Javier Bardem was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, Spain. Though he grew up in a family full of actors, Bardem did not see himself going into the family business. His mother, Pilar Bardem is an actress, and his father, José Carlos Encinas Doussinague was a businessman involved in environmental work. His mother raised him alone. Bardem is a grandson of actors Rafael Bardem and Matilde Muñoz Sampedro, and nephew of screenwriter and director Juan Antonio Bardem. Both his older brother and sister, Carlos and Mónica, are actors. He also 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 at theatres and on film sets. He got his start in the family business, at age six, when he appeared in his first feature, “El picaro”. During his teenage years he acted in several TV series and toured the country with an independent theatrical group. Bardem’s early film role as a ‘sexy stud’ in the black comedy “Jamón Jamón” (1992). With over 25 movies and numerous awards under his belt, it is Javier’s stirring passionate performance as the persecuted Cuban writer, Reynaldo Arenas, in Antes que anochezca (2000) that will long be remembered as his breakthrough role. He received five Best Actors awards and a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal. Exceptional performances followed in “The Dancer Upstairs” (2002), directed by John Malkovich, “Collateral” (2004), “Goya’s Ghosts” (2006), also starring Natalie Portman, “No Country for Old Men” (2007), “Love in the Time of Cholera” (2007), Woody Allen’s “Vicky Christina Barcelona” (2008), “Biutiful” (2010) and “Eat Pray Love” (2010). He won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “No Country for Old Men” and was nominated in 2011 in the Best Actor category for “Biutiful.”
Engagement in Cultural Diplomacy
Bardem has supported numerous causes in different fields such as: Animals, Conservation, Disaster,Relief, Environment, HumanRights, Miscellaneous, Peace, Poverty, Rape/Sexual, Abuse and Refugees. Dozens of Spanish film stars, directors, musicians and writers, led by Oscar winners Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Pedro Almodovar, have denounced Israel's incursion into Gaza. In an open letter referenced by Europa Press and other Spanish media, they described Israel's actions as "genocide."
Javier Bardem donated funds to Artists for Peace and Justice for building schools in earthquake ravaged Haiti in 2010.
Bardem produced and narrated the new documentary "Sons of the Clouds." The film, which premiered at the 2012 Berlinale in February focuses on the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, which has been controlled by Morocco since 1975.