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Political thriller The Realm was the big winner at Saturday night’s 33rd annual Goya Awards, Spain’s top honors, taking home seven awards including for best director, actor, supporting actor, original script, sound, editing and music.
But it was the feel-good comedy Champions that earned the top prize for best film at the gala celebrated in Seville. Spain’s runaway box-office hit of the last year and its selection to represent the country in the foreign-language Oscar category, Champions tells the story of a professional basketball coach sentenced to train a team of players with intellectual disabilities.
Champions director Javier Fesser hired non-professional actors with real disabilities to star in the film. One of the stars, Jesus Vidal, recevied the night’s prize for best new actor. “Three words come to my mind: inclusion, diversity and visibility,” Vidal said in an emotional acceptance speech. Champions won a third honor, best original song, for “Este es el momento.”
The Realm stars Antonio de la Torre in the story of a corrupt politician facing exposure for his illegal dealings. It was directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, who next heads to the Oscars with his nominated live-action short film Mother.
In an unusual twist, de la Torre was nominated in both the best actor and supporting actor categories. For the best actor nod, he beat out Everybody Knows‘ Javier Bardem, Your Son‘s Jose Coronado and Champions‘ Javier Gutierrez.
Carmen & Lola, a Madrid-set love story between two gypsy women that premiered at the Cannes Quinzaine, won two top awards and early on seemed one of the night’s darlings. Arantxa Echevarria was named best new director, a category that made headlines for having three women nominees this year.
Carmen & Lola co-star Carolina Yuste, who was tapped as best supporting actress, thanked the film’s team, which was composed of 70 percent women. “When they give us a voice, things like Carmen & Lola are the result and they make this world a healthier place,” she said
It was just one of many feminist notes struck at the awards ceremony. Eva Llorach, who took home a best new actress Goya for Quien Te Cantara, asked all the nominated women in the audience to stand up to see how “few” they were. “I want to share this with you, and I want to ask screenwriters, producers, distributors … for more stories with female protagonists,” she said.
Iranian director Asgar Farhadi’s Everybody Knows went home empty-handed despite eight nominations in most of the top categories, including best actress for Penelope Cruz, a prize won by veteran Susi Sanchez for 2018 Berlin Panorama premiere Sunday’s Illness.
The winners for feature and short documentary brought more politics to the proceedings. Documentary feature winner Almudena Carracedo, co-director of the Oscar short-listed The Silence of Others, dedicated his Goya to the “thousands of victims and survivors of the Franco dictatorship,” and to those who “fight every day for their right to justice and truth.”
The short documentary film Gaza won in its category despite having been in the news on the eve of the Goya Awards for a canceled screening in Madrid hosted by the pro-Palestine group BDS.
Spanish Film Academy president Mariano Barroso, who earlier in the week told Spanish news agency Efe that the Academy was considering including TV series in future awards ceremonies, gave a speech urging film professionals not to see the “small screens as enemies. … Ours is an alliance of winners.”
Other technical Goya Awards were split between the 1920s police thriller Gun City, Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited Spanish co-production The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and local box office hit Superlopez.
The Goya of Honor for horror director Narciso “Chicho” Ibañez Serrador was presented by eight of Spain’s most renowned genre directors, including JA Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), Alejandro Amenabar (The Others) and Nacho Vigalondo (Colossal).
Other touches of glamour in Seville included a performance by pop flamenco artist Rosalia and the presentation of the best film prize by Pedro Almodovar and the stars of his Goya-earning 1988 pic Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Rosalia has a role alongside Cruz and Antonio Banderas in Almodovar’s upcoming film Pain & Glory.
A full list of the 2019 Goya winners follows.
Rodrigo Sorogoyen for The Realm
Arantxa Echevarria for Carmen & Lola
Antonio de la Torre for The Realm
Susi Sanchez for Sunday’s Illness
Luis Zahera for The Realm
Carolina Yuste for Carmen & Lola
Jesus Vidal for Champions
Eva Llorach for Quien Te Cantara
Isabel Peña and Rodrigo Sorogoyen for The Realm
Alvaro Brechner for The 12-Year Night
Another Day of Life by Damian Nenow and Raul de la Fuente
The Silence of Others by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar
Cold War by Pawel Pawlikowski
Roma by Alfonso Cuaron
Olivier Arson for The Realm
“Este es el momento” from Champions by Coque Malla
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Director of photography
Josu Inchaustegui for Gun City
Alberto del Campo for The Realm
Roberto Fernandez and Albert Raposo for The Realm
Juan Pedro de Gaspar for Gun City
Lluis Rivera and Laura Pedro for Superlopez
Clara Bilbao for Gun City
Makeup and hair
Sylvie Imbert, Amparo Sanchez and Pablo Perona for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Gaza by Carlos Bover Martinez and Julio Perez del Campo
Cerdita by Carlota Pereda
Short animated film
Cazatalentos by Jose Herrera
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