Penélope Cruz amazes, receives the Spanish National Cinematography Award

Penélope Cruz amazes, receives the Spanish National Cinematography Award


After surprising a home crowd on Friday’s opening night of the San Sebastián Film Festival, with a dazzling 48-year-old appearance, Spain’s most famous actress, Penélope Cruz, spoke to a packed auditorium at the city’s Tabakalera Cultural Center on Saturday when she was honored with Spanish National Cinematography Prize.

“It is a real honor for me to receive this National Cinematography Award,” Cruz said in Spanish.

“Cinema has been and has been my passion since I was a child. Ever since I dreamed in the living room of my parents’ house to explore worlds beyond our neighborhood. The streets of my neighborhood sometimes became scenes for incredible stories,’ she continued. “My childhood fantasized about acting, living life so intensely that I could encompass many lives through dozens of characters.”


Cruz received two standing ovations at the ceremony. Cruz received the award from the Spanish Minister of Culture and Sports, Miquel Iceta.

She spent part of a six-minute speech back, drawing at least one lesson from a career that is now more than 30 years. “A beautiful poem by Cavafy says that if you go to Ithaca, try to make the journey long; because the most important thing is not to gain weight, the most important thing is the adventures you experience along the way,” Cruz reflected.

“And that applies in life and in the cinema. It is not the result, it is the incredible adventure of living other lives, knowing other realities, discovering wonderful secrets of the human heart and sharing them with the world. The adventure of this long journey to Ithaca is more exciting than I could have ever imagined, from that light of my childhood home. I am very grateful to him for that.”

She made her English-language debut with “Talk of Angels,” released in 1998, and has since racked up a long list of international hits, including “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Blow,” “All The Pretty Horses’ and Spanish films like ‘All About My Mother’ and ‘Jamon, Jamon’ by Bigas Luna, as well as ‘Belle Epoque’, the Academy Award-winning Fernando Trueba’s, Cruz’s two groundbreaking films that caught the attention of a wider audience.

Cruz had words of thanks to both Bigas Luna and Trueba and her parents plus tall Spain-based manager Katrina Bayonas. “She didn’t throw me out of her office the third time I went there,” she joked.

Penelope Cruz and Miquel Iceta

Thanks to the Ministry of Culture and Sports

She also inevitably had special thanks to Pedro Almodóvar. He takes you to such a high level in terms of what he asks of you that I’m always discovering new things about myself.”

Some of the many awards the 48-year-old won were summed up in a talk by actress Goya Toledo (“Amores Perros”) before Cruz delivered her tearful acceptance speech.

Spanish actor Luis Tosar, who co-stars with Cruz in “On The Fringe,” also took the stage to honor Cruz, who sat front row in a pink suit waiting for her moment to receive the award.

After the Venetian bow earlier this month, Cruz and Tosar can be seen here in San Sebastián in the eviction thriller ‘On the Fringe’, directed by Spanish-Argentine director Juan Diego Botto. Cruz served as the film’s producer and produced from her new production venture.

Cruz has won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Woody Allen’s “Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona” (2008). She was nominated for her first Academy Award for the Almodóvar film ‘Volver’ (2006), again for ‘Nine’ and again this year for the Almodóvar film ‘Parallel Mothers’.

It is not the first time that she has been honored at the top party in Spain. In 2019, Cruz received San Sebastian’s Donostia Award, the highest honor, for career achievements.

Married to Spanish actor Javier Bardem, Cruz’s upcoming films include the Michael Mann passion project “Ferrari”.

John Hopewell contributed to this article.


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