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Oscars: Can Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem Be the Fourth Married Couple Nominated in the Same Year?

Variety
Variety
 2022-01-27
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Penélope Cruz is luxuriously refined in “ Parallel Mothers ,” a performance that has picked up critical acclaim and notable accolades since debuting at Venice. The voting bloc of the international community is a key demographic that pushed last year’s “The Father” from Florian Zeller, another Sony Pictures Classics feature, to perform exceptionally well with the Academy despite significant misses from key guild groups leading to nominations. Zeller’s film went on to win two major Oscars for adapted screenplay (Zeller and Christopher Hampton) and best actor (Anthony Hopkins).

The awards prospects for Pedro Almodóvar’s Spanish drama have been hindered by the switch in-person to virtual campaigning, which is not unique to all of this year’s contenders. However, the lifeblood of a film like “Parallel Mothers” appeals to and requires the international community’s presence, so the BAFTA snubs nearly across the board are worrisome. Almodóvar, a familiar favorite, could only muster two category mentions: original screenplay and film not in the English language. His star and muse also failed to make the top 15; however, there’s a palpable surge at the moment as audiences continue to discover “Parallel Mothers.” And this year’s awards season is a family affair: Cruz’s husband, Javier Bardem , is in the best actor race for Amazon Studios’ “Being the Ricardos.”

If both are nominated, they would be the fourth married couple to be nominated in the same year, following Vivien Leigh (“Gone with the Wind”) and Laurence Olivier (“Wuthering Heights”), Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) and Rachel Roberts (“The Sporting Life”) and Rex Harrison (“Cleopatra”). Coincidentally, all three couples ended in divorce (so perhaps Bardem and Cruz don’t want to join that list? Don’t want to jinx them).

Both of the Spanish actors are Oscar winners, with multiple nominations over the years. Cruz won best supporting actress for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008), with an additional supporting nod for “Nine” (2009). She’s landed her first and only lead actress nomination for “Volver” (2006), also from Almodóvar. Bardem is also a supporting actor winner for “No Country for Old Men” (2007), with two lead actor nods for “Before Night Falls” (2000) and “Biutiful” (2010).

At the Venice Film Festival, Cruz picked up the prestigious Volpi Cup, a significant honor that has translated to three best actress Oscar wins in the last 20 years: Helen Mirren (“The Queen”), Emma Stone (“La La Land”) and Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”), with four others becoming eventual nominees, including last year’s Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”). However, she’s been absented from all of the televised awards ceremonies thus far.

Bardem has received nominations for his portrayal of Cuban TV actor Desi Arnaz from the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards. He’s also longlisted at the BAFTA Awards, where Aaron Sorkin’s drama is represented in nine categories. Bardem’s co-star (and his wife’s awards competition) Nicole Kidman won the Globe in the lead actress drama category.

The BAFTA and SAG snub also highlights a late move by many members to watch many of the year’s presumed contenders. As a pundit, you often see movies where you feel deeply that the person would be a shoo-in if enough voters saw it. Examples like Toni Collette (“Hereditary”) and Alfre Woodard (“Clemency”) come immediately to mind. However, I think people are getting to “Parallel Mothers” now, and that could even pull in a couple more surprises like original screenplay and original score for Alberto Iglesias, the three-time nominee for “The Constant Gardener” (2005), “The Kite Runner” (2007) and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” (2011).

Oscar voting opens tomorrow morning, so buckle up for the next six days.

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