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Oscar-winner Amenábar swims with the Hollywood fishes (15311)

15311Entertainment News2005-03-04

Oscar-winner Amenabar swims with the Hollywood fishes

Out Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar may have won the ultimate prize for any filmmaker, an Oscar, but promoting his movie in Hollywood made him feel like a piece of plain fish being sold at the market. "In Hollywood you always feel a bit like a hake," he told a news conference on Thursday upon returning to Madrid after winning an Oscar for best foreign language film for The Sea Inside. "The publicists march people up and down in front of you and they interview you.... You feel like the turbot and the sea bream go by, and you're the hake," he added, referring to himself and other members of the Sea Inside team who were with him.

The experience was particularly intense, Amenabar said, because he was doing it with the star of the movie, Spanish actor Javier Bardem, whose good looks and previous Oscar nomination guaranteed the pair got a lot of attention. "This world of supposed glamour, the red carpet and so on, it's not what I prefer," the dour Amenabar said, revealing that after the Oscars ceremony he had a couple of drinks and then went to bed--restrained behavior by party-loving Spanish standards.

Still, he did recognize that an Oscar was "the definitive prize for any filmmaker." Bardem, who won a best actor nomination for his work in the 2000 film Before Night Falls, was not up for an Oscar this year although his role in The Sea Inside has earned him a raft of awards, including the best actor prize at the Venice film festival. The film tells the true story of Ramon Sampedro, a Spanish man left paralyzed from the neck down by a diving accident, who fought for 30 years for the right to die. Bardem endured five-hour makeup sessions to gain wrinkles and lost most of his hair for the part. Oscar night's big winner, Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby, also tackled the topic of euthanasia.

The tricky decision facing Amenabar now--apart from finding a new project that will live up to The Sea Inside--is where to put his golden statuette. "Since I got back it's been wandering all around the house.... We have a problem with the shelves; most of them are too low, because it [the Oscar] is bigger than I thought," he said, his trophy gleaming in front of him at the news conference. "Of course, the bathroom is an option. That way people can look at themselves in the mirror with it."

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