MADRID (AFP) - Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, who has cast Penelope Cruz in several of his films, Monday hailed her Oscar win as a "triumph of talent." "I cried with happiness when I heard her name after the classic 'and the Oscar goes to'" he said. "The Oscar for Penelope is a triumph of talent, ambition, tenacity and an extraordinary gift for comedy," Almodovar, who has himself won two Academy Awards, said in a statement. Cruz became the first Spanish actress to win an Academy Award when she took the Oscar late Sunday for her performance in the Woody Allen comedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." Almodovar said it was a deserved reward for "the courage of an actress who dives in head first and without a parachute, taking on very risky roles." Almodovar and Cruz have a collaboration that has lasted more than a decade, with such films as "Live Flesh," "All About My Mother," and "Volver," for which the 34-year-old actress picked up an Oscar nomination in 2006. Their latest work together, "Broken Embraces," is due out in Spain next month.