'Cell 211' is the big winner at Goya Awards

Pedro Almodovar makes surprise appearance

MADRID -- Daniel Monzon's prison drama "Cell 211" walked away the grand winner at the 24th Goya Awards ceremony with eight statues, including the top categories, Sunday night after a close head-to-head battle with Alejandro Amenabar's epic film "Agora."

"Cell" not only took best film, director and adapted script, but also actor for Luis Tosar's intense portrayal of a prison inmate.

Penelope Cruz got passed over for the best actress award for her part in Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces" to see Lola Duenas take home the honor for her touching role in "Me Too."

And though tongues started wagging early in the evening that Cruz and beau Javier Bardem finally made a public appearance together by sitting side-by-side at the ceremony, the big event of the evening was undoubtedly Pedro Almodovar's surprise appearance to award the best film award -- marking a new peace with the Spanish Film Academy that has snubbed his films often.

Spain's most international director, Almodovar quit the academy in 2005 citing disagreements with the voting procedures and hasn't attended a ceremony since.

But Sunday night, he received a warm standing ovation just for showing up.

"I'm here because you have a very persistent president," Almodovar said of academy president Alex de la Iglesia. "He pestered me until two days ago. And I had a lot of excuses, but he wouldn't take no for an answer."

Almodovar said he was concerned with how it would look if he were waiting in the wings, hidden backstage and he won the award for best original screenplay for "Embraces," to which de la Iglesia's confidently assured him he wouldn't win.

Best original screenplay went to Amenabar and Mateo Gil for "Agora," giving the director his 11th career Goya.

Though it didn't snag the top honors, "Agora" took seven awards total.

While picking up the honor for Spanish-Argentine co-production "The Secret in Their Eyes" as the best Hispano-American Film, executive producer Mariela Besuievski pointed out that two of the films nominated for the category (the other being Claudia Llosa Bueno's "The Milk of Sorrow") have been shortlisted for the foreign-language Oscar.

"That's a first and it tells us that our cinema travels," Besuievski said.

A complete list of winners is listed on the next page.

"Cell 211," Telecinco Cineam, Vaca Films, Morena Films

Daniel Monzon, "Cell 211"

New Director
Mar Coll, "Three Days with the Family"

Original Screenplay
Alejandro Amenabar and Mateo Gil, "Agora"

Adapted Screenplay
Jorge Gerricaechevarria and Daniel Monzon, "Cell 211"

Original Music
Alberto Iglesias, "Broken Embraces"

Original Song
"Yo Tambien" from "Me Too" by Guille Milkyway

Luis Tosar, "Cell 211"

Lola Duenas, "Me Too"

Supporting Actor
Raul Arevalo, "Gordos"

Supporting Actress
Marta Etura, "Cell 211"

New Actor
Alberto Amman, "Cell 211"

New Actress
Soledad Villamil, "The Secret in Their Eyes"

Production Design
Jose Luis Escolar, "Agora"

Xavi Gimenez, "Agora"

Mapa Pastor, "Cell 211"

Art Director
Guy Hendrix Dyas, "Agora"

Gabriella Pescucci, "Agora"

Makeup and Hair
Jan Sewell and Suzanne Stokes-Munton, "Agora"

Sergio Burmann, Jaime Fernandez and Carlos Faruolo, "Cell 211"

Special Effects
Chris Reynolds and Felix Berges, "Agora"

Animated Film
"Planet 51" from Ilion Studios, HandMade Films, Chuck&Lem and Antena 3 Film

"Garbo, el hombre que salvo el mundo" from Ikiru Films, Centuria Films Colose Producciones and Televisio de Catalunya

Hispano-American Film
"The Secret in their Eyes," directed by Juan Jose Campanella

European Film
"Slumdog Millionaire," directed by Danny Boyle

Fiction Short
"Dime que yo," directed by Mateo Gil

Documentary Short
"Flores de Ruanda," directed by David Munoz Lopez

Animated Short
"La Dama y La Muerte," directed by Javier Recia Gracia

Honorary Goya
Antonio Mercero