Oscar is also written in Spanish
Spain is a hot property in the Hollywood film industry, as can be seen by the fact that it is one of the countries that has earned most Oscar nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in recent years. The list of Oscar-winning Spaniards includes such internationally famous names as Pedro Almodóvar, Luis Buñuel, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, all of whom guarantee lashings of glamour.
Spain's spontaneous, different and unique nature was clearly on display in the 72nd edition of the Oscars when the filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar picked up his first golden statue for 'All about my mother'. The American Academy recognised the work of this director who has created his own personal universe peopled by numerous unmistakable characters. His second Oscar came in 2002, this time for Best Original Screenplay for 'Talk to her', thus making Almodóvar the second Spaniard to earn the privilege of displaying two Oscars on his mantelpiece; the other is the artistic director Gil Parrondo.
This marked the start of a golden age of Spanish cinema. In 2004, the director Alejandro Amenábar won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film for 'The sea inside'. This was followed by the film 'Pan's Labyrinth', nominated in six categories and winner of Oscars for Best Photography, Best Art Direction and Best Make-up.
One year later, in 2007, it was Javier Bardem's turn to make history: his superb performance in the film 'No country for old men' by the Coen brothers earned him the distinction of being the first Spanish actor to receive the prestigious Oscar for Best Actor. The following year, Penélope Cruz continued Spain's winning streak when she became the first Spanish actress to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Woody Allen's 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'.
The foundations of success
Although the last years have been very important for Spanish cinema, other earlier members of the film profession had previously staked their claim to Hollywood glory, and provided ample evidence of the quality of Spanish productions. In addition to Gil Parrondo, there have been various other Spanish Oscar-winners.
Examples include Luis Buñuel for the screenplay for 'The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie' ('Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie'); José Luis Garci for 'To Begin Again', and Fernando Trueba for 'Belle Époque'.
In technical categories Spain has also obtained accolades from Hollywood: Néstor Almendros won the Oscar for Best Cinematographer in 1978; not to mention one of the more recent examples, the Oscar awarded to the Madrid-based company Next Limit for their special effects.
Alongside the outright winners, it is also well worth mentioning the titles and names of those who have seen their work recognised by an Oscar nomination in recent years:
'Aquel no era yo' ('That Wasn't Me'), short film directed by Esteban Crespo (2014 awards). 'Les Misérables', costume design by Paco Delgado (2013 awards).
'Chico & Rita', an animated film directed by Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Tono Errando (2011 awards).
'The lady and the reaper', a short film directed by Javier Recio and produced by Antonio Banderas (2009).
'Binta and the great idea', a short film by Javier Fesser (2006).
'One too many', a short film by Borja Cobeaga (2006).
'7:35 in the morning', a short film by Nacho Vigalondo (2004).
'Balseros', a documentary by Carles Bosch and Josep María Domènech (2003).
'Tango', a feature film by Carlos Saura (1998).
'Secrets of the Heart', feature film by Montxo Armendáriz (1997).
'Esposados', short film by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (1996).
The red carpet has been rolled out on repeated occasions over the years to honour the work of Spanish film professionals. And we're bound to see it many more times in the future.