Javier to Skip Oscars Over Girlfriend Cruz
Star wants to avoid awkward encounter with girlfriend
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2009 4:22 PM CST

(Newser) – Javier Bardem will be a no-show at the Oscars to avoid an awkward run-in with girlfriend Penelope Cruz, OK! reports. Tradition dictates that Bardem, last year’s Best Supporting Actor, should present this year’s Best Supporting Actress award, possibly to nominee Cruz, his Vicky Cristina Barcelona co-star. But Bardem “doesn’t want to acknowledge his relationship with Penelope,” says E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic.

"They’re a couple that likes to stay under the radar and so meeting on the Oscars stage would blow their cover," adds Rancic. "Would Javier kiss Penelope if she won? Would they hug? Would they shake hands? He's worried it could be an awkward scene.” But E! says Bardem will skip the ceremony because of prior work commitments in his native Spain.