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Penelope Cruz wins best supporting actress Oscar

SPANISH actress Penelope Cruz won her first Oscar yesterday as best supporting actress for her performance as tempestuous artist Maria Elena in Woody Allen's romantic comedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

"I dedicate this to all the actors from my country," Cruz said in Spanish as she accepted the award.

Born in Madrid to a hairdresser and an auto mechanic, Cruz, 34, got her big break in the Spanish film industry in 1992 with "Jamon Jamon."

She captured the attention of Oscar-winning director Pedro Almodovar, who cast her in various movies including the 2006 film "Volver," which earned her a best actress Oscar nomination for her turn as a woman who kills her abusive husband.

That nod made Cruz the first Spanish woman to be nominated for a best actress Academy Award for a non-English speaking role.

Cruz's Oscar win yesterday follows a British BAFTA award and other US critics awards this season for her performance in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" as the fiery ex-wife to a bohemian artist portrayed by Javier Bardem who has wooed a pair of young American women vacationing Spain.


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