sister, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie Dewitt, Mark Duplass (IFC Films)

Breakthrough Director

– Zal Batmanglij for Sound of My Voice (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
– Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky for Francine (Factory 25 and The Film Sales Company)
– Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin for Now, Forager (Argot Pictures)
– Antonio Méndez Esparza for Aquí y Allá (Here and There) (Torch Films)
– Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Downs Recognized for Being a Voice Mexico’s Indigenous People

Throughout her career, Lila Downs has incorporated indigenous Mexican influences into her music… And now she’s being recognized for being a voice for the country’s indigenous population.

The 44-year-old Mexican singer/songwriter, who has recorded songs in indigenous languages like Mixtec, Zapotec, Mayan, Nahuatl and P’urhépecha, has been honored by the organization Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders for her work spreading awareness about indigenous people.

Lila Downs

Downs, who divides her time between New York and her native Mexico, accepted the Yoloxochitl Award from last year’s recipient, chef Zarela Martinez, who helped pioneer Mexican cuisine in the Big Apple.

Being honored by her compatriots “is an opportunity to make known that a very great effort is being made to educate and share cultural spaces that exist for the Mexican community,” the Latin Grammy-winning artist told Efe.

After picking up her award, Downs entertained the audience by performing several of her songs.

Every year, Mano a Mano honors a person “who represents who we are,” the organization’s executive director, said Juan Carlos Aguirre.

“Lila represents a very important segment of Mexico, with all its cultural diversity,” he said.

Born in southern Mexico to an Anglo-American father and a Mixtec Indian mother, Downs fuses indigenous and traditional music with genres such as folk, blues, jazz, hip hop and rock.

She is currently touring the United States to showcase her latest album, Pecados y milagros.

Martinez Nominated for National Book Award

Domingo Martinez is having a royally remarkable year…

Domingo Martinez

Not only is the 40-year-old Mexican American writer a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee, but the National Book Foundation has also just selected him as a finalist for this year’s National Book Awards.

The Brownsville, Texas native’s novel The Boy Kings of Texas appears on the short list of nominees in the non-fiction category. It’s up against books by Anne Applebaum, Katherine Boo, Robert A. Caro and Anthony Shadid.

The Boy Kings of Texas

Martinez’s lyrical and gritty memoir, published by Lyons Press, is an authentic coming-of-age story that centers on a family living on the Texas-Mexico border.

Meanwhile, Junot Díaz, who recently received a lucrative “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, is nominated in the fiction category for his critically acclaimed collection of short stories entitled, This Is How You Lose Her.

The National Book Foundation will announce the winners of the National Book Awards on November 14 in New York.

Here’s a look at this year’s finalists:

FICTION

Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead Books)
Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King (McSweeney’s Books)
Louise Erdrich, The Round House (Harper)
Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco)
Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds (Little, Brown and Company)

NON-FICTION:

Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 (Doubleday)
Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House)
Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4 (Knopf)
Domingo Martinez, The Boy Kings of Texas (Lyons Press)
Anthony Shadid, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Pitbull Earns Two American Music Award Nods

It could be called a case of déjà vu for Pitbull

For the second straight year, the 31-year-old Cuban American rap superstar has earned two American Music Award nominations. And, he’s picked them up in exact same categories as last year.

Pitbull

Pitbull is nominated in the Favorite Male Artist – Pop/Rock, where he’ll face stiff competition from Usher, Justin Bieber and Flo Rida.

In addition, Pitbull has received a nomination in the Favorite Artist – Latin category.  He’s up against Don Omar and three-time AMA Latin Artist award winner Shakira, who last picked up the award in the category in 2010. Pitbull and Shakira most recently collaborated together on the dancetastic track “Get It Started.”

The 40th American Music Awards nominations were announced on Tuesday morning in Los Angeles by Christina Aguilera. The “Your Body” singer, who will release her seventh studio album next month, is the first performer announced for the telecast.

The American Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre on November 18 at 8:00 pm on ABC.

For the sixth year, winners will be determined by online voting.

Click here for the complete list of American Music Award nominees.

Grandinetti Nominated for International Emmy Award…

Darío Grandinetti may soon pick up his first-ever Emmy award…

The 53-year-old Argentine actor has received an International Emmy nomination for his acting work on the Argentine series Televisión x la Inclusión, which is produced by ON TV Llorente and Villarruel Contenidos.

Darío Grandinetti

Grandinetti, who starred in Pedro Almodóvar’s Academy Award-winning film Talk to Her, has been nominated in the Best Performance by an Actor category for playing a nationalistic taxi driver in the chapter entitled “Suelo argentino.”

