BARCELONA – Soon set to be seen at Cannes’ in Pedro Almodóvar’s competition contender “Pain and Glory.” Penélope Cruz will receive the 2019 Donostia Award for career achievement at the 67th San Sebastian Festival, which runs Sept. 20-28 at the Basque resort city.
The Spanish actress will be honored doubly way, as she will also be the official image on this year’s festival poster.
No other Spanish actress has received the international recognition of Cruz, nor her number of top-echelon prizes and nominations as she has battled to broaden the roles open to Latin actresses.
She demonstrated a range most memorably perhaps winning a best supporting actress Academy Award and Bafta winner for her performance as Maria Elena in Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”
“Cruz, who officially graduated from sex kitten to powerhouse melodramatic actress in ‘Volver,’ is in full Anna Magnani mode here, storming up and down mountain peaks of emotion and captivating everyone. She’s dynamite,” Variety announced in its review.
Cruz has also won an honorary 2018 Cesar from France’s Academy of the Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and three Spanish Academy Goya Awards , among 12 nominations, for Fernando Trueba’s “The Girl of Your Dreams,”Almodóvar’s “Volver,” and Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” She took a David di Donatello best actress award for Sergio Castellito’s “Don’ t Move” in 2004, shared a Cannes Festival best actress award with the rest of the female ensemble cast in “Volver,” and received a Spanish Culture Ministry’s Fine Arts Gold Medal in 2018.
Balancing occasional big international productions and indie auteur fare, Cruz’s career takes in almost 70 roles —between features and TV series– with her working in Spanish, English, Italian and French – uncommon for a Spanish actress.
Cruz’ book out in “Jamón, jamón,” directed by Bigas Luna, who had a rare talent for detecting young talent, acting alongside Javier Bardem, who would become her husband almost twenty years later. The other two Spanish directors who have marked Cruz’s career are Trueba and Almodóvar.
Among Cruz’s key works are Alejandro Aménabar’s “Open Your Eyes” (1997), Almodóvar’s foreign-language Oscar winning “All About My Mother” (1999), Cameron Crowe’s “Vanilla Sky” (2001), Isabel Coixet’s “Elegy” (2008), Rob Marshall’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” (2011), Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love” (2013) and Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows It” (2018).
Cruz’s upcoming films include Olivier Assayas’ “Wasp Network”, Simon Kinberg’s “355” and Todd Solondz’ “Love Child.”
Penélope Cruz is the fifth Spanish actor to receive the Donostia Award after Fernando Fernán Gómez (1999), Paco Rabal (2001), Antonio Banderas (2008) and Carmen Maura (2013).
Launched in 1986 and focusing largely on actors, the Donostia Award has recognized Hollywood Golden Age luminaries such as Bette Davis (1989), Glenn Ford (1987), Lauren Bacall (1992), and Lana Turner (1994) and high-profile currently jobbing thesps such as Ewan McGregor (2012), Benicio del Toro (2014), Julia Roberts (2010) and Monica Bellucci (2017).
In “Pain & Glory,” Cruz plays the mother of the main character – an Almodovar alter-ego.
John Hopewell contributed to this article.