I look at myself, and I see a Spanish person who's trying to be understood by an English-speaking audience and is putting a lot of energy into that, instead of into expressing himself freely and feeling comfortable.
This great imperialistic world called the United States has made us believe that an Oscar is the most important thing in the world for an actor. But if you think about it for five minutes you realise it can't be.
When I see myself at 14 years old I can put my hands on my head and think: 'How could I have done that?' but at that time it had sense for me. You do the same when you're 20. And now, when you look at people who are 20 years old you ask yourself: 'Was I like that? Was I really like that?'
I do a job and am lucky enough to do a job that I love, but it is a hard one. I'm not saying it is as hard as working in a coal mine, but it is still difficult in a different way. Sometimes you have to go through very strong emotional journeys and then come back to yourself. And that can be difficult to control.
Awards were made in Hollywood, in whatever the time it was created. They're to promote each other's movies. You give me an award, I give you an award and people will believe that we are great movies and they'll go to see them. It's still the same.
But I remember the moment when my father died. I wasn't a very committed Catholic beforehand, but when that happened it suddenly all felt so obvious: I now believe religion is our attempt to find an explanation, for us to feel more protected.
I was emotionally and physically punched in the stomach. This is not a place where you go and deliver the lines and then you come back. It's kind of a life-changing experience. But it can't get better than this for any actor - this is like an opera.
What does my performance have to do with Russell Crowe's? Nothing. If I play Gladiator and we all play Gladiator with Ridley Scott in the same amount of time, maybe we have a chance to see who did it best.
I think we are living in selfish times. I'm the first one to say that I'm the most selfish. We live in the so-called 'first world,' and we may be first in a lot of things like technology, but we are behind in empathy.
And the whole Oscar thing, that is just surreal: you spend months and months doing promotion, and then come back to reality with this golden thing in your hands. You put it in the office and then you just have to look at it sitting on the shelf. And, after about two weeks, you go: 'What is that doing there?'