Oscar Actors: Cruz, Penelope–Honoree of Spain’s National Cinematography Prize (San Sebastian Film Fest 2022)

San Sebastian Fest: Cruz Receiving Spain’s National Cinematography Prize

Penelope Cruz
Courtesy: Ministry of Culture and Sports
After wowing crowds at the opening night of the San Sebastián Film Festival on Friday, looking dazzling, Spain’s best-known actress, Penélope Cruz, spoke to a packed auditorium at the city’s Tabakalera culture center on Saturday when she was honored with Spain’s National Cinematography Prize.

“It is truly an honor for me to receive this National Cinematography Prize,” said Cruz speaking in Spanish.

“Cinema is and has been my passion since I was a child. Since I dreamed in the living room of my parents’ house of worlds to explore beyond our neighborhood. The streets of my neighborhood sometimes became sets for incredible stories,” she went on. “My childhood was fantasizing about acting, living life so intensely to be able to encompass many lives through dozens of characters.”

She spent her speech looking back and drawing lesson from more than 30-year career.

Quoting Cavafis

“A beautiful poem by Cavafis says that if you are going to travel to Ithaca, try to make the trip long; because the important thing is not to arrive, the important thing is the adventures experienced along the way,” Cruz reflected.

“And that is true 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 dreamed of, from that light of my parents’ house. For that I am very grateful.”

She made her English-language debut with “Talk of Angels,” in 1998, and has since notched 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 Academy Award winning “Belle Epoque,” Cruz’s two breakout films which caught the attention of a broader audience.

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

Penelope Cruz and Miquel Iceta. Courtesy of Ministry of Culture and Sports

She also had special words of thanks for Pedro Almodóvar. He takes you to such high level in terms of demands he makes on you that I always discover new things about myself.”

Some of the many prizes garnered by Cruz were summarized in a talk by actress Goya Toledo  (“Amores Perros”) before Cruz gave her tearful acceptance speech.

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

Cruz has won many prizes, led by the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in Woody Allen’s “Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona” (2008). 

She was nominated for her first Oscar Award for the Almodóvar’s film “Volver” (2006), again for “Nine,” and again this year for the Almodóvar film “Parallel Mothers.”

In 2019, Cruz received San Sebastian’s Donostia Award, its highest honor, for career achievement.

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