Forget eating and loving: Julia Roberts is praying for her Eat Pray Love co-star Javier Bardem to pick up an Oscar nomination for his role as a crime boss with a deadly illness in the Spanish-language Biutiful.

Roberts, who won a Best Actress Academy Award in 2001 for Erin Brockovich, gushed over Bardem's performance in the drama, directed by Babel's Alejandro González Iñárritu. "He's so raw and completely open to sharing every emotion this character has," Roberts told Entertainment Weekly. "I was telling him at dinner tonight, when I watched it I had to keep stopping and saying, 'Okay, this is not actually happening to Javier.' Because it's his face and his big eyes. I think it's unexpected for a man to expose himself so deeply."

The actress added that Bardem has been passed over for a Golden Globe or Screen Actors Guild award nomination because the movie is very under-the-radar. "I think the movie hasn't gotten the exposure," she said. "You don't know where it is. It's like this hidden little jewel. Especially in this particular season, people don't hunt for things. They just take what you throw in their face."

In order to get word out about the movie, Roberts hosted a private screening for industry insiders in her Los Angeles home on Tuesday night. Bardem attended with his wife, a very pregnant Penelope Cruz, as did actors Kyle MacLachlan and Robert Forster.

Bardem has already won an Academy Award for his role in 2007's No Country For Old Men. Oscar nominations will be announced the morning of January 25. The ceremony will take place February 27. —ISHITA SINGH

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