Best Portrayal of a Lowlife on Film (2010)

Phoenix actor Luis Avila in 7 Soles

If you missed filmmaker Pedro Ultreras' brutal, uncompromising 7 Soles, which chronicles a tragic border-crossing through the Sonoran Desert by an ill-fated group of Mexican migrants, you missed a humdinger. Filmed in Arizona, the Spanish-language film received only a limited release, ironically showing to sold-out houses during its short run. Starring as one of the coyotes leading the group was Luis Avila, a Phoenix playwright and director known as much for his sweet disposition as his talent. But Avila transformed himself for the role of the backstabbing, irredeemable gun-bearing Gavilan, packing on pounds and dirtying himself up considerably in the process. Gavilan rapes, pillages, murders, and betrays his charges all the way to a Phoenix drop-house, where he's finally arrested by the Phoenix cops and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Indeed, if they handed out Academy Awards just for playing a-holes, Avila would have that Oscar on his mantelpiece right now.


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