MADRID (AP) — Spain gushed with pride Monday over Penelope Cruz's Oscar for best supporting actress.
Among the most effusive was two-time Oscar-winning director Pedro Almodovar, who praised Cruz as having a history of "jumping head first and without a parachute, and taking on very risky roles."
"I cried with joy when I heard her name after the classic line 'and the Oscar goes to,'" Almodovar said in a statement.
Cruz was previously nominated for an Oscar in 2007 as best actress in the Almodovar film "Volver" (Return) and will star in an Almodovar film opening next month, entitled "Los Abrazos Rotos" (Broken Embraces).
She is the first Spanish actress to win an Oscar. She was honored Sunday in Los Angeles for her role as the hot-tempered and erratic ex-wife of an artist played by Javier Bardem in Woody Allen's movie "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."
Bardem last year won an Oscar as best supporting actor for his role as a hit man with bad hair in "No Country for Old Men."
Madrid newspapers delayed publication of their first editions for Monday morning in anticipation of Cruz's winning a statuette, and she was on the cover of all of them. Cruz, 34, is from a Madrid suburb.
Cruz's triumph even managed to get the government and opposition, regularly at each other's throats, to agree on something.
Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said the prize "places Spanish actors and actresses at the highest level."
And conservative opposition leader Mariano Rajoy sent Cruz a telegram congratulating her.
The Oscar, he wrote to Cruz, pays tribute to "your natural talent and your effort, and continued sacrifice in a job well done."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.