Oscar Movies: Before Night Falls (2000)

Julian Schnabel's lyrical biopicture may be the first dramatic feature to offer a deep look into the impact of Fidel Castro's Cuba on homosexual artists and intellectuals; there have been documentaries on this subject.  The movie captures the horrors of censorship and of persecution in a fierce, uncompromising way.

 

“Before Night Falls” is a logical follow-up to Schnabel's feature directorial debut, “Basquiat” (1996), which also centers on a troubled artist.  The film world-premiered at the 2000 Venice Film Fest, where it won two major awards, and then played at the Toronto Fest. 

 

As the gay novelist and poet Reinaldo Arenas, who became a prisoner of the Castro regime, Javier Bardem renders a strong dramatic performance that deservedly earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination. 

 

Oscar Context

The winner of the Best Actor Oscar was Russell Crow for the historical epic spectacle, “Gladiator,” in a race that also included Tom Hanks in “Cast Away,” Ed Harris in “Pollock,” and Geoffrey Rush in “Quills.”