In a close race between the four Best Film nominees, it was No habrá paz para los malvados (or, No rest for the wicked) that ultimately emerged the biggest winner at the 26th Goya Awards, the Spanish Cinema Academy’s annual prize-giving gala, on Sunday night. The tough police thriller swept the last three prizes: Best Actor for José Coronado, Best Director for Enrique Urbizu and finally the coveted Best Film award. Before that it had picked up gongs for sound, editing and original screenplay.
Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In, which had led the nominations with 16, left with a total of four prizes: Best Actress, New Actor, Music, and Hair and Make-up.
Even before it started, there was a very notable police presence at the ceremony, with tight security measures, including roaming police dogs, both inside and outside Madrid’s Palacio de los Congresos. But that still wasn’t enough to stop a protestor from the Anonymous group of internet activists, and a man requesting financing for a western in his native Extremadura, from invading proceedings.
The invited guests themselves, however, behaved. And this year they included the Hollywood stars Antonio Banderas, accompanied by wife Melanie Griffith, and Salma Hayek, who enjoyed a night of humor and musical numbers ably guided by first-time host Eva Hache, and featuring a brilliant routine from comedian Santiago Segura in which he hilariously dissected the thought processes of an academy voter.
Politics only reared its head in the form of scattered references to the crisis, and when the award for Best Documentary went to Escuchando al juez Garzón, Isabel Coixet’s extended interview with the controversial judge who was recently banned from the bench for 11 years: “The Supreme Court can take Judge Garzón out of the justice system but it will never be able to take the justice out of Judge Garzón,” she said.
But it was Urbizu’s night, and for many it was well deserved. Already with a long career behind him (although he has made just eight films), he thanked everybody who had supported his vision for the film, saying he had so often rejected more commercial projects out of integrity. “Now the reward has arrived,” he said.
His star Coronado, one of the big favorites of the night, was full of praise for his director when he picked up the Best Actor prize: “I love Enrique, deeply. It is a dream come true, inexplicable. I love this profession above everything else and this statue will sleep with me tonight so tomorrow I can wake up and see that it is real.”
Almodóvar, sitting in the gala audience for the first time in seven years following a falling out with the Academy in 2004, may have left empty-handed, but he received similar plaudits. “I had the best director by my side,” said Elena Anaya as she accepted her Best Actress prize for The Skin I Live In. “He pushed us to create the identity of a human being in two bodies, and two performers fused ourselves in this way.”
“Pedro has always pushed me and I’m grateful he didn’t let me get comfortable,” added composer Alberto Iglesias, collecting a record 10th statue for his score for The Skin I Live In. “I hope that is what I’m being rewarded for: my running away from a single style or repetition.”
Special effects technician Reyes Abades, however, remains on nine Goyas after the academy chose Eva over The Skin I Live In for the Best Special Effects prize. The debut film of Catalan director Kike Maíllo also picked up awards for Best New Director and Best Supporting Actor for Lluís Homar.
It was a night of other records, too. For the first time an animated movie, Arrugas, took a major award other than that for Best Animated Feature, winning Best Adapted Screenplay. And for the first time the Academy president, Enrique González Macho, shared the reading of his speech — focused on the changes in the industry and on the internet — with his two vice presidents, Judith Colell and Marta Etura.