Penelope Cruz Receives Donostia Award at San Sebastian Film Festival

Penelope Cruzis being heralded in her home country…

The 45-year-old Oscar-winning Spanish actress has received San Sebastian Film Festival‘s biggest honor, the Donostia Award.

Penelope Cruz

Cruz was given the prize — which had been announced in May — over the weekend during a gala ceremony in a surprise presentation by her close friend, U2lead singerBono, who praised Cruz for her film roles and her off-screen concern for humanity.

“Penélope’s life on the screen fascinates me because it is a family drama,” he said. “Artists like us, like me, get lost in our own selves. Penelope gets lost in others. That’s why we get lost in her.” 

Upon accepting the award, Cruz spoke out against domestic violence against women in Spain and around the world.

“So far this year, 44 women have been murdered by gender-based violence in our country, and since 2003 more than a thousand. How many women are being murdered around the world?”, she asked. “I hope that when a woman finds the superhuman strength she needs to tell what she is going through in such a situation, she will be heard at first and not when it is too late.”

Cruz dedicated the award to her parents, her children and husband, fellow actor Javier Bardem, and three directors she has worked with: Pedro AlmodóvarBigas Lunaand Fernando Trueba.

Cruz is the youngest actress to receive the Donostia prize, three of which are awarded each year.

Greek director Costa-Gavrasand Canadian actor Donald Sutherlandwere named winners of the honor earlier in the week at the festival in the northern Spanish seaside resort town. Cruz won the best actress Oscar in 2008 for her role in Woody Allen‘s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, becoming the first Spanish actress to win an Academy Award.

Trailer Released for Cruz’s “The Queen of Spain”

Prepare to be royally impressed by Penélope Cruz

The official trailer has been released for Fernando Trueba’s The Queen of Spain, starring the 42-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress.

Penélope Cruz

Ricardo Mario, Darin Bas, and Antonio Fernandez Resines also star in this film about Spanish actress Macarena Granada, who returns home to Spain in the mid-1950s having enjoyed a successful career in Hollywood.

She is to play Queen Isabella the First of Castille in a prestigious period drama. At the studio she meets her former friends and colleagues, falls in love with a handsome crew member, leads a madcap expedition to free a resistance fighter and proves herself to be truly regal during an encounter with the fascist leader Francisco Franco, whom she despises.

The Queen of Spain will premiere on February 13 as part of the Berlinale Special Series at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Mendes Invited to Join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Sergio Mendes will soon be an Oscar voter…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has extended invitations to join the organization to 322 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures, including the 74-year-old Brazilian musician.

Sergio Mendes

Mendes was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2012 as co-writer of the song “Real In Rio” from the animated film Rio.

Mendes, who has over 55 releases and plays bossa nova heavily crossed with jazz and funk, also lent his talents to the Rio 2 soundtrack.

In addition to Mendes, this year’s class includes Fernando Trueba.

The 60-year-old Spanish filmmaker won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with Belle Époque in 1994.

He was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 84th Academy Awards. It’s the first nomination for a Spanish full-length animated film.

Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2015.

New members will be welcomed into the Academy at an invitation-only reception in September.

Here’s a look at the Latino invitees in 2015:

Casting Directors
Luis San Narciso – “The Skin I Live In,” “The Sea Inside”

Directors
Fernando Trueba – “Chico & Rita,” “Belle Epoque”

Documentary
João Moreira Salles – “Santiago,” “Entreatos (Intermissions)”

Makeup Artists and Hairstylists
Johnny Villanueva – “The Gambler,” “The Fighter”

Music
Sergio Mendes – “Rio 2,” “Rio”

Sound
Odin Benitez – “Frozen,” “Silver Linings Playbook”
Martín Hernández – “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “Biutiful”
Thomas Varga – “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “The Immigrant”

Visual Effects
Edwin Rivera – “22 Jump Street,” “Moneyball”

Writers
Armando Bo – “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “Biutiful”
Álex de la Iglesia – “El Crimen Perfecto,” “The Day of the Beast”
Jorge Guerricaechevarría – “Cell 211,” “The Day of the Beast”

Spain Selects Trueba’s “Vivir es Facil con los Ojos Cerrados” as Its Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Language Film

Does David Trueba‘s latest film have what it takes to earn Oscar glory?

The Spanish Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences seems to think so, selecting the 45-year-old Spanish director’s Vivir es Facil con los Ojos Cerrados as its entry for best foreign language film at next year’s Academy Awards.

David Trueba

Trueba’s film, chosen Thursday the nation’s film acaedmy, tells the true story of an English-language teacher from Spain who traveled to the southern province of Almeria in 1966 to try to meet late Beatles star John Lennon, who was staying there.

The movie takes its name from the lyrics of the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” which Lennon began writing in Almeria.

The U.S. film academy will select finalists for the Oscars in January, with the awards announced a month later.

Spain has won four Oscars for best foreign language film. Trueba’s brother, Fernando Trueba, won the category in 1994 for Belle Epoque. The country’s other winners include José Luis Garci’s Begin the Beguine (1982), Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother (1999) and Alejandro Amenábar’s The Sea Inside.

In all, Spain has earned 18 Best Foreign Language Film nominations since the launch of the category in 1956, with The Sea Inside serving as the country’s last nominated (and eventual Oscar-winning) film.

“Blancanieves” Earns 18 Goya Award Nominations

Pablo Berger‘s silent black-and-white reinterpretation of the Snow White fable, Blancanieves, is this awards season’s Goya darling.  

The 49-year-old Spanish director’s film, hailed as an homage to 1920s European silent films, leads the pack with 18 nominations for the Spanish Film Academy‘s Goya Awards, Spain’s equivalent to the Oscars.

Blancanieves

Blancanieves, which recently debuted in the U.S. at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, received nominations in the best picture, best director, best original screenplay and best editing, best original music and best original song categories.

In addition, six of the films stars earned nods, including Maribel Verdú in the Best Actress category, Daniel Giménez Cacho in the Best Actor field and Macarena García in the Best Actress Revelation category.

“We are very, very happy. We ran for 18 possible nominations and we got 18,” said Blancanieves producer Ibon Cormenzana. “We’ve sold to many territories and in two weeks we’ll release in theaters in France. I think we’ve benefited from the success of the The Artist.”

Meanwhile, Alberto Rodriguez’s Unit 7 earned 16 nominations, Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible received 14 nods and Fernando Trueba’s The Artist and The Model picked up 13 nominations.

The Impossible’s Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor will compete for lead actress and supporting actor thanks to a change in the Spanish Academy’s rules that allows non-Spanish speaking actors who participate in Spanish productions to compete for acting honors. That translates to Watts vying for the lead acting nod against Verdu’s evil step-mother from Blancanieves, Penelope Cruz from Volver a nacer and Aida Folch‘s muse-like performance in The Artist and the Model.

Blancanieves’ Cacho, Model’s Jean Rochefort, Unit’s Antonio de la Torre and veteran actor Jose Sacristan from The Dead Man and Being Happy will compete for the lead actor statue.

In Spain, Bayona’s film has broken box office records, where it is just about to hit the 42 million euro mark at the box office.

“Our objective is to sell more than 6 million tickets,” said Impossible producer Ghislain Barrois.

The Spanish academy will dole out the awards on February 17 at a gala ceremony in Madrid.