Amigos del español
Matt Damon is Hollywood’s most profitable actor, bringing in more gross income than any other star per dollar received.
But the lone Oscar this 36-year-old Massachusetts native has received was a best original screenplay award for the 1997 film Good Will Hunting , in which he also starred. Damon is an avid reader and currently is studying Spanish – a language he has dabbled in since meeting Argentine Luciana Barroso, his current wife – in hopes of giving his daughters Alexia and Isabella the best possible bilingual education.
Jessica Alba doesn’t speak Spanish. Nor does she speak Danish for that matter, the language of her mother’s family. But this 26-year-old actress from California , best known for her roles in “Sin City ”and “Fantastic Four,” is eager to learn. She feels very proud of her Spanish-language surname and is very close to her father’s family even though she is a third-generation Mexican-American. While she is learning the language of her ancestors, however, she avidly reads everything she can get a hold of in her native tongue.
Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, the first Mexican nominated for an Oscar in the best director category, said he survived the “Hispanic tsunami” that took over this year’s Academy Awards thanks to three things: good friends, a lot of water and a good novel. González Iñárritu – whose globe-spanning, multi-lingual film “Babel” was nominated for seven Oscars in total and was the last installment in a trilogy that includes “Amores Perros” (Love’s a Bitch) and “21 Gramos” (21 Grams), all with Guillermo Arriaga as screenwriter – is well aware of the power of words, having made people’s inability to communicate the main theme of his latest work.
Antonio Banderas has appeared in almost 70 films during his career, both as a “ chico Almodóvar” (Almodóvar boy) and as a Hollywood star. But this 46-year-old native of the southern Spanish city of Málaga says that he gets the most satisfaction from reading a good book, that and lending his voice to the character Puss in Boots in “Shrek 2” and the soon-to-be-released “Shrek the Third”.
America Ferrera feels doubly proud at having succeeded precisely for those things that seemed to guarantee her failure as an actress. Being Hispanic and with a form more voluptuous than the skeletal shapes that dominate Hollywood’s idea of beauty, this daughter of a Honduran mother at 22 has shown how wrong they were, first in movies with her debut in “Real Women Have Curves” and now on television as the adorable “Ugly Betty” who has everyone in love with her.
Few Mexican actresses come to Hollywood with the determination that Salma Hayek had, and still less do they succeed in being nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress. She did it with “Frida,” and the nomination rewarded the efforts of this actress born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, and honored her for going beyond the limits set by her origins and even her own beauty. Hayek at 38 still wants to do more, and besides her career as an actress, the voluptuous Mexican alternates her work with directing and producing, a field in which she has brought the series “Ugly Betty” to life.