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So, The Oscar Statue Was Modeled After An Undocumented Mexican Man

Emilio Fernandez was a Mexican director and actor. He was also an undocumented immigrant who modeled for the famed statue.

Posted on February 28, 2014, at 4:19 p.m. ET

The Oscar statues that will be handed out on Sunday, were inspired by an unlikely figure in history. A Mexican man who fled Mexico was recommended to be the nude model Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's art director needed.

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Emilio Fernandez came to Los Angeles after a failed Mexican revolution in 1924. He was a screenwriter, actor and director, who befriended the actress Dolores del Rio. She was married to art director Cedric Gibbons, who designed the statue.

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Mexicans have won only 11 of the more than 2,800 Oscars that have been handed out over the years.

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Additionally, only 2% of academy voters are Latino. Gravity director Alfonso CuarΓ³n, who is Mexican, hopes to change the numbers this year with best picture, best director and best film editing nods.


Fernandez, who directed more than 40 movies, died in 1986.

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