Javier Bardem

Julie Roberts talks with EW’s Dave Karger, about the sad lack of awards recognition thus far for JAvier Bardem’s highly-praised performance in Biutful.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is it about Javier’s performance in Biutiful that you’re so passionate about?

JULIA ROBERTS: He’s so raw and completely open to sharing every emotion this character has. I was telling him at dinner tonight, when I watched it I had to keep stopping and saying, “Okay, this is not actually happening to Javier.” Because it’s his face and his big eyes. I think it’s unexpected for a man to expose himself so deeply. And it’s incredibly agonizing in its subtleties. I just have a great appreciation for what he went through to show us all this. I know it had to hurt.

The rest at EW.com.


Our friend Matt Mazur at PopMatters makes strong closing argument in support of Alejandro Gonz√°lez I√±√°rritu’s Biutful.

Going into the Cannes Film Festival back in May, buzz on Iñárritu’s newest film Biutiful felt positive, there was a palpable excitement surrounding the film. But then, after the film’s bow, it was met with a strongly mixed reception and there seemed to be critical cries of praise and disappointment in what felt like equal accord. The Telegraph‘s Sukhdev Sandhu snidely labeled the film a “laborious stretch of designer depression, a remorseless headache,” in a terse, two-star, four-paragraph review. In Contention‘s Guy Lodge sharply pointed out, in his two and a half star short take review review of Biutiful, precisely why the film may have met with a limp response from critics: “There’s nothing like bleary-eyed festival fatigue to shorten one’s patience with films that fall a little short of either potential or expectation.” And therein lies the rub: how can critics who are clamoring to be the first to review the newest releases at film festivals across the world justify passing the layered Biutiful off as “laying it on a bit thick,” as Sukhdev wrote, or as a “cheap portrait of despair” as Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn wrote, when they are seeing several movies a day in the theater and are expected to tease out the nuances of staggeringly complex works of art at break-neck speed for an impossibly quick turnaround?

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Yesterday, Sean Penn hosted a post-screening Q&A with Javier Bardem who was there to promote his career-best performance in Biutiful at the DGA Theater.¬† Penn called it the “best performance since Brando in The Last Tango in Paris.”

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu said he wrote the role with Javier Bardem in mind, “How far are we able to face truths? I have gone through every emotional state possible, it was an incredible ride,” he said.

It means something to have a heavy hitter like Penn stand up and make it known that he is putting his might behind Bardem, especially since Penn hasn’t done much publicity for his own film, Fair Game. He has finally emerged from his humanitarian work in Haiti but he uses that time to make sure Bardem’s performance does not slip by unnoticed. Anyone who’s seen Biutiful, despite the tepid response from many critics, knows that Bardem’s work here cannot be denied. Biutiful was one of the best films I saw at Cannes.

Two more pics after the cut.

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The women have all of the heat this year, thanks to a handful of bravura performances at the hands of gifted, courageous filmmakers like Lisa Cholodenko, Darren Aronofsky, Debra Granik, John Cameron Mitchell, Doug Liman, Derek Cianfrance, Mike Leigh – these directors have given women some great incarnations. We can talk about the lack of diversity overall in this year’s Oscar race (which hasn’t officially begun, it’s also worth saying) in the acting categories, though that ground has been covered already and there isn’t anything that will change it in the immediate future. Perhaps it is a discussion for a different time. It’s now time to turn our focus on the men who have stood out all year, and those who seem to have the buzz going their way as Oscar season proper heats up.

Even though it already seems like the five slots for Best Actor are mostly sewn up, it’s worth noting Paul Giamatti in Barney’s Version. Giamatti as the titular character as someone who takes a bite out of life, comes at it in bursts, and maybe destroys everything he values.¬†¬† Giamatti’s Barney is a heartbreaking, at times hilarious portrayal — always engaging. Giamatti is great at digging into characters who somehow manage to charm the pants off of us even while playing what most people would consider an unsavory character, both in looks and behavior. ¬†I’ll save much of my Giamatti love for a piece I’m working on about him — but for now, though it feels like trying to crowd one more passenger into a lifeboat, Giamatti’s work here, under-buzzed though it is, caught me off guard. ¬†He’s always good. ¬†He was great in Cinderella Man — his only Oscar nod. ¬†He was great in Sideways (my favorite performance of his). ¬†One of the reasons for this is that he is one of those actors who really does just want it to be about the work rather than the circus. ¬†He is always getting great roles, so career positioning doesn’t seem to be a motivator to bang the drum for Oscar. ¬†He doesn’t hold back with Barney – but lays it on the line, warts and all. The chances of him being one of the five in a very crowded year are slim, but he’s worth mentioning here.

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Javier Bardem, Best Actor winner at Cannes for his deeply felt performance in Biutiful, has been tapped to receive the Palm Springs Film Festival’s International Star Award. He joins Jennifer Lawrence (Rising Star) and Carey Mulligan (Breakthrough) as this season’s honorees.

“Mesmerizing is a word that describes the cinematic works of Academy Award winning actor Javier Bardem,‚Äù said Film Festival chairman Harold Matzner. ‚ÄúHaving honed his skills in a family of film actors, Bardem brings a stinging intensity to his performances. He riveted audiences with his portrayal in No Country for Old Men and continues to raise the bar in his latest film, Biutiful. Javier Bardem now ranks among the cinematic elite. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present the 2011 International Star Award to Javier Bardem.‚Äù

javier feature 2

Congratulations to Javier Bardem on news that he’ll be a new daddy in 4 months. (That’s on top of already being imaginary daddy to many of us for the past several years).

Penelope Cruz, 36, has now confirmed her pregnancy through her agent Antonio Rubial… Cruz wed fellow Spanish actor Javier Bardem, 41, in the Bahamas in July.

Full-size profile and Esquire cover shot after the cut. Meanwhile, Bardem talks to Chris Jones about his role in Biutiful.

“They are only movies,” he says, “but I want to make movies that count for something.” The character he plays, a dying man named Uxbal, has scratched out a life on desperate margins, but he is a man who has also maintained an unlikely moral center ‚Äî like Anton Chigurh, like Bardem himself. “I believe in a man having a code,” he says. Bardem is unforgiving when wronged; he believes in doing a job well; he commits entirely, but he does not commit himself often…

Because Bardem believes in what he is doing, he had trouble separating Uxbal from himself. He started to wonder whether some awful stain was growing inside him, spreading to his liver, his brain. “I think it is a very powerful movie,” Bardem says. “I would like you to see it. I hope it makes you cry.”

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