Adam of Club Silencio here with a look at my favorite actresses and their distinguishing claims to fame.
If for some unjust reason Penélope Cruz should lose the Supporting Actress Oscar, I know she'll handle it well. Throughout her career she's learned to make the best of a bad situation. Not to say it won't take some time...
It wasn't all that long ago that Penélope was an actress lost in translation. Beautiful and effortless in Spanish; beautiful and trying in English. In short time and with the help of some great directors, Penélope's become a sensational bilingual stunner. I'm convinced it's because of that positive attitude. Even as a nun impregnated by an HIV-positive transvestite, or a teenage prostitute giving birth on public transport, Penélope finds such splendid ways to deal with cinema's most dire debacles.
Penélope's character Maria Elena, her nominated role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, is on the path of self destruction once her lover takes another. But give her some time and that bitter hatred of the world and Scarlett Johansson magically transitions into artistic inspiration and mutual bisexual lust. Penélope's all about learning and personal growth.
"What did they say in art school? They said I was a genius... I'm not talking about talent. I said genius. Gee-nee-us. Gee-nee-us."
Her fruitful collaborations with Pedro Almodóvar have yielded her greatest tragedies, but also her greatest optimism. Penélope's transcendent turn as Raimunda in Volver pits her against all sorts of obstacles as a mother forced to cover the death of her deadbeat husband, cope with the sexual abuses of her past, and deal with the possibility that her dead mother still wants closure. Trying times indeed, but Raimunda turns that tragedy into triumph. She opens her dream business and manages to heal old wounds. "I felt like I knew women like that, and I love that she refuses to be a victim," says Penélope, "I love the dignity that Pedro gave her in the script, and I just wanted to give her that."
Penélope has already completed work on Almodóvar's latest, Broken Embraces, and prepared for the inevitable misery with that same distracting idealism, "I think every day changes you a little bit and makes you learn something new. Now maybe from the outside that change can be seen like a silent thing, but I think we're constantly moving forward, evolving, changing and learning."
Of course she's right. If you can survive Bandidas, you can survive anything. Just give Penélope some time. And the Oscar.