Initially gaining fame in Spanish-language television shows, Mexican actress, TV director and acting coach Adriana Barraza was launched to international prominence with Alejandro González Iñárritu's critically acclaimed movie “Amores Perros” (2000). However, it was her praised portrayal of lost nanny Amelia in Iñárritu's well-received ensemble, “Babel” (2006), which elevated her profile in Hollywood. She took home an ALMA Award, a San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award, a Gotham Award, a Palm Springs International Film Festival Award and was nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for her acting. Her more recent and upcoming Hollywood credits include Mark Pellington's “Henry Poole is Here” (2008), Sally Potter's “Rage” (2009), Christopher B. Landon's “Burning Palms” (2009) and Sam Raimi's “Drag Me to Hell” (2009). She has also guest starred in the hit television series “ER” and “CSI: Miami.”
Also a TV director and acting coach, Barraza directed several Mexican soap operas, including “Mujer, casos de la vida real” (also acted), “Locura de amor” (2000) and “Complices al Rescate” (2002), her last directorial effort to date. She worked as a Spanish dialect coach in the Adam Sandler vehicle “Spanglish” (2004).
Barraza was among 115 people invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) in 2007. She is now Vice President in Neutral Accent and Acting Development for the Telemundo Network.
Barraza is the wife of university lecturer Arnaldo Pike. They have one daughter.
Mother of 1
Childhood and Family:
Adriana Barraza was born on March 5, 1956, in Toluca, Mexico. She married long-time partner Arnaldo Pipke on April 29, 2005, and has a daughter with him. Adriana and her university lecturer husband have lived in Chihuahua, Mexico, since 1974.
Adriana studied acting at the fine arts school of the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, where her husband also taught philosophy.
Henry Poole is Here
Adriana Barraza relocated to Mexico City in 1985 to become a theater director. Her early television directorial debut was in the long-running anthology series “Mujer, Casos de la Vida Real” (1985), which was hosted by Silvia Pinal from 1989 to 2007. Barraza also appeared in several episodes of the show from 1995 to 2003.
In 1993, Barraza acted in the Manolo García-directed TV film “Las Cosas simples” and played the role of Madre Clara on the TV series “La Paloma” in 1995. She went on to have roles in a string of Mexican TV series like “Imperio de cristal” (1995, as Flora), “Bajo un mismo rostro” (1995, as Elvira), “Culpa, La” (1996, as Trabajadora Social) and “Alguna vez tendremos alas” (1997, as Clara Domínguez). After appearing in the first episode of “Vivo por Elena” (1998), playing Hilda 'La Machin,' she made her big screen debut in the Alejandro Gamboa-directed drama “La Primera noche/The First Night” (1998), in which she was cast as Mamá de Bruno. She was reunited with Gamboa a year later for the installment “La Segunda Noche.” Also in 1999, she appeared in the film “La Paloma De Marsella,” for director Carlos García Agraz and writer Eliseo Alberto.
Meanwhile, Barraza added to her directing credits with the Televisa San Angel movie “Las Alas del pez” (1995), which she jointly helmed with Manolo García, and the based-on-novel series “Nunca te olvidaré” (1999), for Televisa S.A. de C.V. She also served as acting coach in the adventure series “Soñadoras” (1998), which aired in the United States in August 1999.
Entering the new millennium, Barraza played the role of Soledad Retana in the Mexico soap opera “Locura de Amor” (2000), a remake of the 1989 series “Dulce desafío.” In addition to acting, she shared directorial credits with Alejandro Gamboa and Héctor Márquez and served as an acting coach. It was also in 2000 that she first worked with director Alejandro González Iñárritu in the thriller “Amores Perros/Love's a Bitch,” which received a Best Foreign Language Film nomination at the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards. The critically praised film helped introduce the Mexican actress, who played the mother of Gael García Bernal, to the international circuit.
Next, Barraza put acting on the backburner to focus on her directing career. She helmed the Mexican soap opera “El Manantial” and the adventure series “Aventuras en el tiempo” in 2001 and the romance “Complices al Rescate” the following year. She also worked as an acting coach in the three shows. Barraza resumed her acting career in 2003 with a three-episodic arc in the Mexican comedy series “Clase 406.”
However, it was not until after she worked as the acting coach in the series “Prisionera” and “¡Anita, no te rajes!” (both 2004) and as a Spanish dialect coach on the James L. Brooks comedy feature “Spanglish” (also 2004), starring Adam Sandler and Téa Leoni, that Barraza made her second collaboration with acclaimed filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu in the high-profile film “Babel” (2006), starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Cast in the prominent role of Amelia, an illegal immigrant who is forced to look after two American children when left in the hot Sonoran desert, her performance was critically applauded and she was awarded the 2007 ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress - Motion Picture, the 2006 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress, the 2006 Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast and the Ensemble Performance Award from the 2007 Palm Springs International Film Festival. The role also brought the actress Best Supporting Actress nominations at the 2007 Academy Awards, the 2007 Golden Globes, the 2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards, the 2007 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, the 2007 Imagen Foundation Awards, the 2007 Online Film Critics Society Awards, and the 2006 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards.
“Adriana sent a tape and it was so good that I was almost crying. Every scene hit me in the heart and the gut. She has that quality of unconditional maternal love, who is also tough and endures a lot of pain. She represents those millions of Mexicans living in the United States as invisible citizens. As the embodiment of these forgotten people, Adriana Barraza gives new meaning for the word incarnation. Every movement of her body, her hands, and her eyes was incarnate with tenderness and complexity of the spirit of a character that could easily have become stereotyped. Her work was sublime.” Director Alejandro González Iñárritu (on Adriana Barraza)
Barraza's popularity increased significantly after her performance in “Babel.” In 2007, she was featured in an episode of the popular NBC medical series “ER” called “Skye's the Limit” (as Dolores Salazar) and appeared alongside Luke Wilson and Radha Mitchell in Mark Pellington's film, “Henry Poole is Here” (as Esperanza). She made a guest appearance in “CSI: Miami” in 2008 and teamed up with Judi Dench, Steve Buscemi, Jude Law and John Leguizamo in the Sally Potter drama “Rage” in 2009. Barraza also returned to her Mexican roots for the short movie “...Y solo humo” (2007) and the thriller series “Tiempo final” (2008), where she guest starred in an episode called “Reality Show.”
The fifty-something performer will play Louisa in a 2009 film titled “Burning Palms,” which was directed and written by Christopher B. Landon. Also starring in the film are Zoe Saldana, Shannen Doherty, Nick Stahl, Rosamund Pike and Dylan McDermott. She was also cast as Shaun San Dena in Sam Raimi's thriller “Drag Me to Hell” (2009), opposite Alison Lohman and Justin Long, and star as Sofia in the Mexican drama film “Tres piezas de amor en un fin de semana” (2009), helmed by Salvador Aguirre.
ALMA: Outstanding Actress - Motion Picture, “Babel,” 2007
Palm Springs International Film Festival: Ensemble Performance Award, “Babel,” 2007
Gotham: Best Ensemble Cast, “Babel,” 2006
San Francisco Film Critics Circle (SFFCC): Best Supporting Actress, “Babel,” 2006