Pablo Berger's 'Blancanieves' Leads Nominations for Spain's Goya Awards

Four candidates from critically-acclaimed directors Berger, Bayona, Trueba and Rodriguez face off for the 2013 Goya Awards in most of the big categories.

MADRID - Pablo Berger's silent black-and-white version of the Snow White myth, called Blancanieves led the pack Tuesday, with 18 nominations for the Spanish Film Academy's Goya Awards.

Alberto Rodriguez's Unit 7 (16),Juan Antonio Bayona's The Impossible (14) and Fernando Trueba's The Artist and The Model (13) trailed close behind.

The four films will go head-to-head in nearly all the main categories.

"We are very, very happy. We ran for 18 possible nominations and we got 18," said Blancanieves producer Ibon Cormenzana. "We've sold to many territories and in two weeks we'll release in theaters in France. I think we've benefited from the success of the The Artist."

The Impossible'sNaomi Watts and Ewan McGregor will compete for lead actress and supporting actor wins thanks to a change in the Spanish Academy's rules that allows non-Spanish speaking actors who participate in Spanish productions to compete for acting honors. That translates to Watts vying for the lead acting nod against Maribel Verdu's Carmenesque evil step-mother from Blancanieves, Penelope Cruz from Volver a Nacer and Aida Folch's muse-like performance in Model.

Blancanieves' Daniel Gimenez-Cacho, Model's Jean Rochefort, Unit's Antonio de la Torre and veteran actor Jose Sacristan from The Dead Man and Being Happy will compete for the lead actor statue.

In Spain, Bayona's film has broken box office records, where it is just about to hit the 42 million euro mark at the box office.

"Our objective is to sell more than 6 million tickets," said Impossible producer Ghislain Barrois.

The Spanish academy will hand out the awards on Feb. 17 in a gala ceremony in Madrid.