"Oscar" Academy Award Statue Modeled After Undocumented Immigrant Emilio "El Indio" Fernandez
At the Academy Awards, the Oscar statuette is as iconic as the gowns and the red carpet. With his square shoulders, tapered legs, and strong features, Oscar looks like an art deco god. But, as familiar as he may be, it turns out we don’t know Oscar very well.
For one, Oscar’s name isn’t Oscar.
Those broad shoulders belonged to Emilio Fernandez — a.k.a. “El Indio.” He was an actor in dozens of Hollywood films, one of Mexico’s greatest directors. Fernandez worked on Night of the Iguana, acted in The Wild Bunch, and directed dozens of films. But his own life was the real adventure movie.
Fernandez was born in Coahuila, Mexico in 1904. His father was a soldier, his mother a Kickapoo Indian. He grew up during the bloody revolution of 1910-17, was a teenager when Pancho Villa was killed, and dropped out of high school in the fall of 1923 to become an officer for the Huertista rebels. The following spring, after the rebellion was quashed, Fernandez was captured and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He escaped soon after (thanks to some dynamite) and crossed the border to Los Angeles, where he lived in exile for the next decade.
It was there, while working as a bus boy, that Fernandez got his break in the movie business. Some crew from The Thief of Baghdad were eating lunch at his restaurant and, desperate to come up with an opening sequence, pulled Fernandez over. He offered a simple idea, they took it, and the next day, the studio sent Fernandez a new Ford. His career in Hollywood had begun.
But Fernandez owes his tribute in gold to the silent film star Dolores Del Rio. She was his muse, his unrequited love… and MGM Art Director Cedric Gibbons’ wife. In 1927, shortly after the Academy was founded, Gibbons was tasked with designing an award statuette. He’d sketched a figure of a knight holding a sword and standing on a reel of film. He was looking for a suitable life model and Del Rio suggested that Fernandez would be perfect. She asked, he agreed. He stood for hours in the nude while they shaped the statue. And the rest, as they say…
The very first Oscar was handed out on May 16, 1929. In the years that followed, Emilio Fernandez received amnesty for his role in the Huertista rebellion and returned to Mexico to direct films. In all, he directed over 40 movies. His most famous, Maria Candelaria, won the Grand Prix at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. He died in 1986.
And no, he never did win an Oscar. Or, perhaps we should say, an Emilio.
On Wednesday, Seth Rogen gave impassioned testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee. The comedian and his wife Lauren Miller recently started a charity dedicated to Alzheimer’s education and research advocacy, Hilarity for Charity. Video of the ever-unassuming Rogen’s plea to support Alzheimer’s research resonated widely across the Internet, already having been viewed more than 3 million times on YouTube.
It’s not just that Rogen is a funny guy and that Alzheimer’s affects more than 5 million Americans, but also that a third of people fear dementia more than they do death. At odds with the massive public response to Rogen’s message, of the 18 members of the subcommittee, only two—Senators Tom Harkin and Jerry Moran—attended the hearing. “Not sure why only two senators were at the hearing,” Rogen tweeted. “Very symbolic of how the Government views Alzheimer’s. Seems to be a low priority.”
This man, James Verone, robbed a bank for one dollar. Why only one dollar? Because he knew that in prison he could get the medical care he could not afford with his part time salary as a convenience store clerk. He was approved for food stamps, but they did little to help his finances. Between his back problems, carpel tunnel, and arthritis, he simply couldn’t handle the pain any longer.
On June 9th, he sent a letter to his local paper, the Gaston Gazette, that stated: “When you receive this a bank robbery will have been committed by me. this robbery is being committed by me for one dollar. I am of sound mind but not so much sound body.”
He then took a cab to the RBC Bank, and handed the teller a note asking for one dollar and medical attention. He quietly took a seat in the lobby and waited for police to arrive.
Since Verone only stole one dollar, he was only charged with larceny. His bail, which he doesn’t plan to pay is set at $2,000, reduced from the normal $100,000. He’s scheduled to see a doctor this Friday, and hopes to get foot surgery, back surgery and to have a protrusion on his check treated.
To me, this is the perfect example of how disturbingly corrupt and unjust our health care system has become under HMO’s. For this man, or any person for that matter, feels that he needs to be imprisoned just to see a doctor, is ridiculous.
This is exactly what I hate about America. Why is it that you can buy an entire house with money you don’t have, but still can’t apply for health care if you don’t meet the requirements? That’s messed up.
god bless Canada’s Medicare :)
Shut up Canadian bitch.
^^ someone’s jealous of our awesome health care LOL ❤️
^^I’m jealous of your healthcare, just not your shitty country LOL :)
We allow gay marriage?????? We are nice????????? We don’t have guys shooting up schools????????? We don’t lash out on people when they are doing better than us????????? Lmao