Jack Rico is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Showbizcafe.com. He's a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and New York Film Critics Online.
Spanish actor Javier Bardem had a great December! His performance in Skyfall was nominated for a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) award and a BFCA (Broadcast Film Critics Association) award -- two key precursors that usually foreshadow Oscar nominations.
And what makes those nominations even more impressive is that the praise is aimed at a performance belonging to a Hollywood commercial blockbuster film. So how did Javier pull it off and what are the chances he'll actually get an Oscar nomination when nominations for the 85th annual Academy Awards are announced tomorrow morning? It's not a sure thing, but I'd say his chances are VERY good..
In Skyfall, the latest Bond flick, Bardem plays Raoul Silva, a demented and monstrous portugese villain blinded by pain, frustration and revenge, whose ultimate objective is killing ‘M’ (Judi Dench), James Bond’s boss. Bardem is not undertaking any new ground here. The last time he played a sociopathic killer, he won a Best Actor Oscar for No Country for Old Men. But the Oscar for No Country signifies that Bardem is a master at the craft of playing nefarious characters. And taking that into consideration, it is not surprising that the BFCA and SAG see the character 'Silva' as another testament of Bardem's skill, artistry and superior achievement from a virtuoso actor.
The BFCA, the largest film critics organization in North America, prides itself on being the best predictor of how the Academy Awards will choose its winners, which means Bardem’s BFCA nomination will probably sway some Academy voters who voted in late December to include him on their ballots.
But perhaps the SAG nomination, the guild where actors honor actors, is the most telling of whether Bardem will be nominated or not by the Oscar committee. Historically speaking, actors who are in blockbuster films and partake in roles with hints of histrionics, don’t even receive a glance for their work, but there are always exceptions. Just this January of 2012, Melissa McCarthy who acted in the most vulgar blockbuster comedy of 2011, was nominated by SAG and several other organizations. This wave of consensus ultimately led to the unheard of nomination by the Oscars for a comedic role. If she can be acknowledged by her peers and critics, why can’t Bardem for a much more serious role?
And if anyone has earned the right to be in conversations of ‘exceptions’ it should be Javier Bardem. For any of you who have seen “Skyfall,” you will notice Bardem played Silva with effeminate nuances. These are usually considered by many voters as ‘theatrics’ or ‘overdramatizing’ a performance. But in the hands of Bardem, it comes off as artistic. That's how good he is!
Also helping Bardem in a hopeful Oscar nomination is that he has been nominated by them three times since 2001 beginning with the acclaimed Before Night Falls from Julian Schnabel. The Academy voters have shown that they don’t have any concerns in making him a contender due to the trust they have in him as an actor and in his body of work.
In my review of “Skyfall,” I wrote that Bardem was not as good here as ‘Anton Chigurh,’ the role he won the Oscar for No Country for Old Men, but worth a close second to the role. He is the angel of death with a frightening turn towards the eventual denouement.