A deci­sion by the Acad­e­my of Motion Pic­tures, Arts and Sci­ences to exclude movies made in Puer­to Rico from com­pet­ing in the cat­e­go­ry of Best For­eign Lan­guage Film Oscar has trig­gered a protest by some of the indus­try’s lead­ing Lati­no members.

An online peti­tion on change.org has the sup­port of actors such as Oscar win­ner Beni­cio del Toro, Edward James Olmos, Miri­am Colón and a host of Lati­no orga­ni­za­tions. The peti­tion, signed by more than 1,500 peo­ple, was orga­nized by Frances Lausell, pro­duc­er of the new Puer­to Rican film Améri­ca

The con­tro­ver­sy arose when the movie, based on the nov­el “Amer­i­ca’s Dream” by Esmer­al­da San­ti­a­go, was not allowed to be con­sid­ered as a pos­si­ble nom­i­nee for Best For­eign Lan­guage Film for the 2012 Oscars.

The Oscars reject­ed it, say­ing that Puer­to Rico, a U.S. ter­ri­to­ry, is part of the U.S. and there­fore ineligible.

“We lose the world’s largest stage to show­case films,” said Sonia Fritz, direc­tor of “Améri­ca”