He’s up against Singapore’s Arthur Acuña, the United Kingdom’s Jason Isaacs, Norway’s Stein Winge and China’s Zhu Yawen for the International Emmy.

Meanwhile, Grandinetti’s Televisión x la Inclusión co-star Cristina Banegas has received a nod in the Best Performance by an Actress category.

The 66-year-old Argentine actress is being recognized for her work as the mother of a child with Down Syndrome in the chapter entitled “Sin cobertura.”

Winners will be announced at the 40th International Emmy Awards Gala, on November 19, in New York City.

Here’s a look at all the Latin American nominees:

Arts Programming

All My Life – Cartola
TV Globo / Rede Globo
Brazil

Best Performance by an Actor

Darío Grandinetti in Televisión por la Inclusión
ON TV Contenidos
Argentina

Best Performance by an Actress

Cristina Banegas in Televisión x la Inclusión
ON TV Contenidos
Argentina

Comedy

The Invisible Woman
TV Globo / Rede Globo
Brazil

Documentary

Hitler’s Escape
Anima Films / The History Channel Latin America
Argentina

Drama Series

The Social Leader
Artear / Pol-ka
Argentina

Non-Scripted Entertainment

El Hormiguero
7yaccion / Antena 3
Spain

Planeta Extremo
TV Globo
Brazil

Telenovela

The Illusionist
TV Globo / Rede Globo
Brazil

TV Movie/Mini-Series

The Good Men
TV Globo / Rede Globo / Casa de Cinema de POA
Brazil

Krauze’s Novel “Dias de Lava” Awarded Nuevas Letras Prize

He’s considered an emerging talent in the publishing world… And, now Daniel Krauze has collected a big writing honor.

The 30-year-old Mexican writer’s novel Dias de Lava was honored in the inaugural edition of the Nuevas Letras Prize, which is awarded by the Planeta Publishing Corporation and the Sanborns Group.

Daniel Krauze

Krauze’s honor includes a cash prize of 1 million pesos (about $78,000).

Dias de Lava tells the story of a Mexican man named Matias, who after the death of his father returns to his own country after living abroad for six years, only to come face to face with what made him leave in the first place.

Matias finally goes through a painful process of re-adaptation in which “he has to deal with his own past of destroying the lives of all those he left and all those who loved him,” a review of the work says.

The Letras Nuevas Prize was awarded at the Soumaya Museum by a jury made up of Angeles Mastretta, Marisol Schulz, Francisco Martin Moreno, Fernando Solana and Gabriel Sandoval.

The Sanborn Group and Planeta Publishing see the new prize as “an important step in the promotion and acknowledgment of Mexican writers and their peerless storytelling quality.”

The winning work will be published by the Joaquin Mortiz firm and will be presented at this year’s Guadalajara International Book Fair.

Krauze is the son of the writer Enrique Krauze. Krauze’s first novel Cuervos was released in 2007, and he also presented Fiebre in 2010.

García Márquez to Receive Mexico’s Fine Arts Medal

He may be Colombian, but Gabriel García Márquez is receiving plenty of amor from Mexico…

The 85-year-old Nobel Prize-winning writer and journalist, who has been living in Mexico since the 1970s, has been awarded a Fine Arts Medal from the Mexican government.

Gabriel García Márquez

In 1982, García Márquez, who will be the subject of a new film starring Roselyn Sanchez, received the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts.” He was the first Colombian and fourth Latin American to win a Nobel Prize for Literature.

“On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Gabriel García Márquez, the Fine Arts Medal will be presented to the journalist and writer,” the National Council for Culture and the Arts announced in a statement.

The Fine Arts Medal is the highest honor conferred by Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts on outstanding figures in the world of theater, dance, the plastic arts, music or literature.

The award is presented to luminaries who’ve had brilliant careers and significantly influenced the country’s artistic and cultural life.

The last person to be so honored was Argentine poet Juan Gelman, who received the award last weekend for the “talent and tenacity” he has expressed over his long career.

Other recipients of the medal include Mexican architect Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon and cellist Carlos Prieto.

No word yet on when García Márquez‘s medal presentation will take place.

Ádammo Strips Down for Extra MTV Europe Music Award Votes…

The members of Ádammo are hoping to flash past the competition to claim the band’s first MTV Europe Music Award…

The Peruvian power pop trio has been nominated for Mejor Artista Latinoamericano Central for the MTV Europe Music Awards, which will be taking place in Frankfurt, Germany this fall.

