FYC: Daniel Giménez Cacho for Best Lead Actor

I remember seeing Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, at the 2022 AFI Film Festival and feeling slightly hesitant about the film. It wasn’t because of the mixed reviews or the long run time, but just that I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Alejandro González Iñárritu films. I respect his craft, but his movies never hit a home run for me. But as I do with every film I see, I ignore past feelings about other films and hone in on the movie I’m about to watch.

Iñárritu’s Bardo is his most personal film, so the passion and heart conveyed by everyone behind and in front of the camera is not much of a surprise. The person that stood out the most was Daniel Giménez Cacho, who played Silverio, our lead in the film. When you watch this film, you see that Silverio has this deeply-rooted story that is so complex and layered. That said, Cacho had so many different personalities to adapt to and present to the audience.

Since seeing the film, I’ve done so much research and reading articles surrounding Cacho, from how he got the role to what it was like to play it and work with Iñárritu. However, one of the fascinating things I found was this interview he did with Deadline. You can see this excerpt below from the interview:

In fact, González Iñárritu told the actor he shouldn’t even read the script.

For Cacho, a big difference with this film was that he “never constructed the character, I never designed it. … We forgot all about that and it was just every morning, ‘How do you feel today? That’s the way the character is going to be today.’ That’s a brilliant opportunity that I am so thankful to Alejandro to work in that way. He gave me the opportunity to have a profound and inner dialogue with myself and actually I found a new way of working.”

When I read that, I take a few things away from it. First, Iñárritu has incredible faith in Cacho to give the performance he needs for the role of Silverio. Next, it puts added pressure on Cacho to make the performance more complex. But then, you look at the film and see what he could do within that flexibility, and you appreciate it even more. Not only did Cacho bring the character of Silverio to life, but he brought to life Iñárritu’s vision, which had such a profound impact on me.

Iñárritu’s track record with the Academy bodes well for Cacho, as we have seen eight actors get nominated for performances in his films, including Lead Actor in three consecutive films he has directed. Of course, the biggest obstacle right now is the film’s lukewarm reception, but that doesn’t paint the entire picture. If Cacho doesn’t get nominated, it will be one of the biggest snubs in Oscars history.

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