Pedro Almodóvar, ‘the last of the Mohicans’ of Spanish cinema in Hollywood

Alicia G.Arribas.

Madrid, Feb 10 (EFE) .- “The human voice” by Pedro Almodóvar remains from today as Spain’s only hope to win an Oscar in this strange 2020, which has ruined the first with the hopes of “The infinite trench “; a last ace up the sleeve of Spanish cinema, mistreated by the pandemic like few industries in the country.

The manchego, who has become ‘the last of the Mohicans’ in Spanish cinema for the second year in a row, and the entire El Desire team are happy about this first jump in the obstacle course of winning an Oscar; but for now, they have told Efe, the celebrations are held “until he is truly nominated.”

With the British Tilda Swinton more elegant and ethereal than ever as the protagonist of “The Human Voice”, the short film passed the first preselection along with nine other candidates who will compete for the definitive nomination for Best Short Film.

“The human voice” is a very particular story shot in English to which the most international of Spanish directors returns; he approached it with Carmen Maura as the protagonist in “The Law of Desire” (1987) and was at the origin of “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown” (1988), one of his best works.

The plot is a moral lesson in desire in a 30-minute adaptation of Jean Cocteau’s original play that tells the story of a desperate woman who awaits the call of the lover who has just left her.

The following hurdles must be cleared by the short on March 5, when voting for nominations begins, and on March 15, with the definitive announcement of the 2021 nominees.

The following month, on April 15, voting for the winners will begin and on April 25, all the winners will be announced at the long-awaited (this year, more than ever) Oscar ceremony.

Our ‘Mohican’, a fighter without a crest, winner of two golden statuettes for “All about my mother” (1999) and “Talk to her” (2002), was left with honey on his lips last year with the delicious feature film ” Pain and glory “, which reached the nominations, along with Antonio Banderas as best actor.

Since the delivery of the first awards in the history of the Hollywood Film Academy to the present, the Oscar has reached Spanish hands on several occasions.

In addition to the two by Almodóvar, Asturian decorator and artistic director Gil Parrondo, won it for two consecutive years, 1971 and 1972, for the artistic direction of two films directed by Franklin Shaffner: “Patton” and “Nicolás y Alejandra”, respectively.

Gil Parrondo was one of the great Hollywood veterans in his specialty, but the first Spaniard to win an Oscar was the Spanish engineer Juan de la Cierva y Hoces, who in 1970 received the award for Best Technical Contribution to the Film Industry.

He was distinguished for his “technical contribution to the film industry” with his optical stabilizer or “dynalens”, used to eliminate the effects of motion, vibration and blur from cameras.

Penélope Cruz was the first performer to win an Oscar, as best supporting actress for her role in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008), which, happily, picked it up in February 2009.

The occasion was not for less, because at the same gala, his partner, actor Javier Bardem became the first Spanish actor to win an Oscar for best leading actor in “No country for old men” (2008).

As for the films, four Spanish women have won Oscars for Best Foreign Film. The first “The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie”, by Luis Buñuel, Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1973 and the second, “Back to start”, by José Luis Garci, in 1983.

It was followed in 1994 by “Belle Epoque”, by Fernando Trueba, and the aforementioned “All about my mother” (1999) and “Talk to her” (2003), by Almodóvar, although the latter for the original script.

Alejandro Amenábar, with “Sea Inside” (2005), managed to add in 2006 the fourth Oscar for Best Foreign Film for Spanish cinema. Not to mention the director of Photography Néstor Almendros, who was the first and only Spaniard to receive the Oscar for Best Direction of Photography in 1979 for the film “Días de cielo” (1978).

In this edition, the most anticipated ceremony in the world of cinema will be different because of the pandemic, but the prestige of its decisions remains intact. This year, Spain will enthusiastically join the possibilities of (no less) than three films shot in Spanish and which are still in the competition, candidates for the award for best international film.

They are “I’m not here anymore”, by Fernando Frías (Mexico), “The mole agent”, by Maite Alberdi (Chile), which achieves the milestone of entering the shortlist as best documentary, an unusual ‘doublet’, and “La llorona “, by Jayro Bustamante (Guatemala).

It so happens that these films, along with the Colombian film “The forgetfulness that we will be”, directed by Fernando Trueba and starring Javier Cámara, who was left behind in the Oscars, are the ones selected by Spanish academics to choose the best film Ibero-American 2020. EFE

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