Let no press or industry person overlook the simple fact that for weeks and weeks Hollywood Elsewhere stood resolute and alone against the stiff winds of seeming indifference…the only name-brand columnist who stood up and waved weekly flags for the beautiful Penelope Cruz and her deeply rooted performance in Parallel Mothers. Who else consistently stood hard and faithful as much as I? Who else single-handedly generated a Cruz bandwagon on a week-by-week, never-say-die basis?

All the other award-season Yodas and semi-dispassionate handicappers were either Doubting Thomases or cautious fence-sitters…damp-finger-to-the-wind equivocators. If you want to make it in this business you have to have heart.

From “Cruz, Cruz, Penelope Cruz, For Heaven’s Sake,” posted on 1.29.22:

A few days ago Santa Barbara Film Festival honcho Roger Durling posted a chat with Parallel Mothers star and Best Actress contender Penelope Cruz. I meant to post it right away, but I let other stuff overwhelm and I failed to muster the discipline…my deepest apologies.

But this really has to be said and without equivocation to all Academy members: Penelope Cruz gave the deepest, richest, most emotionally fulfilling lead female performance of 2021…by far. Way, way above the realm of her illustrious competitors (Kidman, Gaga, Stewart, Chastain, Colman). You simply can’t watch Parallel Mothers and not come to this very conclusion. It’s not possible — not if you’re honest with yourself.

Remember that Penelope has already won 2021 Best Actress awards from the National Society of Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the San Diego Film Critics Society as well as the Venice Film Festival’s Best Actress award last September.

I’m going to stick this post to the top of Hollywood Elsewhere this weekend, and there’s nothing in it for me ad-wise. The Sony Classics team has been minimally responsive to my words of praise over the last two or three months. This is just me, my action…Penelope Cruz is the absolute soul mama of 2021 Best Actress contenders.

Durling: “This is the greatest performance by an actress of 2021 and that she needs to be nominated! Nomination voting is happening as we speak and we need to get Penelope among the five! Listen to her answer the last question (23:25) about working with Pedro Almodovar, on the last day of shooting…so heartfelt.”