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Penélope Cruz is nominated again for an Oscar — this time for best supporting actress for her work in the acclaimed Woody Allen film Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

If she does win on Sunday, Cruz should be thrilled to receive the statuette from Javier Bardem, her compatriot and partner in Allen’s romantic comedy, who gets the honor for winning best supporting actor last year for No Country for Old Men.

Cruz, the only Spanish actress ever nominated for an Oscar, has now done it twice. In 2007, she got a best actress nod for her work in Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver.

She is also one of few Hispanics among this year’s Oscar nominees, quite the change since two years ago when she was one of more than a dozen Spaniards and Latin Americans nominated.

Chilean-born U.S.-raised Claudio Miranda is nominated for cinematography for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army got a nod for achievement in makeup but he’s not up for the award.

Though Cruz is the favorite for the Oscar, rivals Viola Davis (Doubt) and Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler) are also seen as possible winners. The other two nominees are Amy Adams (Doubt) and Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

Cruz, who has gotten rave reviews for her character as the sexy and wild ex wife in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, has already won best supporting actress from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Filmed in the Catalan city that gives the movie its name and starring also Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall, Vicky Cristina Barcelona follows two friends on vacation in Spain that fall in love for a painter without considering that his ex wife, with whom he had a stormy relationship, will reappear in his life.

Bardem was not nominated but success continues to follow these two great actors who, according to reports, are also romantically involved, though neither of them has confirmed it.

They hadn’t worked together since Bigas Luna’s Jamón, Jamón, (A Tale of Ham and Passion) a 1992 drama full of eroticism and violence filmed when Bardem and Cruz were two unknown young actors.

Since then, their careers took different routes until they crossed paths again in Allen’s film.

Cruz went on to appear in Almodóvar’s Carne Trémula (Live Flesh), Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother), and the upcoming Los Abrazos Rotos (Broken Embraces.)

Her jump to Hollywood hasn’t been that glorious appearing in an array of B List films with titles such Blow, All the Pretty Horses and Vanilla Sky. But her luck changed with Volver, which reunited her with Spanish cinema.

Bardem last year scored the first Oscar for a Spanish actor for his role as an unscrupulous psychopath in the Cohen brothers’ No Country for Old Men.

He’s known for playing characters in extreme situations that include a quadriplegic fighting for his right to die (Mar Adentro/The Sea Inside) and a sensual bullfighter that fights naked under the moon’s gaze (Jamón Jamón.)

In 2001, he was nominated for a best actor Oscar for his starring role as Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas in Julian Schnabel’s Before Night Falls.

Source: NY Daily News

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