Academy Award nominee Penélope Cruz has proven herself to be one of the most versatile, young actresses by playing a variety of compelling characters, and most recently becoming the first actress from Spain to be nominated for an Academy Award. Her brave actable choices of auteur directors in which to work with, her natural beauty, and her refined screen presence, catapults her crafts magnificence far beyond her years.
First introduced to American audiences in the Spanish films JAMON, JAMON and BELLE EPOQUE, in 1998 she starred in her first English language film, HI-LO COUNTRY for director Stephen Frears opposite Woody Harrelson, Patricia Arquette and Billy Crudup. In 1999, Cruz won the Best Actress award at the 13th Annual Goya Awards given by the Spanish Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for her role in Fernando Trueba’s THE GIRL OF YOUR DREAMS.
Confirming her status as Spain’s hottest international actress, Cruz landed the coveted role opposite Matt Damon in the film adaptation of ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, directed by Billy Bob Thornton. Next, she portrayed Isabella, in WOMAN ON TOP for Fox Searchlight. The film was a whimsical tale of a gifted gourmand who journeys across the world in search of success, but ultimately finds herself.
Other featured credits include her starring role in the thriller OPEN YOUR EYES, TWICE UPON A YESTERDAY, Pedro Almovodar’s LIVE FLESH and TALK OF ANGELS. Additionally, Cruz co-starred in Pedro Almovodar’s critically acclaimed ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER which was awarded the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Foreign Film.
Up next for Penélope was BLOW for director Ted Demme. The film portrayed the true story of how cocaine became the designer drug in the U.S. in the early 70’s seen through the eyes of an American, played by Johnny Depp, who became one of the biggest traffickers for reputed drug kingpin Carlos Escobar. Cruz portrayed Depp’s wife. She next starred opposite Nicolas Cage and Christian Bale in CAPTAIN CORELLI’S MANDOLIN. The film, directed by John Madden, was shot in Greece and is based on Louis de Bernieres’ bestselling novel set during WWII.
Penélope starred opposite Tom Cruise in the masterful erotic thriller remake, VANILLA SKY. The film also starred Cameron Diaz and Jason Lee and was directed by Cameron Crowe. She then tackled MASKED & ANONYMOUS, FAN FAN LA TUIPE, which opened the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, and DON’T TEMPT ME. She received rave reviews for her eagerly awaited performance in DON’T MOVE (“Non ti Muovere”) in which she was honored with a David Di Donatello Award (Italian Oscar) and European Film Award for Best Actress.
Penélope’s next films only added to her already brilliant and diverse choice of film credits. Recent films include GOTHIKA, in which she co-stared with Halle Berry and Robert Downy Jr; director John Duigan’s romantic drama HEAD IN THE CLOUDS opposite Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend; NOEL opposite Susan Sarandon; and CHROMOPHOBIA with Ralph Fiennes. Penélope also co-stared with Matthew McConaughey and William H. Macy as Dr. Eva Rojas in the action packed film SAHARA.
In 2006, Penélope starred in VOLVER, which again teamed her with director and friend Pedro Almodovar. Critically acclaimed for her role as Raimunda, she won the “Best Actress” awards at the European Film Awards, the Spanish Goya Awards, the Cannes Film Festival, and received both Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for this outstanding piece of work. Penélope’s next film, THE GOOD NIGHT, written and directed by Jake Paltrow, opened in select theaters this past fall. Cruz next appears in ELEGY opposite Sir Ben Kingsley.