Penélope Cruz Wows, receives the Spanish National Film Prize

After wowing a home crowd at the opening night of the San Sebastián Film Festival on Friday and looking stunning at 48, Spain’s best-known actress, Penélope Cruz, spoke to a sold-out auditorium at the city’s Tabakalera Cultural Center on Saturday when she received the honor of Spain national film award.

“It’s really an honor for me to receive this National Cinematography Prize,” said Cruz in Spanish.

“Cinema is and has been my passion since my childhood. Ever since I dreamed of exploring worlds beyond our neighborhood in my parents’ living room. The streets of my neighborhood sometimes became the backdrop for incredible stories,” she continued. “Growing up, I fantasized about acting and lived life so intensely that I was able to span many lives through dozens of characters.”

Cruz received a two standing ovation during the ceremony. Cruz was presented with the award by Spain’s Minister of Culture and Sport, Miquel Iceta.

She spent part of a six-minute speech looking back and learning at least one lesson from a career that has now spanned more than 30 years. “A beautiful poem by Cavafis says when you travel to Ithaca, try to make the journey long; because the most important thing is not the arrival, but the adventures that are experienced along the way,” Cruz reflects.

“And that’s true in life and in the movies. It’s not the result, it’s 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 dreamed of by the light of my childhood home. I am very grateful 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 Bigas Luna’s ‘Jamon, Jamon’, as well as Fernando Trueba’s Oscar-winning ‘Belle Epoque’, two of Cruz’s groundbreaking films that caught the attention of a wider audience.

Cruz thanked both Bigas Luna and Trueba and her parents, as well as Spain-based manager Katrina Bayonas. “She didn’t kick me out of her office the third time I went there,” she joked.

Penelope Cruz and Miquel Iceta

Courtesy of the Ministry of Culture and Sport

She also inevitably had special words of thanks for Pedro Almodóvar. He brings you to such a high level in terms of his standards that I keep discovering new things about myself.”

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

Spanish actor Luis Tosar, who stars alongside Cruz in On The Fringe, also took the stage to honor Cruz, who sat front row in a pink suit awaiting her moment to accept the award.

After bowing in Venice earlier this month, Cruz and Tosar are here in San Sebastián in the evacuation thriller On the Fringe, directed by Spanish-Argentinian director Juan Diego Botto. Cruz served as the film’s producer, producing out of her new production company.

Cruz has won many awards, most notably an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Woody Allen’s Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona (2008). She was nominated for her first Oscar for Almodóvar’s film Volver (2006), again for Nine, and again this year for Almodóvar’s film Parallel Mothers.

It’s not the first time she’s been celebrated at Spain’s top festival. In 2019, Cruz received San Sebastian’s Donostia Award, his top honor for career achievement.

Cruz is married to the Spanish actor Javier Bardem and will, among other things, film the Michael Mann passion project “Ferrari”.

John Hopewell contributed to this article. Penélope Cruz Wows, receives the Spanish National Film Prize

Charles Jones

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