Best 2023 Latinx Performances

2023 Latinx Performances

When it comes to portraying our cultures, 2023 Latinx audiences are rejecting stereotypes. There may be a long way to go, but we’re pushing for more complex, rich, charismatic, valuable, and diverse characters with compelling messages in major productions.

The proof of our progress in 2023 is in the long list of performances that moved us this year and represented our heritage in dynamic ways. We hope Latinxs’ image in Hollywood keeps growing and offers more opportunities. Meanwhile this year, there are many reasons to celebrate Latinx excellence in these productions.

A Million Miles Away

A Million Miles Away

“Who better to leave this planet, and dive into the unknown, than a migrant farmworker?” It’s a line that resonates with me in A Million Miles Away, a film based on a true story about a Mexican-American astronaut.

Tenacity is a superpower for José Hernández (Michael Peña), the first migrant farmworker to travel into space. However, he didn’t do it alone, his family, and community made sacrifices and built a support network to reach that goal. It wasn’t easy, along the way he had to adapt, getting rejected, facing racism, and working very hard—first in farming and then as an engineer.

In this 2023 Latinx production, I keep returning to José Hernández’s five inspiring ingredients that his father gave him to achieve any goal: 1. Find your goal, 2. Know how far you are, 3. Draw a roadmap, 4. If you don’t know how, learn, and 5. When you think you’ve made it, you probably have to work harder.


Barbies in Barbie

It’s a dream to have America Ferrera in the Barbie universe. She is among the best representatives of our community, always bringing an optimistic message about our culture, and her turn in Barbie is no exception. Ferrera performs from an authentic, vulnerable place and in doing so, elevates one of pop culture’s most iconic fantasy lands into a masterclass of empowerment and inclusion.

Barbie could have been a simple summer premiere, but everyone involved bet on a bigger message leaving a positive mark on the audience. In particular, Ferrera’s monologue—which includes Latinas and women in general—nails the pressure we face to be perfect and stands out as the best fictional speech of 2023.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3

Zoe Saldaña as Gamora in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3"

Zoe Saldaña has actively represented the Latinx community in some of the top-grossing productions over the years. Seeing her in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been gratifying, to say the least. I so appreciate all the power she injects into her character Gamora—strength at least partly inherited from her Latinx culture.

In 2023, Saldaña said goodbye to Gamora and to her adopted family of superheroes. For some, it is the perfect ending for the group of friends. But for me, it is also a very emotional farewell, especially for Quill who had already lost his girlfriend at Thanos’ hands and is forced to let go of a second Gamora from a different timeline as well.

The Last of Us

Pedro Pascal in the Last of Us

This title hit all my social networks for months. Many fans of the video game were waiting for the premiere for a long time, and Pedro Pascal next to Bella Ramsey didn’t disappoint. Definitely, the last few years have been unforgettable for Pascal who is right now one of the most prominent figures in Hollywood thanks to his roles in The Last of Us, The Mandalorian, and Game of Thrones.

In The Last of Us, this Chilean-American actor proves that choosing the best person for a role should not be limited to racial or ethnic identity. He is pitch-perfect in his interpretation of a violent man in a world terrorized by a pandemic. But Pascal isn’t merely dangerous as Joel, he also delivers an emotional and vulnerable performance too, showing his and his character’s different facets.

And Just Like That

The reboot of Sex and the City sparks mixed opinions: some love it, others not so much. The most controversial character is Che Díaz (Sara Ramírez) who arouses animosity, in part, due to the storyline in which Che replaces Steve as Miranda’s partner.

The collective hatred wasn’t just from team Steve though, it mostly related to Che’s arrogant attitude during the first season. At that time, we saw the cover of the book, but in the second season, Che explores a more human place of vulnerability, according to showrunner, Michael Patrick King and Ramírez—who is a proud non-binary Latinx like Che.

Beyond the feelings you have about the character, this inclusive storytelling is igniting conversations and putting a spotlight on communities underrepresented on screen before.

Florida Man

Florida Man. (L to R) Edgar Ramírez as Mike Valentine, Abbey Lee as Delly West, Anthony LaPaglia as Sonny, Leonard Earl Howze as Ray Ray in episode 103 of Florida Man. Cr. Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix © 2023

Inspired by the famous meme, Florida Man has been described by some critics as chaotic, but should I repeat that it is inspired by the meme about bizarre Florida news? Well, going in, you should know that the characters go through absurd, hilarious, and very entertaining situations, which is why it stayed number one on Netflix for several weeks.

The series starring Edgar Ramírez moves between different genres with a great pace, dropping little references to memes every so often. Its eccentric origin made it stand out among a large number of 2023 Latinx productions—even in a great year for Ramírez, who at the end of December will be starring in season two of Dr. Death, another highly anticipated series.

Poker Face

POKER FACE -- “The Hook” Episode 110 -- Pictured: (l-r) Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale, Benjamin Bratt as Cliff Legrand -- (Photo by: Peacock)

This show about a woman who has the innate ability to detect lies is from Knives Out creator, Rian Johnson, so expect a similar portion of mystery and unresolved murders.

Actor Benjamin Bratt, who has Quechua roots on his mother’s side, is one of the recurring actors and plays a major role in the mysteries as he keeps chasing the main character played by Natasha Lyonne. He is a villain who brilliantly assumes perversity—making Bratt’s turn as the smarmy villain a critical part of turning Poker Face into a cult series.

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