Penélope Cruz, decked in red, was the honoree at the Museum of Modern Art’s 2021 Film Benefit this week, when the proceedings returned to in-person attendance for eye-grabbing stars of the silver screen. Chanel, for which Cruz has been a brand ambassador since 2018, collaborated with MoMA on the event to raise money for MoMA’s Department of Film, which dates back to 1935 and cares for more than 30,000 films and 1.5 million film stills.
The gala featured tributes to Cruz delivered by Rebecca Hall, Rosalía, Ricky Martin, and MoMA’s chief curator of film, Rajendra Roy, along with pre-recorded tributes from Pedro Almodóvar and Lupita Nyong’o. The museum also screened the new Cruz-starring, Almodóvar-directed Parrallel Mothers as part of “The Contenders,” a series for which the film department picks movies that seem bound for more attention as award season heats up.
In a press release announcing Cruz as the honoree last month, Roy, the curator, said, “Penélope Cruz has mesmerized cinema audiences since 1992 as an artist who is as compelling in action-adventures as she is in auteur driven pictures. Perhaps most beloved for her collaborations with Pedro Almodovar, her smashing performance in his film Parallel Mothers cements her status as an artist of global stature. The first Spanish actress to be nominated for and win an Academy Award, Penélope Cruz is truly in a category all her own.”
Previous MoMA Film Benefit honorees include George Clooney, Laura Dern, Martin Scorsese, Julianne Moore, Tom Hanks, Cate Blanchett, Alfonso Cuarón, Tilda Swinton, Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodóvar, Kathryn Bigelow, Tim Burton, and Baz Luhrmann.