Penelope Cruz was honored Wednesday by France’s culture minister who called her a “great European actress” and proclaimed her a knight in the Order of Arts and Letters.
Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres praised in particular her international movie career which includes roles in French, English, Italian and her native Spanish.
“It’s France’s role to be the ardent defender of cultural diversity and to recognize those who extend, with their talent, the culture of their country,” said the minister. “I’m happy to have honored this great European actress.”
Cruz, in Paris to promote her new movie, “Bandidas,” received the minister’s accolades with blushing modesty.
“I’m not sure that I deserve it, but I will do my best so that you won’t regret it,” Cruz said during the ceremony at the Culture Ministry.
The minister cited “Bandidas” as an example of Cruz’ ability to work with a diverse cast of international talent. The movie, a Western about two female outlaws set in 19th century Mexico, was written and produced by French filmmaker Luc Besson.
The film co-stars Salma Hayek, who was present at the ceremony and gave Cruz a congratulatory hug.
Cruz rocketed to international stardom with the success of Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s Oscar-winning “All About My Mother.” Hollywood came courting, giving her starring roles in “Blow,” “All the Pretty Horses,” “Vanilla Sky” and “Sahara.”
“Volver,” her most recent collaboration with Almodovar, is expected in movie theaters later this year.