Cruz is winning raves for her portrayal of a young mother in "Volver," her third collaboration with Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar.
She said she is not surprised her most emotionally demanding and multi-faceted role to date is in a European movie, since she has made 30 films in Europe and proven herself as an actress there.
"I was ready for this kind of character," she said in New York. "My career here is younger and I think that is a normal process. I don't see anything strange in that."
The "Vanilla Sky" and "Sahara" star also said she hopes "Volver" will inspire other filmmakers to offer her more multi-dimensional roles.
"It's a boost for me in that direction," she said. "I am already noticing in the things that I am reading, that it opens people's minds and imaginations about ... (what I can do.) What I love about Pedro is that he gives you that character before you ever did it. ... He has done great things for my career, giving me that faith."