Best Supporting Actress Oscar Academy Award Nomination Penelope Cruz as Maria Elena in the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Penelope Cruz accepts the Oscar for Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (The Weinstein Company) during the live ABC Telecast of the 81st Annual Academy Awards from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA Sunday, February 22, 2009.

"Has anybody ever fainted here? Because I might be the first one. Thank you so much to the Academy. I want to share this with my fellow nominees and with the amazing ensemble of actors that I had the privilege to work with in this movie."

"I grew up in a place called Alcobendas, where this was not a very realistic dream. And I, always on the night of the Academy Awards, I stay up to watch the show and I always felt that this was, this ceremony was a moment of unity for the world because art, in any form, is and has been and will always be our universal language and we should do everything we can, everything we can, to protect its survival."

Penelope Cruz portrays the fiery Maria Elena, a divorced woman still locked in a complex relationship with her ex-husband.

Best Supporting Actress Oscar Academy Award Nomination Penelope Cruz as Maria Elena in Vicky Cristina Barcelona

This is the second Academy Award Oscar nomination for Penelope Cruz.

Penelope Cruz was previously nominated for her leading role in the movie "Volver" (2006).

When American friends Vicky and Cristina meet a charismatic Spanish artist while staying in Barcelona, they agree to fly with him to Oviedo, where Cristina and Juan Antonio begin an affair and the soon-to-be-married Vicky wonders if she has chosen the right future.

Their romantic idyll takes a dramatic turn, however, with the arrival of Maria Elena, the painter's tempestuous ex-wife.

Penelope Cruz

Academy Award nominee Penelope 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.

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 Penelope 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.

Penelope starred opposite Tom Cruise in the erotic thriller 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.

Penelope’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. Penelope also co-stared with Matthew McConaughey and William H. Macy as Dr. Eva Rojas in the action packed film SAHARA.

In 2006, Penelope 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. Penelope’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.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Woody Allen's breezy new romantic comedy is about two young American women and their amorous escapades in Barcelona, one of the most romantic cities in the world.

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) are best friends, but have completely different attitudes towards love. Vicky is sensible and engaged to a respectable young man. Cristina is sexually and emotionally uninhibited, perpetually searching for a passion that will sweep her off her feet.

When Judy (Patricia Clarkson) and Mark (Kevin Dunn), distant relatives of Vicky, offer to host them for a summer in Barcelona, the two of them eagerly accept: Vicky wants to spend her last months as a single woman doing research for her Masters, and Cristina is looking for a change of scenery to flee the psychic wreckage of her last breakup.

One night at an art gallery, Cristina, true to form, instantly locks eyes on the most intense and provocative man in the room, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), a handsome painter. Cristina is only more intrigued when Judy whispers that Juan Antonio had such an explosive relationship with his ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) that one of them tried to kill the other. Later that night, when Vicky and Cristina are having dinner, Juan Antonio approaches their table with a brazen proposition: fly with him for a weekend trip to the provincial town of Oviedo, where he suggests they explore the cultural wonders, drink fine wine, and make love together. Vicky finds his proposal obnoxious, but Cristina is enchanted by his directness and charisma, and persuades Vicky to accompany her.

During a day of sightseeing and fine dining in Oviedo, Juan Antonio speaks in reverential terms about the magnificent Maria Elena, the great love of his life. Despite their profound connection, their passions ran too high for them to be together. Once, things got so cataclysmic that Maria Elena stabbed him in a mad fit of jealousy.

That night, Juan Antonio invites the girls to his room-an offer Vicky adamantly refuses and Cristina willingly consents to. But just as Cristina and Juan Antonio are about to fall into bed, Cristina becomes ill, and it's Vicky who spends the remainder of the weekend alone with him. Juan Antonio takes Vicky to meet his father and opens his heart about his childhood hopes and his turbulent relationship with Maria Elena. Perceiving a deeper side to him, Vicky gradually sheds her misgivings, and during the romantic night before they leave Oviedo, Vicky and Juan Antonio make love.

After returning to Barcelona, Vicky can't stop thinking about Juan Antonio. Meanwhile he directs his romantic attentions to the available and willing Cristina, who soon moves in with him. When Vicky expresses her disappointment, he points out that as she's engaged, it would cause needless pain for everyone if they continued.

Indeed, Vicky's fiancé Doug (Chris Messina) arrives in Barcelona early, and the two are soon married. As Cristina and Juan Antonio settle into a dreamy life together, one night he is awakened by an alarming phone call-Juan Antonio's ex-wife Maria Elena is at the hospital after a suicide attempt. Returning home with the dazzlingly beautiful and tempestuous Maria Elena, Juan Antonio explains to a stunned Cristina that his she will have to stay with them for a few months, as she has nowhere else to go.

Jealous and suspicious, and subject to wild mood swings, Maria Elena misses no opportunity to bicker with Juan Antonio and put Cristina down. In time, she becomes more relaxed and settles into a warmer relationship with Juan Antonio and even mentors Cristina's pursuit of photography. Maria Elena tells Cristina that she is the "missing ingredient" that allows her to live happily with Juan Antonio. In a transition that is tranquil and natural, the three of them become lovers.

By chance at a party sometime later, Vicky sees Judy kissing Mark's business partner. After Judy tells Vicky that she hasn't been in love with Mark for years, Vicky reveals her feelings for Juan Antonio. Determined to rescue Vicky from her own fate, Judy tries to bring Vicky and Juan Antonio together. Meanwhile, Cristina, as always, is starting to get restless. As the summer draws to a close, Vicky and Cristina learn some hard lessons about love-and about themselves.

Penelope Cruz - Best Supporting Actress as Maria Elena in Vicky Cristina Barcelona