- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 4, 2018

Actors Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani took time before presenting the Oscar for production design to declare a side in the illegal immigration debate.

Miss Nyong’o, born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, and the Pakistani-born Mr. Nanjiani noted those birth facts and then went on an extended riff involving the term “dreamers,” both in its literal sense of an imaginative artist and with the unmistakable overtones of political debate surrounding “Dreamers.”

“Dreamers” are younger illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors, usually brought by their parents. Their fate under President Barack Obama’s deportation amnesty and President Trump’s ending the program, known as DACA, has been roiling the U.S. political debate.

The two performers, introduced as “those actors whose names you can’t pronounce,” said the industry supported “Dreamers.”

“Like everyone watching, we are dreamers,” Miss Nyong’o said.

Added Mr. Nanjiani: “to all the dreamers, we stand with you.”

Ironically, the presented the award to “The Shape of Water,” a passion projected by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro that had much of the production work, as the credited winners noted, done in Toronto, Canada.

Miss Nyong’o won the supporting-actress Oscar for her performance in 2012’s “12 Years a Slave,” and Mr. Nanjiani starred in and wrote the autobiographical hit “The Big Sick.”

There were many other shout-outs to Mexico and Latin America, the source of most of the illegal immigration to the U.S.

When announcing that the Mexico-set Pixar film “Coco” had won best animated feature, presenter Oscar Isaac shouted out “Viva Latino America.”

The “Coco” winners took their cue.

Co-director Lee Unkrich said to Mexico, “‘Coco’ would not exist without your endlessly beautiful culture and traditions.”

“With ‘Coco,’ we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters,” he said.

A child voice actor closed things out by yelling “Que Viva Mexico!”

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