EXCLUSIVE: Gael García Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries, Cassandro) will be honored with the inaugural Premio Vida y Legado (Life and Legacy Award) at the annual Día de Muertos celebration to be held on November 1 at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary in Los Angeles.
Now in its third year, the event is a tribute to Latino culture and the Mexican tradition of honoring family who have passed and bringing together family who are chosen.
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“I’m honored to present the inaugural Día de Muertos Award to Gael García Bernal, a true cinematic icon whose brilliant work as both a producer and actor has brought Latino stories to life and given them a space in mainstream culture,” Carlos Eric Lopez, the Mexican-American fine art and celebrity photographer who hosts the yearly dinner, told Deadline in a statement.
For more than three decades, Bernal has helped push Latino representation in Hollywood forward with his performances in lauded projects like The Motorcycle Diaries, Babel, A Little Bit of Heaven and Coco, to name a few of his big-screen hits. With Amores Perros, Y Tu Mamá También, Rudo y Cursi and Casa De Mi Padre, he put Spanish-language cinema on the map for a generation—oftentimes alongside longtime friend and collaborator, Diego Luna.
In 2023, he starred in the Amazon bio-drama Cassandro portraying the titular gay wrestler born Saúl Armendáriz.
He also is recognized for his small screen work in Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, the HBO Max miniseries Station 11 and most recently he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the Disney+ TV special, Werewolf by Night.
The honor will be bestowed yearly to a deserving member of the community who serves as a true guardian of Latino heritage. By illuminating the culture, the honoree ensures its enduring legacy. In the years to come, the event will continue to pay tribute to these dedicated individuals for their commitment to preserving and telling cherished Latino stories.
Also, new this year is the launch of the Abuelita Award presented to one deserving grandmother in recognition and celebration of their profound influence. This year’s honoree will be Lopez’s own abuelita, Lola Joann V. Cisneros, better known by her grandson as Lita. Cura Lita, Lopez’s new beverage company, was named in her honor and will donate funds to support grandmothers through the This Is About Humanity initiative.
Lopez held the first Día de Muertos celebration in 2021 to educate his non-Latino friends about the history of the Mexican holiday and to introduce them to Mexican traditions. A year later, he wanted to create a table for Latinos built by Latinos by inviting a curated crowd of Latino artists, tastemakers, business leaders and organizers. Prior attendees have included Miguel, Jessica Alba, Vanessa Bryant, Nicole Richie, Stephanie Sheperd, Michael Cimino, Jen Atkin, Sasha Calle, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Jamie Mizrahi and Diego Boneta.
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