It's all about Penelope Cruz as the Oscar buzz builds for Pedro Almodovar's "Volver"

Penelope Cruz is fully aware of the Oscar talk for her performance in "Volver," and she's tuning it out.

The film unites her for a third time with master director Pedro Almodovar, a fellow Spaniard she describes as family and for whom she has served as an inspiring muse. In "Live Flesh" (1997), she played a prostitute who gives birth on a bus. In "All About My Mother" (1999), she played a pregnant nun with AIDS.

Now, in "Volver," Cruz stars as Raimunda, a working-class wife and mother who deals with everything from whipping up an impromptu lunch for 30 people to stashing away the bloody body of a stabbing victim. She must confront her complex past and re-establish herself, on her own, in the present, reports AP.

She's earthy, sexy, funny and incredibly volatile; it's the performance of her long and varied career. And the buzz is there, whether she wants to hear it or not.

"It's exciting and flattering but I also feel that it's healthier not to expect it," Cruz told The Associated Press while lounging on a couch in her airy, Hollywood Hills home, the two mixed-breed dogs she adopted lying on the floor nearby.

"But I would be lying if I didn't tell you it's exciting, all the things that I'm hearing in a movie that I did with Pedro, who is one of my favorite people in the world," she added. "We've gone through this together and we always look at each other when somebody comes and shows us something `Look, look at this' we look at each other and say, "Let's not think about it."'

Until now, much of the press in the United States about the 32-year-old actress has focused on her high-profile romances with Tom Cruise, whom she was involved with for three years after meeting on the set of "Vanilla Sky" (2001), and Matthew McConaughey, her co-star in the big-budget bomb "Sahara" (2005).

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