Penelope Cruz to Get Gotham Award Tribute

There’s been lots of chatter lately over Penelope Cruz’s steamy kiss with Scarlet Johansson in the new Woody Allen film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which opened in New York last Friday—enough chatter that we almost missed the following tidbit yesterday in The Hollywood Reporter: Ms. Cruz, who’s also enjoying critical praise for her role in Elegy, Isabel Coixet’s adaptation of an acclaimed Philip Roth novel, will receive a Gotham Award Tribute at the 18th Annual Gotham Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on Dec. 2.

“Penelope’s body of work embodies what is exciting and vibrant about filmmaking today, in particular independent filmmaking,” said Michelle Byrd, executive director of IFP, the national independent filmmakers organization that presents the awards, in a statement. “Her performances working with internationally acclaimed directors and her choice of roles are dynamic, vivacious and varied.”

Billed as one of the first major honors of the awards season, the Gotham Awards sometimes offers a sneak peek into which independent films might be Oscar contenders—stars from past Gotham winners like Juno (2007), Half Nelson (2006) and Junebug (2005) went on to receive Oscar nominations and awards.

Last year, tributes went to Javier Bardem, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Roger Ebert, Mark Friedberg, Mira Nair and Jonathan Sehring. IFP will announce the additional 2008 tribute recipients next week and unveil a full list of awards nominees on Oct. 20.