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His first English-speaking role came that same year, in with director Álex de la Iglesia's Perdita Durango, playing a santería-practicing bank robber.
After starring in about two dozen films in his native country, he gained international recognition in Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls in 2000, portraying Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas.
In 2007, Bardem acted in two film adaptations: the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men, and the adaptation of the Colombian novel Love in the Time of Cholera with Giovanna Mezzogiorno by Gabriel García Márquez.
In No Country for Old Men, he played a sociopathic assassin, Anton Chigurh.
He is the first Spanish actor to be nominated for an Oscar (Best Actor, 2000, for Before Night Falls), as well as the first Spaniard to win one, for Best Supporting Actor in No Country for Old Men, 2008.
He received his third Academy Award nomination, and second Best Actor nomination, for the film Biutiful.
from director Darren Aronofsky, which focuses on a couple whose lives are disrupted by the arrival of unexpected guests.Following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Spain in 2005, Bardem stated that if he were gay, he would get married "right away tomorrow, just to screw the Church" (mañana mismo, sólo para joder a la Iglesia).He has later said that while he does not believe strongly in the supernatural, he does not deny it."), Francis Ford Coppola singled out Bardem as an heir to, and even improvement on, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro, referring to Bardem as ambitious, hungry, unwilling to rest on his laurels and always "excited to do something good." Around this same time he was offered the lead role of "Gunslinger" Roland Deschain in Ron Howard's adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower novels.If he had signed, he would have starred in the TV series as well.