Third Puerto Rican Actor to win an Academy Award. The other two were: Rita Moreno (West Side Story ) and José Ferrer (Cyrano de Bergerac ).
Attended Mercersburg Academy (graduated in 1985). He was a basketball star and artist there, but not an actor.
From 1988 to 1992 he was in a relationship with Valeria Golino.
Acted with his ex-girlfriend, Valeria Golino, in three film: Big Top Pee-wee , The Indian Runner and Submission .
Youngest person ever to portray a villain in a James Bond-movie: "Dario" in Licence to Kill .
Benny Dalmau's last name (his character in Basquiat ) came from Raymond Dalmau, a Puerto Rican basketball player in the 70s and early 80s. Raymond Dalmau wore the shirt Benicio wears in the film when he was in the Puerto Rican National Selection.
Burned himself with cigarettes repeatedly for the elevator scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas because the real 'Oscar Zeta Acosta' did as well. The shots of the burn were cut.
He was originally cast as Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace . After the majority of the character's lines were removed from the script by George Lucas, Benicio left the project.
Is one of five Oscar winners - for Best Supporting Actor in Traffic - to play a character that spoke mostly in a foreign language. Most of his dialog was in Spanish. The other are Sophia Loren, Robert De Niro, Roberto Benigni and Marion Cotillard.
Was offered the role of Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls that eventually went to Javier Bardem. He turned it down to be in friend Christopher McQuarrie's The Way of the Gun .
He and his ex-girlfriend Claire Forlani both been in movies featuring Ryan Phillippe: Claire in Antitrust and Benicio in The Way of the Gun . They have also both been in movies with Brad Pitt: Claire in Meet Joe Black and Benicio in Snatch. . Claire and Benicio acted together in Basquiat .
Reportedly turned down the role of Frida Kahlo's husband Diego Rivera in Frida because of the weight gain that would be required, despite that earlier, for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas , he had gained 40 pounds for his character.
Won the 2003 Audience Award for Best Actor at the Venice International Film Festival for his role in 21 Grams .
He badly injured his wrist during a stunt fight during the filming of William Friedkin's The Hunted . He fell on his wrist as he dove for a knife and actor Tommy Lee Jones fell on top of him. He was injured so badly that he was out of work for months, even though the film was virtually completed. He required 3 hours of therapy daily and reportedly there is a question whether he will regain full use of the wrist.
He was considered for the lead character of "Eddie Kagle" in "Angel on My Shoulder" , a role that was played by Paul Muni in Angel on My Shoulder . Producers not only wanted him for his his amazing talent, but also for his close resemblance to Muni.
Because of his pay-or-play deal, he was paid $5 million for American Gangster . the film was due to start shooting in October 2004 - with Denzel Washington co-starring - but Universal Pictures postponed it because of budgetary concerns. The film eventually got the green light in 2006, with Ridley Scott replacing Antoine Fuqua as director.