If Cannes were the Oscars, Javier Bardem and Lesley Manville would be the hands down winners for Best Actor and Best Actress.¬† Who knows what can happen in the coming year, but these two are strong contenders already. Bardem is a recent Supporting Actor winner, so he probably isn’t your frontrunner, but a nomination seems certain. And Manville isn’t as well known in the states, which makes in the “lucky to be nominated” category. How will it go? Who can say.
I feel that with both Another Year and Biutiful, who you are and how you’ve lived your life makes the difference in how you respond to the film. You might be able to appreciate the artistry, but it won’t have a lasting emotional impact. I say this because two people I’ve either read or spoke to have given me back a very muted reaction to Biutiful.
Hollywood-Elsewhere’s Jeff Wells gave it a rave and calls it the film most likely to win the coveted Palme d’Or:
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Biutiful, which ended about fifteen minutes ago, is a sad and deeply touching hard-knocks, lower-depths drama in the tradition (or along the lines, even) of Roberto Rosselini‘s Open City or Vittorio DeSica‘s The Bicycle Thief. How’s that for high praise out of the gate ?
Set among the poor and deprived in Barcelona, it’s about love and caring and continuity and carrying on among those who have it toughest, and dealing with guilt and tradition and the approaching of death and all the rest of the stuff that we all carry on our backs.
Every actor is exactly right and spot-on in this film, but Javier Bardem gives a truly magnificent performance in the title role of an illegal migrant labor and street-vendor manager-facilitator. He looks right now like the most likely winner of the festival’s Best Actor award just as Biutiful itself seems well-positioned right now to take the Palme D’Or.
And The Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt calls the film, “Inarritu’s most intricate study yet of the human condition.”