While Colin Firth is already the early favorite for this year's lead actor award, there are still four other slots to fill in the category, and Roadside Attractions is beginning its push with Javier Bardem and his starring role in Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu's "Biutiful."
The Palm Springs International Film Festival is doing its part, announcing Wednesday that it has crowned Bardem with the International Star Award for its 22nd annual event. The confab, which runs from Jan. 6 to Jan. 17, has recently been a solid predictor when it comes to Oscar nominees. Last year the fest honored Anna Kendrick, who received an Oscar nom for "Up in the Air," and Jeff Bridges, who went on to win last year's lead actor award for "Crazy Heart."
Bardem will join already announced honorees Jennifer Lawrence for "Winter's Bone" and last year's Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan ("Never Let Me Go", two likely noms in the lead actress race.
"Biutiful's" Cannes debut earlier this year made quite an impression on the crowd, with Bardem nabbing the acting award for his portrayal of an underground businessman and father working the streets of Barcelona in Irritu's gritty drama. The Spanish actor is a constant on the awards circuit, already having earned an Oscar for 2007's "No Country for Old Men," and a nomination for his role in Julian Schnabel's 2001 drama "Before Night Falls." Focus Features will open the film for a limited Oscar qualifying run on Dec. 29.
The festival will present the award to Bardem on Jan. 8.
-- Nicole Sperling
Photo: Javier Bardem in "Biutiful." Credit: Jose Haro / Roadside Attractions