Javier Bardem and his wife Penelope Cruz were both nominated for Academy Awards on Tuesday, the former for Best Lead Actor in Amazon’s Being the Ricardos, and the latter for Best Lead Actress for her role in Parallel Mothers. Also nominated for Best Lead Actress is Bardem’s costar Nicole Kidman, for her portrayal of Lucille Ball, leaving Bardem in a pickle fas to who to cheer for on Oscar night.
“I think both did a fantastic job,” Bardem tells Deadline on the heels of their nominations. “But Penelope did something extraordinary because she’s nominated for the second time for a role in Spanish—that’s really historic. Of course, I am rooting for her.”
He continued while evidently torn, “And I’m also rooting for Nicole, we had an amazing time working together. I’m rooting for Penelope…and then I’m also rooting for Nicole. It makes sense.”
Bardem reveals there was a private celebration at the Bardem/Cruz home this morning after the nominations were revealed but things were tense as they waited to hear. Both Bardem and Cruz have previously won Oscars for best supporting actors, the former for 2008’s No Country for Old Men, and the latter a year later for Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
“We were on the sofa, cuddled together waiting to see what was going to happen,” he says. “When they announced my nomination first, I was very excited but it wasn’t a true celebration until we heard she was also nominated. We would not be able to truly celebrate together if one of us was disappointed. As soon as her nomination came through, we really felt the emotion of what this all means. This really hit us deep in our hearts to be able to share something so beautiful and so special together.”
He added, “To speak of my nomination, it’s truly an honor and a privilege to be recognized. But it’s her nomination that brings me the most happiness, as well as us being able to celebrate something so special together. If we were normal people, we would do a party. But we’re actually quite boring. [Laughs].”
The role of Arnaz was one that Bardem chased passionately and one that challenged him on so many levels. He previously spoke to Deadline about a particular challenge that stood out from the rest: portraying a real-life person authentically who is beloved the world over.
When compared to what he faced working on the latest adaption of the beloved book Dune for the big screen, Bardem says Stilgar was much less stressful. Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Writing, Best Cinematography, and Film Editing, among others.
“I felt less pressure playing Stilgar, knowing full well how passionate a following the Frank Herbert novel has,” Bardem says. “He is a fictional character that we recreated with Denis, and the talented wardrobe, hair, and makeup team. Desi is a real person that has affected real people’s lives—that’s a totally different monster.”
Although Bardem is ecstatic with the love both of his projects have received, he wishes key players from Being the Ricardos and Dune had been shown more love.
“They missed nominating Denis as a director and Aaron Sorkin as a screenwriter,” he laments. “I wish Being the Ricardos had been nominated for Best Film. But that shows how volatile this is so you take it for what it is. I am very grateful for it all, don’t get me wrong. But at the same time, it doesn’t mean anything. What I mean by that is, I can’t compare myself to anybody else. I can’t say that my thing is better than anybody else’s because that’s not true. What it means to me is that it was something that was very well received and you got more votes than others but that doesn’t make you better than anyone else.”
He added, “When I see so many great artists that aren’t nominated, it’s a great reminder that it’s all really objective. It would impossible to do that.”
The Oscar ceremony is set for March 27 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland, planned as an in-person event to air live on ABC.
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