Their first meeting on the screen was very Spanish. They were talking about potato omelette. And they cultivated their flirtation under the shade of an Osborne bull billboard. But from Ham Ham, from Bigas Luna, in 1992, both began a path that would take them far from home. Spain has not been the only cinematographic homeland of Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz for a long time. And, although they have filmed and received applause from half the world, Hollywood presumes to consider itself something like their second home. The mecca of US cinema has adopted them and reserves for them the treatment of the big stars: it hires them whenever it can, it invites them to its parties and its talk shows (TV shows). And, above all, reward them. One Oscar for her, one for him. And four nominations each, the last, this Tuesday, for Being the Ricardos (Barden) and parallel mothers (Cross). The first, yes, joint. Because both will attend the gala on March 27 as candidates for a statuette. Leading actor and leading actress. In the background, the summary of their lives.
“That my nomination and Penelope’s happen at the same time seems magical to me,” Bardem told a news conference after the announcement. Few would doubt that, in addition, it seems deserved. At home, the awards should no longer fit them: Batfa, César, David, Cannes or Venice festival awards… He has five Goyas, in 12 nominations. She wins in candidacies: 13 —the first of both, by the way, was Ham Ham—. but cross only It has three heads. And, of course, both opt again for the recognition of Spanish cinema at the ceremony this Saturday: she for the film by Pedro Almodóvar. him for the good boss, by Fernando Leon de Aranoa.
At this point, they have a lot in common: to begin with, two children and a marriage. But, looking back, they also share the dates of the international launch. In 2000, while he was debuting as an Oscar nominee, with Before Night Fallsby Julian Schnabel, she was launching into one of her first Hollywood performances, with all the beautiful horsesby Billy Bob Thornton. From then on, Cruz added films like Blow, by Ted Demme, or Vanilla Sky, by Cameron Crowe. And Bardem appeared in Collateral, by Michael Mann, or Dance steps, by John Malkovich. Until, in three years, their lives and their careers changed forever. Because they met again. And because they began to mark the history of Spanish cinema. Separately first. And together, shortly after.
2007: She is first nominated for an Oscar for Returnof Almodovar. 2008: he wins it, for No country for old men, by the coen brothers. 2009: She Gets It Too, For Vicky Cristina Barcelonaby Woody Allen. Today perhaps some viewer has become accustomed to this exceptionality. But it should be remembered that it was a milestone, in both cases. A Spanish interpreter had never achieved anything similar. Much less everything that would come later.
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As half the world watched in fascination, Cruz and Bardem looked at each other again. Precisely at that time, rumors began to emerge about their romance, perhaps fueled by the volcanic sequences between the two in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. There were photos, suspicions and, finally, confirmation. In 2010, when he received the award for best actor at the Cannes festival for Beautiful, by Alejandro González-Iñárritu, from the stage he released: “I love you very much, Penelope”. With that film, in addition, Bardem opted for the Oscar for the third time. And that same year they got married.
Such success also caught the attention of the paparazzi: Both, however, responded with a firm defense of their privacy that they still maintain. The blockbusters were also interested in them. And, in this case, the door remained open. It is often said that the big studios carefully choose the actors for their big budget films: they must be “active”, names that attract the public and reduce the risks of failure. Another demonstration of the impact of both. the saga of Pirates of the Caribbean bet, directly, on the two: first Cruz, in 2011. And then Bardem, in 2017. Incidentally, she also added a third Oscar nomination, for Nine, by Rob Marshall. And he became one of James Bond’s best recent nemesis in sky fallby Sam Mendes.
From appearing so much on the big screen, they ended up getting together more times on it. In 2013, with the counselor, by Ridley Scott. And in 2017, already back in Spain, with loving paul, by León de Aranoa, where they shared many sequences and even a fierce fight. In 2018, they both starred everyone knows themby Asghar Farhadi. And, at the press conference to present the film, she assured: “We have done it several times and we don’t take the characters home at the end of the day because we have the same vision of the work. We’ll do it from time to time, when we think it’s okay, but not very often.” Since then, in fact, it hasn’t happened again.
They have shared many galas. And, in September, it was she who, with the Volpi Cup from the Venice festival in her hand, thanked him, sitting in the seats. On March 27 in Los Angeles, both will take a seat at the Oscar ceremony. So far, everything normal, for Bardem and Cruz. But both will also have options to win. Unheard of, even for such a couple.
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