Actors say Latinos deserve award-worthy roles

LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer
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Actress/singer Rita Moreno discusses the documentary film "Latino Americans" at the PBS Summer 2013 TCA press tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Actress/singer Rita Moreno discusses the documentary film “Latino Americans” at the PBS Summer 2013 TCA press tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Oscar-winning actress Rita Moreno says she has a ready answer for those who ask why more Latinos fail to receive Hollywood honors.

It’s because Hispanic actors aren’t cast in the kind of roles that gather big nominations and awards, Moreno said Wednesday.

Latinos are, in her words, “terrific performers,” said Moreno, who received a best supporting actress Oscar for 1961’s “West Side Story.”

Moreno, whose Spanish-language version of her autobiography is newly published, spoke during a Television Critics Association panel on the documentary “Latino Americans.”

She’s featured in it, along with other prominent Hispanic Americans. The three-part PBS film airs in September.

Benjamin Bratt, the documentary’s narrator, said Latino representation on the screen is “seriously wanting.”

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