Oscars 2022: How Hollywood fell in love with Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz | Culture

The first film in which Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz starred together was Ham Ham, a very Spanish film where we talked about potato tortilla and flirted in the shadow of one of Spain’s iconic Osborne bulls – a large bull silhouette erected as a roadside advertisement by the Osborne sherry company. But after that 1992 movie, both began to find work away from home. It’s been a while since the days when they only acted in Spanish films. And although they’ve appeared in films around the world, Hollywood likes to think of themselves as something like their second home.

The mecca of the American film industry has embraced the couple, giving them the full star treatment: actors are hired whenever possible, invited to parties and talk shows, and most importantly, nominated for awards. This year, Bardem and Cruz are in the running for an Oscar, Bardem for best actor in Be the Ricardosand Cruz for Best Actress in Parallel mothers. This is their fourth nomination, but the first time they have received one in the same year. The Spanish stars will attend the Oscars ceremony on March 27, not just as a couple, but as two nominees – a moment that symbolizes their life as a leading man and woman.

“For Penélope and me, being nominated at the same time is magical,” Bardem said at a news conference after the Oscar nominations were announced. Few would doubt that both deserve it. They must be running out of space at home to bring in all their awards – Baftas, César Awards, prizes from the Venice and Cannes film festivals. Bardem has won five Goya Awards – Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars – out of 12 nominations. Cruz has 13 Goya nominations, but has “only” won three times. Both received their first nominations for ham ham. Both, of course, are in the running for another Goya on Saturday: Cruz for Parallel mothers by Pedro Almodóvar and Bardem for The good boss by Fernando Leon de Aranoa.

At this stage of the game, they have a lot in common: two children and a marriage to begin with. But looking back, they also took off internationally at the same time. In 2000, when he received his first Oscar nomination for Before nightfalls of Julian Schnabel, she starred in one of his first Hollywood films, All the pretty horses, directed by Billy Bob Thornton. From there, Cruz went on to act in films such as Cut by Ted Demme and vanilla sky by Cameron Crowe. Meanwhile, Bardem lands roles in Collateral by Michael Mann and The dancer upstairs by John Malkovich. In three years, their lives and careers have changed forever. They met and marked the history of Spanish cinema. First separately, and soon after, together.

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem with director Woody Allen in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”.

In 2007, Cruz was nominated for her first Oscar for To return to by Almodóvar. In 2008, Bardem won an Oscar for There is no country for old people by the Coen brothers. In 2009, she won a statuette for Vicky Cristina Barcelona by Woody Allen. A person today might think that’s normal. But it was a milestone at the time – in both cases. Never before had a Spanish actor achieved such success, let alone what was yet to come.

As the world watched the actors on screen, they watched each other. Just then, the first rumors of their romance began to emerge, perhaps fueled by their fiery scenes together in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. There were photos, suspicions and finally, confirmation. In 2010, while accepting the Best Actor award for biutilful by Alejandro González Iñárritu at the Cannes Film Festival, Bardem said, “I love you very much, Penélope.” With biutilful, Bardem also received his third Oscar nomination. That same year, the two were married.

Their great success also put them in the eye of the paparazzi, but both were strong advocates of their privacy, a position they maintain today. Big productions also appealed, and in this case, the door was open. It is said that major studios choose the actors who will star in their big-budget feature films carefully – they must be “active”, names that will attract viewers and reduce the risk of financial failure. In this area too, the actors triumphed – another sign of their great impact. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise chose them both: the first Cruz in 2011 (About Stranger Tides), then Bardem (Dead men don’t tell tales) in 2017. Cruz meanwhile, received her third Oscar nomination for New by Rob Marshall, while Bardem became one of Bond’s greatest enemies in recent history in celestial fall by Sam Mendes.

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem in
Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem in “Loving Pablo” by Fernando León de Aranoa.

Appearing on screen so often, they ended up starring in more movies. The two starred together in Ridley Scott’s The counselor in 2013, then in 2017, in the Spanish film Loving Pablo by León de Aranoa, where they were in many scenes together, including a violent fight scene. In 2018 they also co-starred in Asghar Farhadi’s Everyone knows. Asked about working together at a press conference for this film’s premiere, Cruz replied, “We’ve done it many times and we don’t bring our characters home at the end of the day. because we have the same vision of work. We will do it from time to time, when we think it is a good idea, but not all the time. Since Everyone knowsthey did not work in the same film.

But they attended many award ceremonies together. At the Venice Film Festival last September, it was Cruz who thanked Bardem in the audience after winning the Copa Volpi for Best Actress. And both will attend the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on March 27. But unlike other Hollywood couples, the two are up for an Oscar – an unprecedented feat even for them.

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