'Pastorela' Tops Mexico's Ariel Awards

10:45 PM PST 06/02/2012 by John Hecht

Emilio Portes' Christmas comedy won in seven categories, including best picture and best director.

MEXICO CITY -- Christmas came early for Emilio Portes' sophomore feature Pastorela, as the holiday comedy won best picture and director Saturday evening at Mexico's 54th Ariel Awards ceremony. 

The Patron production, released in the U.S. last year by Pantelion, nabbed seven awards, including best original screenplay for writer-director Portes.

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Also coming up big was Everardo Gout's high-octane thriller Dias de Gracia (Days of Grace), a furiously paced portrait of violence in contemporary Mexico. Days of Grace garnered eight statuettes, with best first work going to Gout and a best actor nod for rising star Tenoch Huerta.

Gerardo Naranjo's actioner Miss Bala, also in the running for best picture and director, walked away empty handed despite having been selected as Mexico's foreign-language Oscar submission.

In the Ibero-American category, best picture went to Agusti Villaronga's Catalan-language wartime saga Pa Negre (Black Bread), winner of nine of Spain's Goya Awards last year.

Tatiana Huezo's El Lugar Mas Pequeno (The Tiniest Place) won the Ariel for best documentary. A big hit on the festival circuit, the film focuses on a village that was decimated during El Salvador's civil war of the 1980s.

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During the ceremony, the academy paid homage to veteran actor Pedro Armendariz, who passed away late last year. In one of his final performances of a career that spanned five decades, Armendariz appeared in the Will Ferrell vehicle, Casa de mi Padre

Winners List:

BEST PICTURE

Pastorela

DIRECTOR

Pastorela (Emilio Portes)

ACTRESS

Martha (Magda Vizcaino)

ACTOR

Dias de Gracia (Tenoch Huerta)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Dias de Gracia (Eileen Yanez)

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Dias de Gracia (Carlos Cobos)

FIRST WORK

Dias de Gracia

DOCUMENTARY

El Lugar Mas Pequeno

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Pastorela

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Dias de Gracia

EDITING

Dias de Gracia

ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Dias de Gracia

SOUND

Dias de Gracia

ART DESIGN

Dias de Gracia

COSTUME DESIGN

Pastorela

MAKEUP

Pastorela

SPECIAL EFFECTS

Salvando al Soldado Perez

VISUAL EFFECTS

Pastorela

ANIMATED SHORT

Prita Noire

DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Yuban

FICTION SHORT

Mari Pepa

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