All eyes were on Penélope Cruz on Friday, March 2, as she stepped out for the 43rd César Awards in Paris. The 43-year-old was the recipient of the honorary César Award at France’s Academy of Arts and Techniques of Cinema’s ceremony — which is the French equivalent to the Oscars.
On the red carpet, the mom-of-two spoke about receiving the prestigious award. "It is a huge honor. I feel really overwhelmed, surprised and shocked. I don't understand why they are giving it to me. It's a really huge honor. I love France. I work here sometimes," she said before showing off her French speaking skills. While speaking to another outlet, Penélope revealed that she planned to give her acceptance speech in French. "I am going to read it in French, my speech and I hope people will understand," she shared.
VIEW GALLERY The Spanish actress was the guest of honor at the César Awards Photo: Rindoff/Charriau/Getty Images
Penélope made history becoming the first Spanish actress to receive the award since it was first presented in 1976. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story actress was appropriately dressed in Versace for her big night. The mom-of-two stunned wearing a strapless cobalt blue gown by the Italian fashion house, which she paired with a matching pashmina and Roger Vivier clutch. Penélope exuded old Hollywood glamour sweeping her dark tresses up into an elegant side 'do to highlight her dazzling diamond earrings. The Loving Pablo star had the support of her husband Javier Bardem at the awards ceremony. The 49-year-old actor looked dapper sporting a white tuxedo jacket.
Leading up to the César Awards, Penélope expressed her excitement over the honor. At the 2018 Goya Awards, she told reporters, including HOLA!, “It’s an honor and an enormous surprise. I didn’t expect it at all. I found out last week and yes, I was very surprised. I’m very happy.”
VIEW GALLERY Javier Bardem was on hand to support his wife on her big night Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Alain Terzian, the president of the Academy of Arts and Techniques of Cinema, called (via Variety) the Oscar-winning actress a “muse of great filmmakers, a radiant Latin beauty.” He added, “Penelope Cruz has the talent to shine in international productions as much as in [smaller] films, whether [she’s working] for Ridley Scott, Rob Marshall, Kenneth Branagh, Sergio Castellitto, Fernando Trueba or Asghar Farhadi, with whom she has just wrapped Everybody Knows (Todos Lo Saben), which will come out in May.”
Penélope followed in the footsteps of American actor George Clooney with her latest honor. Amal Clooney’s husband was the recipient of the César Award last year. Michael Douglas, Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, Jude Law and other prominent Hollywood stars are among previous recipients of France's national film award.