“Already the first and most successful female Tejana music singer, Selena’s growing popularity in both Mexican and American music and fashion paved the way for many of today’s biggest pop stars, including Jennifer Lopez herself,” the Library of Congress said. Lopez would be nominated for a Golden Globe for the performance and go on to establish a hugely successful music career of her own.
”Olmos has said that there were moments on the set when Selena’s father would excuse himself and quietly cry in the corner because of the fresh emotions of her death and because many events were so accurately portrayed,” the statement continued. “The final montage of the movie features real footage and photos of Selena’s life.”
In nominating the movie for inclusion, Castro wrote that “the film industry’s ongoing exclusion of Latinos unfortunately not only affects the Latinos seeking opportunities in the industry, but also affects how Latinos in everyday life are perceived, stereotyped, and too often misunderstood.” He said the film “Selena” merited inclusion in the National Film Registry as “a beloved icon of Latino culture”—and one with “widespread mainstream success, proving once and for all that Latino stories are American stories.”
“Movies remain a truly American form of storytelling, uniquely accessible and democratic as an art form,” the congressman continued. “The exclusion of Latinos from the film industry, the lack of support and opportunity given to Latino films and filmmakers, and the barriers that Latino-focused projects face from development through distribution mirror the ways in which Latinos continue to be excluded from the full promise of America—a problem that will not be solved until our stories can be fully told.”
Olmos, who played Selena’s father Abraham, told the Library of Congress that he believed the film “will stand the test of time. (It’s) a masterpiece because it allows people to learn about themselves by watching other peoples’ culture.”
“The movies this year are among the most diverse to enter the registry and include some that date back nearly 120 years,” NBC News reported. Inducted in addition to Selena this year: Cooley High, a 1975 movie about Black teens who lived in Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood, Chicana, a 1979 documentary about Chicana women, and Who Killed Vincent Chin?, a 1987 Oscar-nominated documentary about the murder of a Chinese-American man by two white men in Detroit.
“We strive to look at the range of films, those that are entertaining and inspiring, but also those films that raise more difficult questions, titles that get us to recognize that films are documents of our complex social and political history and that their preservation is absolutely essential if we’re going to look honestly at our past,” National Film Preservation Board chair Jacqueline Stewart said in the statement.