2008

Cruz wore a John Galliano-designed Dior to the Oscars. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

Penélope Cruz has two contender films this season. Does that mean more red carpet gowns? Her adept portrayal of Javier Bardem's psychotically sexy ex in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" has already earned her a supporting actress Golden Globe nomination. And there's a smattering of buzz that her surprisingly layered turn as a student who becomes the erotic obsession of an infamous womanizer professor-literary critic ( Ben Kingsley) in "Elegy" may also earn her an Oscar nod.

The possibility that Cruz may walk several award-season carpets has got to be making the major fashion designers drool. Once signed exclusively to Ralph Lauren (she wore RL to the 2000 and 2001 Oscars), the Spanish-born beauty often gravitates to Latin designers such as Oscar de la Renta or dresses with a Latin flair, such as her Globes 2007 black lace Chanel gown by Karl Lagerfeld worn with Chopard earrings.

In 2007, she wore an Atelier Versace pale peach chiffon gown with Chopard earrings and a Swarovski clutch to the Oscars. Her hair was by then-hot Oribe. But at the 2005 Oscars, she opted for a flatteringly feminine yellow gown by Oscar de la Renta.

The hourglass-figured, raven-haired actress doesn't just wear designer clothes. She also has a hand in designing her own ready-to-wear collection (with her sister) for the Spanish retailer Mango, which has a boutique on 3rd Street in Santa Monica.

So far, Dior looks like a safe bet for Cruz at the 2009 Oscars. She was spotted at this year's Oscars in a black strapless feathered Dior designed by John Galliano. Though she wore two of her friend L'Wren Scott's elegant, simple black creations to the recent Berlin Film Festival, it's a given that she will spotlight a bigger fashion house for the Globes, likely for the Screen Actors Guild and definitely for the Oscars.

Elizabeth Snead writes the Dish Rag blog for TheEnvelope.com.