Penelope Cruz to receive SBIFF honor

Actress chosen as outstanding performer of the year

Penelope Cruz -- who's appearing in two current films, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Elegy" -- will be honored as the outstanding performer of the year at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, which runs Jan. 22-Feb.1. Cruz will be presented with the award at the Arlington Theatre on Jan. 31.

"There are few actresses who can today be described as international movie goddesses, and this year, with her exceptional work in 'Elegy' and 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona,' Penelope Cruz has earned that description," SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said.

Cruz was first introduced to American audiences in the Spanish films "Jamon, Jamon" and "Belle Epoque." She frequently works with director Pedro Almodovar, appearing in his films "Live Flesh," "All About My Mother," "Volver," for which she earned a best actress Academy Award nomination, and the upcoming "Los Abrazos Rotos."