Monday, February 23, 2009

Penélope Cruz: From worst to first

Movie critics reject the idea of giving acting Oscars based on career achievement instead of just the one performance an actor is nominated for in any given year.
As a movie fan, I don’t have a problem with the idea per se. There should be a balancing act. Both should be considered.
When Academy voters choose a relative unknown on the basis of one movie, their picks sometimes come back to haunt them. If only they could get back that best actor Oscar awarded to Roberto Benigni in 1998 or the best supporting actor Oscar given to Cuba Gooding Jr. in 1996.
Oscar voters sometimes find out later that an actor they thought at first was cute is pretty annoying or another actor they thought was talented was simply playing himself.
That brings me to Penélope Cruz, who won the best supporting actress Oscar at last night’s awards ceremony for her work in Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”
She’s great in her native Spanish language in the films of Pedro Almodóvar or movies like “Open Your Eyes.”
But for some reason she can be horrible in English language movies. Maybe she’s bad at picking Hollywood scripts.
She was nominated for worst actress by the Golden Raspberry Awards, or Razzies, in 2001 for three films: “Blow,” “Captain Corelli's Mandolin” and “Vanilla Sky.” She lost to Mariah Carey for “Glitter.”
When it comes to the Academy Award for best supporting actress another factor comes into play: looks.
The award these days often goes to attractive young starlets. (Rachel Weisz, Renée Zellweger, Jennifer Connelly, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina Jolie, etc.) Cruz certainly fits that bill.

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