Humberto Suárez, a millionaire businessman (José Luis Gómez), believes that no one would remember him after his death. Instead of just establishing a foundation, he chooses to make something more lasting by contributing money to the production of a film based on the book Rivalry. He recruits writer-director Lola Cuevas (Penélope Cruz), who casts two well-known actors, including the well adored Félix Rivero (Antonio Banderas) and the veteran actor-turned-professor Iván Torres (Oscar Martnez). Because Félix and Iván have never collaborated previously and because of their egos and divergent acting styles, they frequently butt heads during film rehearsals.
Openly humorous and gloomy, Official Competition. Félix and Iván try to out-act one other by giving fake praises disguised as sincere performances, which makes for some good chuckles. They are fiercely competitive, which makes all of their interactions a spectacle. Félix is more overtly narcissistic, but Iván frequently touts his humility as evidence of his self-centeredness (he even refuses to fly first-class and scoffs at those who do as he passes by). The movie, about two warring brothers, requires Lola to put up with both of them, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have her own ego (albeit she's a little more grounded) and a high opinion of her work and techniques.
Mirrors are skillfully used by Cohn and Duprat to illustrate how the performers see themselves, one another, and the audience's impression of them. The protagonists must communicate with one another in secret, away from the prying eyes of the public, throughout the most of the movie. Nevertheless, their interactions with one another and their personnel reveal their personalities and self-involvement. As a result, Official Competition turns into a sobering, insightful character study of artists who are only interested in proving their superiority in a field that calls for collaboration and tolerance.