The second Jaeger-LeCoultre Prize to Latin Cinema, which honors an outstanding figure in Latin cinema at the San Sebastian Film Festival will be awarded to the Spanish actress Paz Vega. The award, in its inaugural edition, went to the actor, director and producer Gael García Bernal.
Acclaimed major international actress Paz Vega has starred in dozens of films in Europe, the USA and Latin America. After her debut role as Laura for six seasons of Siete vidas (Seven Lives, Telecinco), one of Spain’s longest running sitcoms, the Seville-born actress made her leap to the silver screen, attracting the attention of European audiences in 2001 on winning the Goya for Best New Actress and the prestigious Chopard Trophy for Female Revelation of the Year at the Cannes International Film Festival for her role as Lucía in Julio Medem’s Lucía y el sexo (Sex and Lucia). Also in 2001, Paz starred in Sólo mia (Only Mine) by Javier Balaguer and was nominated for yet another Goya, this time for Best Actress, marking a milestone in the history of the respected Spanish awards for being the first time an actress had been nominated twice for different roles at one edition.
In 2002, Paz appeared in Hable con ella (Talk to Her) by Pedro Almodóvar. The film received the Academy Award for the Best Original Screenplay and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, among others. In 2013, she repeated her collaboration with the celebrated Spanish director in Los amantes pasajeros (I’m So Excited). In 2003, she brought life to Vicente Aranda’s Carmen, based on the homonymous novel by Prosper Mérimée. Since Carmen, Paz has played several emblematic characters in European History, ranging from Saint Teresa of Avila in Teresa by Ray Loriga (2007) to Maria Callas in Olivier Dahan’s Grace, opening film of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and Mary of Hungary in Emperor (2017), opposite Adrien Brody.
After starring in the romantic comedy produced by Columbia Pictures, Di que sí (Say I Do, 2004), she caught the attention of James L. Brooks, who invited her to co-star in Spanglish opposite Adam Sandler as Flor, a role for which she won the Best New Actress Award from the Phoenix Film Critics Society. Since Spanglish, Paz Vega has been directed by acclaimed filmmakers such as Frank Miller, Danis Tanovic, Oliver Parker, Michelle Placido, and the Taviani brothers, having shared the bill with actors including Scarlett Johansson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Andie McDowell, Eva Mendes, Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Christopher Lee and Morgan Freeman, to name but a few. She also starred in Jada Pinkett Smith’s directorial debut, The Human Contract (2008), produced by Will Smith.
Paz Vega has performed in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian. She recently appeared in the romantic comedies All Roads Lead to Rome, opposite Sarah Jessica Parker and Claudia Cardinale, Big Time in Hollywood FL, alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. and Michael Madsen, produced by Ben Affleck, and Beautiful and Twisted opposite Candice Bergen and Rob Lowe, the last two for American TV. In 2016, Paz starred in the new comedy by the Mexican director Manolo Caro, La vida inmoral de la pareja ideal (The Immoral Life of the Ideal Couple), and was the Spanish voice of the campaign for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, alongside Uma Thurman and Juliette Binoche, who respectively provided the English and French voices. She also played the lead part in the 8-episode series for Spain’s hugely popular Telecinco channel, Perdóname (Forgive me).
Paz Vega has come back to Spain after fourteen years based in the United States. In spite of living in Los Angeles, Paz Vega has remained faithful to her Spanish and European roots. The region of Andalusia and the cities of Seville and Malaga have repeatedly recognized her tireless work to represent her native region and city all over the world. Paz Vega has received the Medal of Andalusia, the City of Seville Medal, the Province of Seville Gold Medal and, more recently, the Malaga Sur Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 edition of the Malaga Film Festival. She has also served as Jury Member at multiple international festivals, including the prestigious Orizzonti section at the Venice International Film Festival (2015).