A popular actress and director of Spanish-language television as well as a respected drama coach, Mexico-born Barraza was virtually unknown on this side of the border until her devastating turn as an illegal immigrant nanny in 2006's Babel. Her second collaboration with fellow countryman Alejandro González Iñárritu after 2000's Amores Perros, Babel required Barraza to put on 35 pounds and endure the blazing desert heat, no mean feat for a woman who had survived two heart attacks. But the emotional journey of her character was even more taxing as Barraza gave a face and soul to the countless illegal aliens who struggle in the U.S., deservedly earning Golden Globe, SAG and Oscar nominations for her work.
- In 1985, moved to Mexico City to become a theater director.
- Acted in numerous telenovelas.
- Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu cast her in his directorial debut, Amores Perros (2000), which was her first international film.
- Worked as a dialogue coach for the Telemundo Network and for the 2004 Adam Sandler film Spanglish.
- 2007, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 2006, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 2006, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 2006, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 2007, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Acting Ensemble: Nominee
- 2007, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Supporting Actress: Nominee
- Arnaldo Pipke — Husband
- Caroline — Daughter
- Attended Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico
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