Writing in The Wrap, Steve Pond says Biutiful “is as powerful as it is sorrowful; it creates, and sustains, a gentle, piercing mood that’s hard to shake afterwards. This is a film that sticks with you, with a towering lead performance from Bardem that absolutely should put him in the thick of the Best Actor race.”

Pond attended a screening of the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu drama at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater on Saturday, when the director was joined for a post-screening Q&A by director of photography Rodrigo Prieto, editor Stephen Mirrione and composer Gustavo Santaolalla, a panel with seven Oscar nominations and three wins between them.

The session was moderated by Oscar-winning director Guillermo Del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”). “Del Toro is hardly the only high-profile backer the film has acquired,” Pond says.”Sean Penn told Josh Brolin the film was ‘a f—ing masterpiece.’ Director Michael Mann is a big fan; so are Werner Herzog, who’ll moderate an upcoming DGA Q&A with Inarritu in Los Angeles, and Robert Benton, who’ll do the same in New York.”

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