OSCAR AWARDS 2022 - Bardem's complete response to the "Spanish minorities" controversy

This Tuesday, the day of the nominations for the Oscars 2022, It was historic for Spanish cinema, but especially for a couple of actors. Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz monopolized the microphones and the headlines after being selected at the same time by the Hollywood Academy to opt for the golden statuette. She for her role in parallel mothersthe film by Pedro Almodóvar, and he for Being the Ricardosa tape produced by Amazon.

These are all the nominees for the 2022 Oscar Awards

These are all the nominees for the 2022 Oscar Awards

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In their independent meetings before the press, both had words of love and mutual gratitude, and also towards Spanish cinema. "That my nomination and Penelope's happen at the same time is magical," Bardem said. But there was another statement that has raised dust on social networks.

"Let's talk about Spanish minorities. How many Spanish characters are there in international cinema? None. There are Latin American characters. I know what I'm talking about when I talk about minorities," he was heard saying in a short video of El País That summed up the moment.

The comments were immediate and there were many who criticized the actor for using the term minorities, normally reserved for groups that suffer discrimination, to refer to a European and Caucasian country like Spain. Others understood that he was reproaching Hollywood for not writing roles for the Spanish. "It would be necessary to count how many French, Korean, Danish or Algerian characters there are in Spanish cinema in Spain or in television series," replied Sandro Pozzi, the former correspondent for La Sexta in the US.

But what was Javier Bardem talking about? The answer is found in the full video of the press conference, which lasted half an hour (minutes 2:00 to 5:30).

A few weeks ago, the US media picked up some criticism for the selection of Javier Bardem for Aaron Sorkin's film. In Being the Ricardos represents Desi Arnaz, a Cuban television star of the 1950s and husband of the famous comedian Lucille Ball, who is played by Nicole Kidman.

"He is not Cuban and should not have played that role. His inclusion in the film highlights the current problem of Latino representation in Hollywood," Variety magazine reported in one of its articles. In the press conference this Tuesday, they made reference to these words. "I settled it very quickly by saying three things that I repeat again," Bardem replied.

"Of course I support the representation of any minority, in this case the Latin. In the first castings for this film they did not count on me, they tried other Cuban actors or actors with Cuban roots and it did not work out. And they came back to me, because they knew that I was interested and I started to work from the respect and effort to honor this role and that figure", said the actor in the first place.

"That said," he continued, "we are actors and that's what we do: play the lives of people we're not." Bardem defended that "it goes beyond nationalities and sexual orientations." It cannot be targeted as if it were a negative action. Art can only be judged by the beauty of the act of creating. And when we start putting frames and labels and limits on creation, it's in a very poor place."

We are actors and that is what we do: interpret the lives of people we are not. And that goes beyond nationalities and sexual orientations

The actors who have done extraordinary work in the history of cinema without being from the places of the characters they represented, according to him, are innumerable. "And so it must be, as in this case, in Being the Ricardosthat even looking for an actor who gave a more geographical profile than me for Desi Arnaz, was not found", he added in support of the selection and preferences of the directors.

Already in his day, Aaron Sorkin also came out to defend Bardem: "Javier is different, he is unique. Spanish or Cuban nationality cannot be interpreted, in the same way that one does not have to be heterosexual to interpret sexual orientation," he reflected in The Hollywood Reporter. "If not, we're going crazy and we should start asking everyone who plays Hamlet for a license. If they're not from Denmark, they can't do it," the actor continued from Spain on Tuesday.

"All this from respect and always supporting the representation of minorities," he added. However, what has caused the most controversy was the last part of his answer: "Also one thing I want to add here is that if we talk about minorities, let's talk about Spanish minorities. How many Spanish characters are there in international cinema? None I have done two: one with Woody Allen because it took place in Spain and another in Pirates of the Caribbean called Captain Salazar because I did it. There is no outside of Spanish cinematography. So I know what I'm talking about when I talk about minorities. And we have to respect minorities, but we also have to support those of us who are minorities trying to represent other minorities."

This confusion between a proportional minority and a discriminated minority has been pointed out on social networks, although the statement was part of a broader response to criticism. However, it is not the first time that Javier Bardem plays a role of another nationality. The last one was in the company of his colleague Fernando León de Aranoa in loving paul, where he put a face to the Colombian drug trafficker Escobar. Also in before dark (2000) played Reinaldo Arenas, a gay playwright in Castro's Cuba.

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