Not all of the five best Spanish actors are as well-known in America as they are in their homeland. But each one has the acting chops that are requirements to be included on this list. With hundreds of nominations and awards between the five of them, these Spanish actors are the ones to keep your eye on.
- Antonio Banderas. Banderas is one of the best Spanish actors because he can do it all. Need a ruggedly handsome action hero? Banderas is your man. Need a smooth wooer of the ladies? Banderas can do that in his sleep. Need an actor who can sing and dance? He does that, too.
- Penelope Cruz. Cruz became one of the preeminent actresses in Spain before breaking it big in the U.S. She has starred in a number of popular movies, including “All the Pretty Horses," “Blow," and “Vanilla Sky." She cemented her place as one of the best Spanish actors in 2009 by winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona."
- Eduardo Noriega. Still a relative unknown in the States, Noriega is fast becoming one of the best Spanish actors available today, mostly through his work with Alejandro Amenabar. He has been nominated eight times for best actor in a number of Spanish awards. He is best known to American audiences through his roles in “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Vantage Point."
- Benicio del Toro. Benicio del Toro broke onto the scene as the mumble-mouth Fred Fenster in 1995’s “The Usual Suspects." He’s steadily gained international celebrity since then, becoming one of the best Spanish actors with roles in films such as “Basquiat," “Snatch," “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," and “Traffic." His role in “Traffic” as undercover cop Javier Rodriguez earned him a Best Supporting Actor award, and he would later be nominated again for his work in “21 Grams” alongside Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.
- Javier Bardem. Javier Bardem was a star in Spain and one of the best Spanish actors long before he became a household name in the U.S. with his role as psycho killer Anton Sigur in the Coen Brothers’ 2007 film, “No Country for Old Men." Bardem won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for that portrayal and was a centerpiece of the film. Awards and nominations were nothing new for Bardem, however, as he has racked up more than 80 nominations during his career so far and over 60 wins in a variety of awards.