Javier Ángel Encinas Bardem is a Spanish actor and environmental activist. Bardem won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the psychopathic assassin Anton Chigurh in the 2007 Coen brothers film No Country for Old Men, he has received critical acclaim for roles in films such as Jamón Jamón, Carne trémula, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Boca a boca, Los lunes al sol, Mar adentro, Skyfall, for which he received both a BAFTA and a SAG nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Bardem has won two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a BAFTA, five Goya Awards, two European Film Awards, a Prize for Best Actor at Cannes and two Volpi Cups at Venice for his work, he is the first Spanish actor to be nominated for an Oscar, as well as the first Spaniard to win one, for Best Supporting Actor in No Country for Old Men, 2008. He received his third Academy Award nomination, second Best Actor nomination, for the film Biutiful; as of January 2018, Bardem became an environmental activist with Greenpeace for protection of Antarctica.
Bardem was born in the Canary Islands, Spain. His mother, Pilar Bardem, is an actress, his father, José Carlos Encinas Doussinague, was the son of a cattle rancher. According to Pilar's memoirs, José had a "capricious and violent will", he changed jobs more than 10 times, leading to the children going hungry. The two separated shortly after Javier's birth, his mother raised him and his elder siblings, Carlos and Mónica, alone, his father died of leukemia in 1995. Bardem comes from a long line of filmmakers and actors dating back to the earliest days of Spanish cinema. Both siblings are actors, he comes from a political background, as his uncle Juan Antonio was imprisoned by Franco for his anti-fascist films. Bardem was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith by his grandmother; as a child, he spent time on film sets. At age six, he made his first film appearance, in Fernando Fernán Gómez's El Pícaro, he played rugby for the junior Spanish National Team. Though he grew up in a family full of actors, Bardem did not see himself going into the family business.
Painting was his first love. He went on to study painting for four years at Madrid's Escuela de Artes y Oficios. In need of money he took acting jobs to support his painting, but he says he was a bad painter and abandoned that career pursuit. In 1989, for the Spanish comedy show El Día Por Delante, he had to wear a Superman costume for a comedic sketch, a job that made him question whether he wanted to be an actor at all. Bardem has confessed to having worked as a stripper during his struggling acting career. Bardem came to notice in a small role in his first major motion picture, The Ages of Lulu, when he was 20, in which he appeared along with his mother, Pilar Bardem. Bigas Luna, the director of Lulu, was sufficiently impressed to give him the leading male role in his next film, Jamón Jamón in 1992, in which Bardem played a would-be underwear model and bullfighter; the film, which starred a teenaged Penélope Cruz, was a major international success. He starred again in Luna's next film Golden Balls.
Bardem's talent did not go unnoticed in the English-speaking world. In 1997, John Malkovich was the first to approach him a 27-year-old, for a role in English, but the Spanish actor turned down the offer because his English was still poor, his first English-speaking role came that same year, in with director Álex de la Iglesia's Perdita Durango, playing a santería-practicing bank robber. After starring in about two dozen films in his native country, he gained international recognition in Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls in 2000, portraying Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, he received praise from his idol Al Pacino. For that role, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor, the first for a Spaniard. After, he turned down the role of Danny Witwer in Minority Report which went to Colin Farrell. Instead, in 2002, Bardem starred in The Dancer Upstairs. Malkovich had Bardem in mind for the role of the detective's assistant, but the movie's taking so long to obtain financing gave Bardem time to learn English and take on the lead role of the detective.
"I will always be grateful to him because he gave me my first chance to work in English", has said Bardem of Malkovich. Bardem won Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his role in Mar Adentro, released in the United States as The Sea Inside, in which he portrayed the quadriplegic turned assisted suicide activist Ramón Sampedro, he made his Hollywood debut in a brief appearance as a crime lord who summons Tom Cruise's hitman to do the dirty work of dispatching witnesses in the crime drama Collateral. He stars in Miloš Forman's 2006 film Goya's Ghosts opposite Natalie Portman, where he plays a twisted monk during the Spanish Inquisition. In 2007, Bardem acted in two film adaptations: the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men, the adaptation of the Colombian novel Love in the Time of Cholera with Giovanna Mezzogiorno by Gabriel García Márquez. In No Country for Old Men, he played Anton Chigurh. For that role, he became the first Spaniard to win an Academy