My current Top 5

My current Top 5

7/13/2011

Number 43: Penélope Cruz as Maria Elena in "Vicky Christina Barcelona" (Best Supporting Actress Ranking)

Penélope Cruz must have been very happy when the Academy realized that Kate Winslet was a leading actress in The Reader and so made way for her to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the temperamental, hysteric and passionate Maria Elena in Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona.

Penélope Cruz’s performance is one of those that saves a rather boring and lifeless movie with an enormous amount of energy and scene-stealing. It takes a great deal of time before Penélope Cruz enters the movie for the first time and her screen-time is surprisingly limited – but she still the saving grace of the story, creating an unpredictable and wild character who is undoubtedly the highpoint of this movie.

Before Maria Elena enters the story of Vicky Christina Barcelona, her character has been mentioned quite a few times already and evoked all kind of expectations – Maria Elena is supposed to be wild and a little bit dangerous, even violent and all other kinds of characteristics that in a movie like this would be called ‘passionate’. And Penélope Cruz manages to match all these expectations – but her Maria Elena is also more. There is something magnetic about her, she’s the kind of woman people would love to be around.

Penélope Cruz’s Maria Elena is not only temperamental and unpredictable – she is also honest and likeable.  The biggest achievement of Penélope Cruz is that she did not turn Maria Elena into some kind of diva – when she is looking at Christina’s photos and tells her that they are wonderful, you just believe her because you know she is serious. At the beginning, Maria Elena may look at Christina with an expression that says that this young, naive girl from America isn’t even worth a fight but later she finds a way to communicate with her.

Maria Elena is not a very well written character – she’s there to point out the obvious, to make the other characters re-think their own actions and thoughts but she is never really given the chance to become her own person. So Penélope Cruz deserves some extra points for making her such a force of nature on the screen and brining the whole movie to another level whenever she appears.

It’s a very realistic performance of a certain type of woman that Penélope Cruz brings to live beautifully.

7 comments:

dinasztie said...

I totally agree. I think she deserved to win though Tomei is some competition for her plus Adams and Davis were excellent as well. Only Henson was nothing.

mrripley said...

Loved her the line reading "geee-nee-us",i just love the garden scene.

Louis Morgan said...

I was not to impressed by her here.

hey deanie said...

I'm glad Penelope Cruz has an Oscar, but I don't think it should've been for this. At all. Rebecca Hall is my choice for Best Actress this year – it's a pity she didn't get more recognition – and Marisa Tomei certainly should've won BSA!

Anonymous said...

Love her as an actress,love her in this movie.I was so happy when she deservedly won for this,and am sure this performance will age fantastically.

Anonymous said...

At first I really hated her for taking away Amy Adam's Oscar but now I think she was good and I still don't think she deserved it but she's not as undeserving as I thought when I first saw her performance a week after she won.

joe burns said...

At first, I liked her more, but after rewatching the film about two months ago, I found her work to not be enough to save this film- It's too dull and unexciting and Cruz's role is so small and her performance/character is so too little too late to really spice up the film and bring it to another level the way you would want her too. Tomei or Rosemarie Dewitt or even Debra Winger should have won.