Javier Bardem received his first Oscar nomination for portraying homosexual writer Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls.
Javier Bardem's performance I am sad to say is much like most of the other nominees this year, which is a lacking unimpressive performance. Reinaldo Arenas technically should be an interesting character, but Bardem portrays him in a rather uninteresting fashion. His performance basically is too reactive, and these reactions never amount to all that much.
He looks sad when something sad is happening, he looks happy when something happy is happening. He never really shows Reinaldo to be too much of a fascinating man, rather just a pretty boring man. He does just so little to really get deeply inside his character and I never really felt I saw all that much of an honest actual characterization. I more of saw just very base external reactions showing very little of an actual person.
Bardem never becomes a very compelling presence in the film either. I really did not get too caught up with his journey because he failed to create enough empathy for his character. Bardem's performance also failed to have any real charm, or power despite there seemingly plenty of chances to show it. I think this is because he never does get too deeply into his character, which he needed to do.
Bardem unfortunately does also do a little bit of overacting at times, such as his homosexual mannerisms he employs. The problem with these are not so much that he does them, but because he is not consistent, sometimes he does them, and sometimes he does not making them automatically unnatural. Bardem is not terrible I guess, as some of his reactions are fine, and in one instance, where he is threatened with a gun, his reaction is strong. Overall his performance is lacking and another seemingly missed opportunity in this disappointing year.