updated 01/29/2008 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/29/2008 AT 5:40 PM ET
Woody Harrelson turned a night of honoring Javier Bardem into an opportunity to roast his No Country for Old Men costar instead.
“When I first met Javier, he was doing some funny thing with his voice, and I realized at the SAG Awards… he’s Spanish!” cracked Harrelson. “I always thought he was Mexican. No, I’m kidding. I thought he was Argentine.”
Harrelson was on hand Monday night to help present Bardem with the Montecito Award at the annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which goes to a performer who has given a series of standout performances.
“I can’t believe the luck this guy has,” continued Harrelson. “You look at his bio, and one page is just describing his journey and then the second page is just all of the awards he’s won …. And not to mention, I found this out last night, too – he’s going out with Penelope Cruz.”
At the mention of Cruz’s name, the crowed whooped and hollered as Bardem laughed, dropped his head and covered his smiling face. (Bardem and Cruz, who were first linked last summer and were spotted nuzzling on the beach in the Maldives in the fall, have kept their romance low-key.)
“Seriously, you’re sitting in the presence of one of the greatest actors alive, but of course this award is not for me,” Harrelson quipped, then turned serious. “Josh Brolin did say to me that he thought Javier was one of the greatest actors alive, and I’d be hard pressed to disagree with that statement. …It’s a privilege to have worked with you and it’s a privilege to be your friend. Congratulations on this award.”
Bardem continued the teasing spirit of Harrelson’s speech, saying that during filming of the movie “he was thinking that I was Antonio Banderas. I didn’t want to say the truth, because I didn’t want to disappoint him.”
But on a serious note, Bardem, who won the Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding male actor in a supporting role, humbly accepted his latest honor.
“When I saw the invitation from my agent, I said ‘I don’t get it.’ When I saw the theater it was huge – I thought it was going to be smaller. When I saw the crowd, I said ‘I don’t get it. Why me? Why? Why? Why me, tonight?’ And then I said ‘You know what? I don’t want to know!’ Instead I receive this as the greatest honor of my life.”