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A global chat with Babel's Gael García Bernal

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Ggb_lGael García Bernal, the heartthrob star of Y tu mamá también, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Babel, called yesterday afternoon from Berlin, Germany, where he’s serving on the jury of the big film festival — as well as, you know, just making all the ladies swoon. (I can hear his pickup line now: “Ich bin ein hottie!”)

Anyway, we had a quick chat about Best Picture nominee Babel, which is coming out on video next Tuesday, just a few days before the Oscars. The Mexican thespian said his best memory of working on the movie was getting to know Tijuana, a place where he hadn’t spent much time before: “I discovered one of the most amazing and incredible places on Earth, full of great humanity.” He also hopes that up-and-coming artists can learn something from his countrymen’s domination of this year’s awards season (Oscar contenders Babel, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Children of Men all were made by Mexican auteurs). “What this will do for filmmakers in Mexico is help them learn from the artistic rigor and integrity that these directors have — to keep on doing what they want without having to erase their identity to get a nomination. At the end of the day, these directors made the films they wanted to make.”

And then there was the elephant on the transatlantic phone line: Will Babel win? “I’m pretty optimistic, but in a healthy way — it’s not an optimism that will become tragic if somebody else wins!” He laughed, before adding. “It’s an optimism of just having a good time and having a party.” Translation: If it’s a little while before he can say “Ich bin ein Oscar winner,” so be it.

addCredit(“Gael Garcia Bernal: James Veysey/Camera Press/Retna”)