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Benicio del Toro and the Oscar Award
You know, it’s not a matter of filling the golden statuettes with darts either.

A new prod with regard to this issue, however, was given by the recent Goya Prize to Benicio del Toro obtained in Spain for his performance as Che Guevara in the two films directed by Steven Soderbergh.

In the last Cannes Festival, the Puerto Rican won the Best Actor prize in a verdict that marked the beginning of an international avalanche of excellent reviews. Each of the two stories of the US director could be applauded to a greater or lesser extent (the merit of filming in Spanish without knowing the language). However, what hardly anyone questioned was Benicio’s excellent performance, creative and well versed, playing a human and political legend widely spread in popular imaginary, far from any exact replica.

Applause came from everywhere and with it rivers of ink and voices speculating on a well deserved Oscar. In Argentina, in October 2008, Clarín newspaper asked the actor about that aspiration, and if the fact of having interpreted "a controversial character could diminish his possibilities for Hollywood’s greatest prize." And he was as clear as premonitory, when he urged the Academy to only judge his performance and not the political aspect: "Not because I’m interested in getting an Oscar, but I think the Academy shouldn’t judge anything. It should just evaluate the performance and let politicians do the judging part," said Del Toro.

By then, in different news conferences and interviews, Benicio del Toro had made it very clear that seven years of delving into the subject of Che Guevara and Cuban and Latin American reality had enriched him in many aspects of his social and political perception.

"Che Guevara —he assured EFE on December 2 in Madrid— would admire today’s Cuba for maintaining its dignity in the face of a 50-year old blockade, and for its health and educational system. I think that knowing everything that has happened in the world since his death, he would see the positive side of today’s Cuba, not only the negative."

The Golden Globes, an annual thermometer of what the Oscars would be later on, ignored Benicio del Toro’s performance – a terrible forerunner of what would take place a few weeks later, when he wasn’t even included in the Oscar nomination.

The reasons? It’s to be expected —thinking with the best of intentions— that the five nominees to the statuette that will be awarded in the coming days will be true lions with sharp teeth eating the screen in English.

And let’s hope that will be the case, so I don’t have to write again on an issue as annoying as the Oscar skulduggery.


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