going on behind his eyes. But I reckon Del Toro’s thinking darker thoughts. Hastily explaining what lfiarritu meant doesn‘t produce any obvious effect. So. I change the subject and ask what Del Toro finds hardest about acting.

Looking around the library at nothing in particular. he replies: ‘lt’s very hard to get to the point where it looks easy. In order to get to that place. it’s a long road of hardship. When you see actors that make it look easy. you know they busted their ass to get to that place.’

Do characters like Jack Jordan and Oscar Acosta. roles Del Toro has busted his ass to play. stay with him after filming is over? ‘lt’s mandatory that they exit.‘ Del Toro says. lighting up a final cigarette. ‘I work on the exit from the beginning. because I know once I get in there. I’ll get in there. It’s exhausting. So. I make sure that exit is solid. Painting. for example. is a great antidote.‘

Recalling that Del Toro used to be passionate about painting, I ask if he still is? ‘I did that one,’ he says. pointing a silver-ringed finger at the Venetian~style painting hanging over the fireplace. “Did that one in ‘62.’ 1 comment that I don’t like the gaudy gold frame. Did he frame the picture. too‘? ‘No.’ he replies. poker-faced. ‘The frame was done by a friend of mine.’

Giving up on the half-arsed joke. Del Toro says. kind of wearily: ‘Yeah. I still paint. You‘d like my paintings if you like mud.’ Abstract. I ask? ‘Yeah. terrible.’ he says with a wry grin.

21 Grams is on general release from Fri 5 Mar. The Academy Awards are announced on Sun 29 Feb.





Benicio del Toro is a hot favourite for an OSCAR this year but he probably doesn’t think that the big night is a matter of life and death. Yet, some mad recent research by Canadian scientists concluded that Oscar winners live an average of four years longer than those who are merely nominated. Here’s a bunch of Best Picture losers awaiting a call from Mr G Reaper.

1941 Citizen Kane somehow failed to walk away with Best Picture Oscar. Instead the Academy plumped for How Green Was My Valley. You want a conspiracy theOry?

x Well, the big studios used to allow extras to cast a vote, and there were absolutely thousands of them in John Ford’s mining village drama.

1 954 The Academy was never particularly hot on Hitchcock, but even he must have felt like the last leper in g M the colony when Rear Window failed even to make a w 4’ shortlist won by the ovemvrought On the Waterfront. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers even got a nomination, for Oscar's sake.

1976 It’s hard to hate Rocky but giving best top award to the ringside drama in a list including All the President's Men and Taxi Driver had many cineastes throwing in the towel. Who says that comedies never win a golden statue?

1980 Winners don't come much more plain than Redford’s manipulative weepie. Ordinary People. Particularly when you consider A . - the more fleshed-out Eiephant Man and beefed-up Raging Bull were also in the running.

1 982 When Ghand/ beat off heavyweight opposition from ET and Tootsie, one hilarious hack theorised that Dickie's movie won only because Gandhi himself was everything Academy voters wanted to be: moral, thin and tanned.

1989 One of the biggest snubs in Oscar history was visited upon Spike Lee when 00 the Right 7hing. his visceral take on urban racial tension in contemporary America failed to even make the shortlist. And the snub must have been yet more galling when Aussie director Bruce Beresford scooped the Best Picture gong for his leisurely take on southern prejudice. Driving Miss Daisy.

1996 The Coen Brothers must have felt like burying themselves alive in the snow when Fargo lost out to the wildly overblown English Patient.

19 Feb—4 Mar 2004 THE LIST 21