The Union of Artists and Writers of Cuba awarded Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro yesterday the International Tomas Gutierrez Alea Prize, named for the late Cuban director who made Muerte de un burócrata, Mamorieas de subdesarrollo, and 1994’s Strawberry and Chocolate, the first Cuban film to be nominated for an Oscar. Del Toro, star of the 2008 movie Che, attended the ceremony in the company of fellow actors Bill Murray, Robbert Duvall, and James Caan, who are in Havana researching a possible film project. He was honored for his portrayal of the Argentinean hero of the Cuban revolution in the movie directed by Steven Soderbergh. It “makes me feel small and proud at the same time,” del Toro said. “It’s an honor to win this prize.”
When asked if he and his pals might make a movie on the communist-led island, del Toro told reporters: “That depends on the governments, on the American government.” Because of the long-standing U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, Americans have been forbidden, with some exceptions, from visiting the island or doing most business there.