'Nora' notches seven Ariel Awards

Rookie filmmaker Chenillo tops Mexico's film honors

Mexico City -- Freshman filmmaker Mariana Chenillo made history Tuesday night in becoming the first woman director to win an Ariel Award for best Mexican picture with her Jewish-themed dramedy "Five Days Without Nora."

The Cacerola Films-produced "Five Days" walked away with seven statuettes at the 52nd Ariel Awards ceremony, including best first work, original screenplay, actor (Fernando Lujan) and supporting actress (Angelina Palaez).

Best director went to veteran helmer Carlos Carrera for his crime thriller "Backyard," which also nabbed best actress for Asur Zagada.

The only other picture to win multiple awards was the quirky comedy "Meet the Head of Juan Perez." Emilio Portes' first work got a supporting actor nod for Jose Sefami and three wins in technical categories.

In the Ibero-American competition, the Argentine thriller "The Secret in Their Eyes" beat out the Peru-Spain co-production "The Milk of Sorrow" and the Chile-Mexico collaboration "The Maid." "Secret" recently won the Oscar for best foreign-language picture.

The Ariel has long been considered Mexico's most prestigious film prize, but the Mexican film academy hasn't been getting much love in recent years due to perceived snubs of several boxoffice hits. This year's controversy revolved around two films ("Otro Pelicula de Huevos y un Pollo" and "El Estudiante") that failed to receive Ariel nominations despite their status as Mexico's top two boxoffice performers in 2009.