'Long live cinema!', shout at the party of the sweet defeat of Juan Antonio Bayona and Pablo Berger

The four, which are actually equivalent to eight due to the split personality, are the most requested for this red carpet parallel to the official Dolby Theater one.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
10 March 2024 Sunday 16:22
7 Reads
'Long live cinema!', shout at the party of the sweet defeat of Juan Antonio Bayona and Pablo Berger

The four, which are actually equivalent to eight due to the split personality, are the most requested for this red carpet parallel to the official Dolby Theater one.

“I was the second to last to die,” says a satisfied Benjamín Segura or Rafael ‘el Vasco’ Echavarren in 'The Snow Society', the film by Juan Antonio Bayona that is one of the five nominated for the Oscars in the international category. “There is a before and after, not only as actors, but as people,” he maintains. Next to him, Simón Hempe, or José Luis Coche Inciarte. “I am one of the survivors,” he clarifies. “We fell in love with the story,” he confesses.

The two, like their colleagues Andy Pruss or Roy Harley, “I'm the one from the radio”, and Juani Carusso, Alvaro Mangino's alter ego, rarely take a step and always come across someone who wants to know about them or take a photo. The day is going long.

This is a chronological account of the alternative gala held at the Telefèric Barcelona restaurant in Los Angeles, organized by Egeda, the association that provides services to Spanish producers and producers from Latin American countries.

The four actors, all four very young, appear content before expectations. Getting here is already a success, they repeat. They know they are not favorites, but anything is possible. There is always room for surprise.

At the time the official gala starts, nearly 700 people gather at this other celebration, with guests such as the actor Álvaro Morte or the actress Natalia Bilbao, among others. There are relatives and members of the Bayona film and also of 'Robot dreams', the film by Bilbao native Pablo Berger, with a Catalan production, which competes in the animation section.

Suddenly a “let's go, let's go” is heard and people crowd in front of one of the screens. It is only the third award on the list, but it is for animation. Nerves and tension and tears, which increase with the malfunction of the television connection in the premises, a technical deficiency that will hinder the entire session.

Great applause when 'Robot dreams' was announced, although the audience almost did not realize that 'The Boy and the Heron', by Hayao Miyazaki, had won. In a parenthesis, a few hours later, Berger comments that the word defeat is not part of his language, “in any case, if we don't win the prize, it is very good that the grandmaster wins it.”

As the parenthesis closes, a certain disappointment is palpable in this room, despite the fact that their film did not start as a favorite. Olivia Pliego, from the production team, assures that there will be another time. “The prize was to get here,” declares Natàlia Garriga, Minister of Culture of the Generalitat.

The focus then moves outside, to the patio where another television hangs and where those linked to 'The Snow Society' are gathered. On the first try of this film, it comes up tails. Ana López Puigcerber, Montse Ribé and David Martí did not win the statuette for makeup and hairdressing.

In this room are Maite and Eva, the older sisters of Juan Antonio Bayona (and, of course, his twin Carlos), as well as the four actors, who hold hands at the time of the international category.

What was predicted happens. 'The Zone of Interest' wins (some faint boooo is heard!), but a great ovation sounds for this sweet defeat. "Oe oe oe," they chant.

“The truth is, I feel a little angry, I must be honest, but hey, we are happy to be here and to bring closure to all this,” confesses Carusso. “I feel kind of weird,” Pruss says. “I'm a little sad,” Segura adds.

“We are going to celebrate the same way,” replies Maite, the honoree's older sister. “Getting here is very difficult and he has achieved it. And the prize is the audience, more than 200 million people have seen the film,” adds Eva.

The party enters a period of calm, more conducive to chatting and drinking than to continuing the ceremony. Then another guest bursts in. Enter Roberto Canessa, Uruguayan doctor and one of the 16 real survivors, not fiction, of that plane crash that occurred on October 13, 1972 in the Andes.

“We are very ambitious, what's wrong with us,” he replies to the question that his adventure film did not win the award. “Who said the Oscar is fair? The response from the people has been wonderful, children and young people stop me on the street, it is much more than a film, it is a youth movement,” he emphasizes.

After Oppenheimer's coronation, the night enters an emotional pause, waiting for the real stars of the session to arrive.

The first are Bayona's most intimate relatives. Several cameras are directed at Carlos, thinking that he is the film director. “I am the twin and everything you have recorded is of no use to you,” he jokes.

“I told my son: you have arrived in Hollywood,” says a happy octogenarian named Juan Antonio, the father. “I have seen all the myths of cinema, of world cinema, and the one that has made me most excited to see is the last presenter, Al Pacino, who for me is a god.

-More than your son?

-Now we don't talk about my son! That would be a bit of ego. I'm talking about the love that I have for cinema, I appreciated cinema.

“We have felt very excited,” says Piedad, the mother. I think that in this film, since those young people fell in the snow and were able to get out, they were already winners,” she clarifies.

“Long live the cinema!” shouts her husband.

Juan Antonio and Piedad are the great guests of the filmmaker son, who was very excited to have them with him on such a special day. “Because he knows the sacrifice we have made for him so that he could study without having financial possibilities. The reality is that he didn't have the nerve to dream something like this. 40 years ago, dreaming about that at night would have told me it was impossible,” the father emphasizes.

This is already a parade. Now Pablo Berger and his team enter the scene. “I wanted to win the Oscar, I had the speech already ready, less than a minute, the only thing missing was the Oscar to be able to say it. But hey, it has been a pleasure,” he remarks.

Being one of the first to know the resolution allowed Berger to enjoy the gala thoroughly, “it's a lot of fun.” Given the possibility of winning the Oscar another time, why not. “My DNA is from Bilbao, we dream big. Sometimes they ask me, could you imagine getting to the Oscars? Yes, why not,” he replies.

Bayona is late. As he says when he arrives almost at midnight in California (quite cool), he had gone to three parties, although this is the good one, with friends and family. “It was complicated, we already knew that, but it was nice,” he starts off among a tangle of cameras and recorders that have him cornered.

And he confesses: “I am very happy because I have been on promotion for eight months and tomorrow is vacation. I have nothing to do and, furthermore, my brain is dry, I need to reset it, I need to not think about anything for a while,” she says.

He does not hide a point of pride in what he has achieved, “Scorsese just sent me a message, that he has seen the film and liked it a lot.” And, by being more known and recognized, he can have access to better projects. “This film leaves me in a very sweet position to hear things,” he considers. It is his year of snow and, therefore, his year of goods.