Bardem's Golden Globe lacks glitz but may spell Oscar

15th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

The Spanish actor picked up an award for his part in No Country For Old Men.

15 January 2008

MADRID - At the age of 39, Javier Bardem seems to be unstoppable. After winning the New York Film Critics Circle's Best Supporting Actor award for his role in the Coen brothers film No Country For Old Men, the Spanish actor has just made off with a Golden Globe, which is considered a harbinger for the Academy Awards, to take place in Hollywood next month.

In the film by the Coens, Bardem plays Anton Chigurh, a psychopathic killer who goes on a murderous rampage in Texas. It is a role that the actor has admitted he was nervous about accepting, although Bardem is known for taking on challenging parts, including that of a quadriplegic fighting for his right to die in Alejandro Amenábar's The Sea Inside.

"Anton Chigurh is a strange and unattractive character, but he has an intimate side, and a delicate nature that makes him attractive to women," said Bardem following the Golden Globe win on Sunday.

For the Spanish actor, it was "a lifelong dream" to be able to work with Joel and Ethan Coen, famous for their offbeat movies such as Fargo, Raising Arizona and O Brother Where Art Thou. However, until the writing and directing team contacted him for this movie, he had little hope of ever doing so because of the duo's tendency to tell "deeply American" stories, he said.

Although winning this award might be a dream come true for Bardem, the fact is that the 65th Golden Globe Awards were the least glamorous in film history. There was no red carpet and no actual awards were handed out - there was no gala dinner either. Instead, there was a lacklustre news conference where the winners were announced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The reason behind the distinct lack of glitz was the ongoing strike by the Writers Guild of America, which has been wreaking havoc on Hollywood for over a month over their demands for rights to a fair share of royalties for material distributed via "new media," such as over the internet or downloaded on to music and video players such as iPods. If the conflict remains unresolved, the Oscar gala could be going the same way as the Golden Globes.

Not that Bardem minds - like many other of his colleagues from the industry, he has expressed his backing for the strikers' actions. "We have to support people whose cause is fair, and this is obviously one such case," he said after receiving the New York prize.

Bardem, who comes from a family of filmmakers - he is the son of actress Pilar Bardem - has long been considered one of Europe's most talented actors. While he is famous in Spain for his work in films such as Bigas Luna's dark comedy Jamón, Jamón, or Fernando León de Aranoa's Mondays in the Sun, a moving story about a group of unemployed men, in the United States his name had been mostly associated with Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls, where he played the gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, a role that earned him a nomination for an Oscar in 2000.

Schnabel himself had a double win on Sunday with two Golden Globes going to his film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / SUSANA URRA 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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