Penélope Cruz burst onto the scene in her native Spain in the early 1990s and quickly established herself as a talent to be reckoned with. A longtime critical darling on the international film circuit, Cruz was a favorite creative muse of famed Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar, who cast the actress in some of his most acclaimed features, including "Live Flesh" (1997) and "All About My Mother" (1999). But it was after she crossed the Atlantic that Cruz truly became a global superstar, thanks to performances in "All the Pretty Horses" (2000), "Blow" (2001) and "Vanilla Sky" (2001), a remake of an earlier film of hers, "Open Your Eyes" (1998). Meanwhile, her highly-publicized off-screen dalliances with some of Hollywood's elite stars like Matt Damon, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Cruise and Javier Bardem only added to her mystique. While she earned her a place among <i>People</i> magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" list in the mid-2000s, as well cultivated her fashionista reputation each time she hit the red carpet in an impeccable gown, Cruz was first and foremost a gifted performer. After garnering her first widespread acclaim for Almodóvar's "Volver" (2006), Cruz won an Academy Award for her comic performance in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008), making her perhaps the most famous actress to make the successful crossover from her native country.