Not only was he the first Spanish actor to be nominated for an Oscar, but he was also the first Spanish actor to win the Academy Award. He's taken on iconic roles as a sociopathic assassin, an undead ship captain, a cyberterrorist, and the infamous Pablo Escobar. The gifted actor we honor today for Hispanic Heritage Month is Javier Bardem.
How You Know Him
Bardem has had many unforgettable performances. But the one that made him a household name and earned him the Academy Award was his portrayal of psycho killer Anton Chigurh in the Coen Brothers' "No Country for Old Men." After his insane performance in that film, years later he got the opportunity to turn the crazy back on with his role as supervillain cyberterrorist Raoul Silva in "Skyfall."
Of all the roles Bardem has had, these are two of the ones a lot of people know him for. Also, you might recognize Bardem from the newest film in the Pirates franchise "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales." He plays the bone-chilling Captain Armando Salazar of the Silent Mary, hellbent on getting revenge on Jack Sparrow.
His Life So Far
Javier Bardem was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, Spain. His mother was an actress and his father the son of a cattle rancher. You might be surprised to learn that Bardem comes from a long line of filmmakers and actors. They contributed to the earlier days of Spanish cinema. His grandparents were actors Rafael Bardem and Matilde Muñoz Sampedro. And his uncle was screenwriter and director Juan Antonio Bardem.
Even though his family was full of actors, Bardem didn't have an initial interest in acting. His first love was painting. He even went on to study painting for four years at Madrid's Escuela de Artes y Oficios. He later found that he wasn't a very good painter. So, he instead chose the acting route.
He starred in many smaller films in his native country before he scored a role in "Before Night Falls" in 2000. The movie would earn him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. It also made him the first ever Spanish actor to be nominated for an acting Academy Award. In 2007, Bardem would then go on to be the first Spanish actor to win an Academy Award for acting for his supporting role in "No Country for Old Men." He won a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and a SAG Award for his performance as well.
A year later, Bardem starred alongside his now wife Penélope Cruz in the Woody Allen film "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." Cruz won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. In 2010, he went on to win Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in "Biutiful."
The Movie to See
When deciding which Javier Bardem film you should check out during Hispanic Heritage Month, we think his accolades speak for themselves for "No Country for Old Men." Bardem immerses himself so deeply into this crazed character that even his lifeless stare will give you the chills. His character is very matter of fact in the way he operates. And with every person he comes across, there's a 50/50 chance he'll kill them. Though he doesn't have any empathy for his victims, he does keep to his word. If he flips his coin and they call it correctly, he lets them go. His performance is so unnerving that we can only describe it as a master class for sociopaths. We compare it to the likes of Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs."
What's Up Next
The latest project that everyone is talking about is the upcoming reboot film "Dune." Bardem plays the role of Stilgar of the Fremen (known as the masters of the desert). The Warner Bros. production features an ensemble cast filled with A-listers. It's the type of epic moviemaking that should absolutely be seen in theaters.
Bardem is also set to play King Triton in the live-action adaptation of the 1989 animated film "The Little Mermaid." This film is currently set to hit theaters on May 26, 2023.
Jesse is a writer and content manager for Noovie. When he's not working, he's on the beach playing volleyball.