Antonio Banderas’ first Oscar nomination came in Monday morning for his leading role in Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain & Glory. “I was surprised” Banderas said, not only because he had been fairly absent from the campaigning scene due to the opening of his new theater, Teatro del Soho Caixabank, in his native Malaga, but also, he said, because this was a Spanish-speaking role.
Although Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite got a Best Picture and Directing nomination this time around, foreign language films are still largely being excluded from the main categories: case in point, Awkwafina’s Chinese-language role in The Farewell didn’t see an Oscar nomination, despite her prominent contender status.
Banderas’ nomination seems to give him hope that non-American films will see more Academy traction. “There is this period of the Oscars becoming the big awards worldwide, not only American, but worldwide,” he told Deadline. “It’s logical though that it takes time to adapt, and see what the future is of these important awards. It will be very interesting if it actually covers the whole entire world.”
Pain and Glory is the result of Banderas and Almodóvar’s eight-film relationship over 40 years, and even more poignantly, Banderas plays Salvador Mallo, a character based on Almodovar himself.
“My character is directing me, and my character is giving me ‘action’ and ‘cut’” Banderas laughed of the challenges the role posed. “Part of the movie I lived, those years in the ‘80s.”
The film is the pinnacle of an extraordinary working relationship. “It’s almost like a concentration,” Banderas said. “The movie is a concentration of everything that happened to us in the last 40 years. It’s almost like a juice of that.”
As for whether there are any new Almodóvar-Banderas projects in the pipeline, Banderas says simply, “The door is always open for him. I would never call him to tell him, ‘Do you have anything for me?’ If he needs me, it’s because he needs me, and he will call me. And he knows that.”