Among the 2022 Screen Actors Guild Awards nominees announced Wednesday morning is Bardem, recognized for his leading performance as famous television star Desi Arnaz opposite Kidman’s Lucille Ball. (The Australian actress also scored a nod.)
The 52-year-old actor tells PEOPLE he’s “very happy” to be honored for Being the Ricardos, noting that it means “a lot coming from the actors.”
“It’s always a surprise and an honor,” said Bardem, who previously won an Oscar and SAG Award for 2007’s No Country for Old Men. “There’s a substantive opinion of people that are liking or disliking something. This doesn’t mean you are better than anybody else. It’s just a lottery. Of course, you buy tickets for the lottery doing your work, but at the end of the day, it is about the taste of people that defines if you are nominated or not nominated.”
“It’s beautiful to realize that your work has reached their attention,” he says, “and the older you get, it’s even more, I don’t know what the word… It makes you happy. It makes you like, ‘Oh, well, okay. They still remember me!’ “
At the time when it was revealed who would be playing Desi and Lucy in the film directed by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), Bardem and Kidman faced backlash from some who couldn’t envision the two decorated actors as the comedic husband-and-wife duo.
Even with the movie now out in the world — strong reviews and awards recognition to boot — Bardem realizes he may never be able to fully convince he was right for the part.
“Honestly, I don’t put the energy I have into those things. We just did our work. We just planned to do our best. We worked very hard to earn those characters, because they are so iconic. And we were not paying attention to that at all,” the Spanish actor says of the initial casting qualms. “And still, with or without recognition, people that think that way will still think that way. And it’s fine. That’s the way it should be. Everything is welcome.”
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Bardem emphasizes that his performance hinged heavily on Kidman’s, and vice versa.
“It’s true that our performances depended on the other’s, in some ways,” he explains. “Of course she has more scenes with other characters, as do I, but we really have to create that chemistry together and that relationship together. We depended on each other so much on the shoot. I guess that’s what’s been recognized as well.”
Being the Ricardos is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
The 28th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be broadcast live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. ET.