Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz, a career and a movie love

The Spanish actors, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, add two nominations for best actress and leading actor at the Oscars, coinciding with a film anniversary: ​​the thirty years of “Jamón, Jamon”, in whose filming they met, although the love relationship it did not forge until fifteen years later.

The couple of Spanish actors with the greatest international projection formed by Javier Bardem (52) and Penélope Cruz (47) have not only earned professional recognition and the affection of the public, but they have also become the first royal couple to be nominated for the Oscar for best actor and best leading actress, respectively, and also in the same edition!

He for “Being the Ricardos”, a drama by Aaron Sorkin in which the actor was capable of everything, singing, dancing and nailing the Cuban accent with surprising naturalness. And she for “Parallel Mothers” by her great friend, Pedro Almodóvar, a nomination that comes to her after having won the Volpi Cup in the last edition of the Venice Film Festival.

But none of them have it easy, the actor competes with interpreters of the stature Benedict Cumberbatch, for `The power of the dog´, a film that starts as a favorite with 12 nominations; Will Smith (“The Williams Method”), Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth” and Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick. Boom”), while Penelope has none other than Jessica Chastain (“The eyes of Tammy Faye”), Olivia Colman (“The Dark Daughter”), Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”) and Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos”).


But it is not the first time they have been nominated. To date they have been on four occasions, -and each one-, winning it on one: for the best secondary performance. He in 2007 for his masterful and unforgettable performance as a villain in “No Country for Old Men” by the Coen brothers, an award that marked his definitive consecration in Hollywood and she, a year later, for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, a Woody Allen film for which in addition to meeting again, Penelope won the Bafta, her third Goya and was nominated for the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild.

Nor is it the only thing that the couple of actors celebrate this year. This 2022 marks thirty years of their first cinematographic meeting. It was in 1992 when the Catalan film director Bigas Luna offered them to star alongside Jordi Mollà in “Jamón, Jamón”.


“I owe Bigas Luna a career and a woman,” Bardem confessed a few years ago during the presentation of a documentary in tribute to Bigas Luna, who died in 2013.

In his role in “Jamón, Jamón”, he tried to win Penelope’s heart and although Bardem clarified years later that nothing happened between them, he recognized that there was chemistry between them, so much so that it is even difficult to imagine that something did not arise between them. them remembering the steamy scenes under the iconic Osborne bull billboard. But at that time, she, at only 16 years old, had her first relationship with the Mecano musician, Nacho Cano.

Both she and Bardem continued to develop their careers. Cruz began a flourishing career in Hollywood and had high-profile romances with actors such as Tom Cruise, after they met on the set of “Vanilla Sky,” Thomas Obermaier and Matthew McConaughey, while Bardem landed his acclaimed role in “No Place for Kids.” weak”.

Their relationship began in the summer of 2007, during the filming of Woody Allen’s film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and was confirmed months later, when Bardem picked up his well-deserved 2008 Oscar, accompanied by a Penelope who was already allowing herself to be photographed, along with to the actor’s mother, Pilar Bardem.

He has acknowledged that, during filming, neither of them dared to take the first step and when they did they preferred to keep it discreet. There were even some doubts about their relationship, Bardem confessed, who initially hesitated while the tape was being filmed. And it is that the character (and the good interpretation we suppose) of Cruz was of a woman so intense, so passionate and overwhelming, that he was thrown back to think that she could be the same in real life.

Between one film and another, the couple worked on “Carne Trémula” (1997) by Pedro Almdóvar, although without sharing scenes as in “Love seriously harms health”, a comedy by Manuel Gómez Pereira from that same year, and in the crazy comedy black “No news from God” (2001)

In 2013, the Oscar-winning couple starred in “The Counselor”, by Ridley Scott. In 2017 they starred in “Loving Pablo”, a film by Fernando León de Aranoa about the figure of the most famous drug trafficker in the world, Pablo Escobar, through whom he was his lover, and in 2018 “Everyone knows it”, by the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, between family melodrama and criminal intrigue.


For Javier Bardem, it was his interpretation of the persecuted Cuban writer, Reinaldo Arenas, in “Before Night Falls” (2000), for which he had to lose almost fifteen kilos and perfectly nail the Cuban accent, the film with which he won the recognition from critics and the international public, as well as his first Oscar nomination.

Three years later, another of his most remembered films would come, “Mondays in the Sun”, which earned him the Goya for best actor and in 2004 he returned to triumph with the overwhelming role of the paraplegic Ramón Sampedro, in “The Sea Inside”, a dramatic true story about the right to euthanasia.

From then on, foreign directors set their eyes on him and offers rained down on him at the same rate as he was reaping awards, above all, for that unforgettable, brilliant and disturbing performance of the hit man in “No Country for Old Men”, which also Oscar, added the Golden Globe and BAFTA. His list of awards includes six Goyas, two awards from the Actors Guild, the European Film Award, two Volpi Cups for Best Actor at the Venice Festival or the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

For her part, Penélope Cruz has won no less than three Goyas, an Oscar, a BAFTA, a European Film Award, a Donatello from Italy, and even a César de Honor in France.