The Santa Barbara Film Festival said Thursday that newly minted Oscar nominee Penélope Cruz has been chosen to receive the Montecito Award at the festival’s 37th edition next month.
The honor will be bestowed during a ceremony March 8 that will include an in-person conversation with Cruz, who was nominated last week in the Best Actress category for her role in Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers. It’s the fourth Oscar nom for Cruz, who won the Supporting Actress Oscar in 2009 for Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Cruz now joins a roster of SBIFF honorees that includes her husband and fellow Oscar nominee Javier Bardem, who is getting the Maltin Modern Master Award with his Being the Ricardos star Nicole Kidman; Bardem is also a past recipient of the Montecito Award. Other Oscar nominees headed to the beach city for fete duties at the annual awards-season stop are Kristen Stewart, Ariana DeBose, Troy Kotsur, Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Parallel Mothers, which premiere at the Venice Film Festival where Cruz won the best actress award, centers on Janis (Cruz) and Ana (Milena Smit), both single and pregnant by accident. Janis, middle-aged, doesn’t regret it and she is exultant. Ana, an adolescent, is scared, repentant and traumatized. Janis tries to encourage her while they move like sleepwalkers along the hospital corridors. The few words they exchange in these hours will create a close link between the two, changing their lives in a decisive way.
Sony Pictures Classics released the pic in U.S. theaters on December 24.
“In the most complex role written by the master Almodóvar, Penélope Cruz delivers the best performance of her career and a master class in calibration and detailed acting,” Santa Barbara executive director Roger Durling said. “In my book, she’s one of the great performers of our time.”
Past Montecito recipients also include Amanda Seyfried, Lupita Nyong’o, Melissa McCarthy, Saoirse Ronan, Isabelle Huppert, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet and Naomi Watts.
The Santa Barbara Film Festival will run in-person March 2-12.