Adammo

And the members of the band—Ezio Oliva, Diego Ubierna and Renzo Bravo—are trying to get some extra exposure to earn extra votes from fans.

They happily appeared in an online ad promoting the awards show, using the numbers of the event date (11-11-12) to cover their private parts.

This isn’t the first time Ádammo has received some MTV Europe love. The band earned a similar nod last year, becoming the first Peruvian band to ever be recognized by the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Click here to see the full list of EMA nominees, which includes two nods for Pitbull this year.

Guerra Leads Pack of Latin Grammy Nominees

He’s one of the most internationally renowned Latin artists in the world… And, now Juan Luis Guerra is this year’s most recognized Latin musician, at least when it comes to receiving Latin Grammy love.

During a special press conference at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles, it was announced that the 55-year-old Dominican singer, songwriter and producer has earned six nominations for this year’s Latin Grammy Awards, receiving the most nods of any of the artists nominated for the awards show’s thirteenth installment.

Guerra—a 12-time Latin Grammy winner for his distinctive blend of merengue, bolero, bachata and rock—is nominated for record and song of the year for his gospel-tinged single “En El Cielo No Hay Hospital.”

The veteran music star also scored a nod in the Producer of the Year category for his work on Juanes’ MTV Unplugged album, among other musical projects.

Meanwhile, Mexican brother-sister pop duo Jesse & Joy, winners of the best new artist Latin Grammy in 2007, earned five nods heading into Latin music’s biggest night.

The duo earned nods in the big three categories — album, record, and song of the year — for their third studio set ¿Con Quién Se Queda El Perro? and their song “Corre!

Guatemalan singer Ricardo Arjona, Colombian rocker Juanes, Cuban musician Arturo Sandoval, Brazilian singer-songwriter Ivete Sangalo and Brazilian singer-composer Caetano Veloso joined music engineer Edgar Barrera and Mexican pop singer Carla Morrison with four nominations each.

The Latin Grammy Awards will take place on November 15 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The show will be broadcast live on Univision from 8:00 – 11:00 pm ET.

Click here for a complete look at this year’s Latin Grammy nominees.

Louis C.K. Picks Up Two Primetime Emmy Awards…

The number 13 isn’t so unlucky for Louis C.K.

The 45-year-old half-Mexican American actor/comedian picked up two trophies at Sunday night’s Primetime Emmy Awards exactly thirteen years after picking up his first Emmy.

Louis C.K.

Louis C.K., who had racked up seven nominations—the most nods for any nominee in the same year, picked up his first award for his behind-the-scenes work on his critically acclaimed FX series Louie.

His “Pregnant” episode beat out an episode of Community and Girls and two episodes of Parks and Recreation to claim the Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series award.

Asked backstage why FX’s Louie has brought him acclaim, while his HBO series Lucky Louie was cancelled after one season.

“I’m better than I was before, and hopefully I’ll be better later too,” he proclaimed, adding that being in New York with a “better group of people” has helped his new FX program.

“Whenever you leave behind failure, you’re doing good,” he said. “If you think everything you’ve done is great, you’re probably dumb. … I’m older now too. Older people are smarter and funnier.”

Meanwhile, Louis C.K.’s revolutionary online special Louis C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre, which aired on FX six months after its digital release, picked up the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special.

Louis C.K. had previously earned his first Emmy in 1999 in the Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program category for serving as a writer on HBO’s The Chris Rock Show.

Here’s a look at the night’s big winners:

Outstanding comedy series: Modern Family
Outstanding drama series:
Homeland
Outstanding miniseries or movie:
Game Change
Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie:
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Outstanding directing for a miniseries or movie: Jay Roach, Game Change
Outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie:
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Outstanding writing for a miniseries or movie:
Danny Strong, Game Change
Outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie:
Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys
Outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie:
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Outstanding variety series:
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding directing for a variety special: Glenn Weiss, 65th Annual Tony Awards
Outstanding writing for a variety special:
Louis C.K., Louie C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series:
Claire Danes, Homeland
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series: Damian Lewis, Homeland
Outstanding directing for a drama series: Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire
Outstanding supporting actress in a drama: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Outstanding writing for a drama series: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, Homeland
Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Outstanding host for a reality show: Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
Outstanding reality-competition program: The Amazing Race
Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men Outstanding directing in a comedy series: Steve Levitan, Modern Family
Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series: Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Outstanding writing for a comedy series: Louis C.K., Louie
Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family