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Oscar for Spain: Cantabria's Sergio López-Rivera nets award for 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'
27 April 2021 @ 09:37

LAST YEAR'S Oscars saw a tin of potato crisps from Galicia pick up four statuettes, although Spain's joint-biggest living Hollywood export Antonio Banderas – the other being Penélope Cruz – still went home empty-handed, having earned his first-ever nomination in a career that is now into its fifth decade. 

But this year's Oscars did include one Spanish winner – Sevilla-born Sergio López-Rivera, 54, who grew up in Santander, Cantabria.

Sergio López-Rivera, along with Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, triumph at the 2021 Oscar Awards

Attending the ceremony with his husband, López-Rivera said his triumph had only been possible thanks to his grandmother back in the far-northern coastal region of Spain.

Along with his colleagues Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, Sergio won the Oscar for Best Hair and Makeup for the US jazz scene film Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, in which he rose eagerly to the challenge of 'disfiguring' the lead actress Viola Davis, who played the central character.

Viola Davis had personally requested her makeup artist for the rôle be Sergio López-Rivera, whom she had worked with before in How to Get Away With a Murder.

Of the original 'Ma Rainey', one of the first female artists to record her music accompanied by a band in 1920s' Chicago, only seven photos could be found and only one of these close-up enough to see her features in full detail, Sergio said.

“We discovered she was a woman who was very fat, who sweated excessively, who had lots of gold teeth and who was considered the ugliest person in the musical industry,” he reveals.

“She was said to have sweated so much under the spotlights on stage that she looked as though she was bathed in a gold sheen.”



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