Agustí Villaronga got out of his seat in Madrid's Teatro Real in the small hours of Monday morning knowing his time for consecration had come.
One of Spanish cinema's most personal and unique filmmakers, the Mallorca-born director of such idiosyncractic and controversial works as Tras el cristal, El niño de la luna and El mar was the big winner at the 25th Goya Awards. His Catalan-language movie Pa negre (or, Black bread), the reconstruction of a ferocious family drama in post-Civil War Catalonia, took home nine prizes, including Best Film and Best Director.
The night's big losers were Álex de la Iglesia's A Sad Trumpet Ballad, which only won two prizes (for Best Make-up and Best Special Effects) from 15 nominations and Iciar Bollain's Even the Rain, which got three prizes (Best Supporting Actor for Karra Elejalde, Best Music and Best Production Supervision) from 13 nods. The fourth Best Film nominee, Buried, won three prizes (Best Editing, Best Original Screenplay and Best Sound).
Javier Bardem took home his fifth Goya for his role in Biutiful, making him the most garlanded actor in the awards' history. The actor, who is also nominated for an Oscar for the role, paid tribute to wife Penélope Cruz and their newborn son in his acceptance speech, saying they always made him "wake up with a smile."
Best Actress went to Nora Navas for Pa negre, which also won Laia Marull her third Goya, for Best Supporting Actress, and Best New Actor and Actress prizes for its two young leads, Francesc Colomer and Marina Comas. "I don't think this is a recognition of Catalan cinema, but rather that we make good cinema and it has been appreciated," said Villaronga as he began his thank-yous.
"Agustí deserved to find his audience," said the film's producer, Isona Passola. "This is the third film we have made together and I know people love him."
Asked about beating Alex de la Iglesia and Iciar Bollain, Passola was calmer: "Well, we have won, yes, nine Goyas, but I don't think we have beaten anybody. That does not enter into my head."
One of the most moving moments of the night came from another Catalan triumph: ex-regional premier Pasqual Maragall receiving the Best Documentary prize for Bicicleta, cuchara, manzana, which narrates his battle with Alzheimer's.