Bardem came to notice in a small role in his first major motion picture, The Ages of Lulu, when he was 20, in which he appeared along with his mother, Pilar Bardem.
Bardem has also won a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA, five Goya Awards, two European Film Awards, a Prize for Best Actor at Cannes (ex-aequo with Elio Germano) and two Volpi Cups at Venice for his work.
For that role, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor, the first for a Spaniard.
Immediately after, he turned down the role of Danny Witwer in Minority Report which eventually went to Colin Farrell.
He made his Hollywood debut in a brief appearance as a crime lord who summons Tom Cruise's hitman to do the dirty work of dispatching witnesses in the crime drama Collateral.
He stars in Miloš Forman's 2006 film Goya's Ghosts opposite Natalie Portman, where he plays a twisted monk during the Spanish Inquisition.