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Penelope Cruz has received San Sebastian Film Festival’s biggest honor, the Donostia Award.
The actress was given the prize — which had been announced in May — on Friday during a gala ceremony in a surprise presentation by her close friend, U2 lead singer Bono, who praised Cruz for her film roles and her offscreen concern for humanity.
“Penélope’s life on the screen fascinates me because it is a family drama,” he said. “Artists like us, like me, get lost in our own selves. Penelope gets lost in others. That’s why we get lost in her.”
Upon accepting the award, Cruz spoke out against domestic violence against women in Spain and around the world.
“So far this year, 44 women have been murdered by gender-based violence in our country, and since 2003 more than a thousand. How many women are being murdered around the world?”, she asked. “I hope that when a woman finds the superhuman strength she needs to tell what she is going through in such a situation, she will be heard at first and not when it is too late.”
Cruz dedicated the award to her parents, her children and husband, fellow actor Javier Bardem, and three directors she has worked with: Pedro Almodóvar, Bigas Luna and Fernando Trueba.
Cruz is the youngest actress to receive the Donostia prize, three of which are awarded each year.
Greek director Costa-Gavras and Canadian actor Donald Sutherland were named winners of the honor earlier in the week at the festival in the northern Spanish seaside resort town.
Cruz won the best actress Oscar in 2008 for her role in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, becoming the first Spanish actress to win an Academy Award.
The San Sebastian Film Festival ends Saturday.
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