The Spanish movie industry celebrated the 29th Goya Awards ceremony on Saturday, with nearly four hours of live TV coverage that seemed like it would never end.
Apparently, nearly three decades of experience is not enough for organizers to realize that this is simply too long for a televised gala show, even if the show in question is Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars.
The ceremony over-ran its programmed schedule by nearly an hour, despite the fact that host Dani Rovira – the male star of last year’s box-office sensation Ocho apellidos vascos – had warned the winners that they only had a minute to thank their families, friends, colleagues and pets.
And then, at 1am, when people were hoping to finally find out who would scoop the main prizes, singer Miguel Poveda stepped out on stage to regale his audience with a mini-concert. Was that really necessary?
The Spanish Film Academy and state broadcaster TVE still need to iron out some issues in a ceremony that has more downsides than upsides. Some performances, such as that of comedian Alex O’Dogherty, were an anticlimax; as was the self-promotional spot about the future of film, which probably made more viewers scream out in horror than want to rush to movie theaters.
Adding to the slow pace and interminable duration were the (by now classic) technical mistakes, such as shots of the floor and other parts of the auditorium that definitely should not have been shown.
One of the most shameful moments of the evening took place early on when the stars of the show were ambling down the red carpet. Referring to actress Juana Acosta, commentator Jesús María Montes-Fernández, a fashion expert, remarked: “She is Colombian but very beautiful, she looks Spanish.” He then kept going as though nothing had happened. If this is the kind of deep thought we can expect to hear on public television, they might as well drop the commentary entirely and let us watch in silence.
But it is only fair to admit that it wasn’t all bad. Moving the ceremony to Saturday, instead of the usual Sunday, was a good idea. The TV audience rose to 3.34 million people, higher than last year, as a reflection of that. It was also smart to hire Dani Rovira as the host, and not just because he was the man of 2014, but because he has a lot of experience as a stand-up comedian, which served him well on the Goya stage.
Rovira did everything he could to keep the audience interested – at one point he called Culture Minister José Ignacio Wert by the familiar diminutive “Nacho,” and he even attempted some tap dancing. But no matter how hard Rovira tried, there is simply no amount of jokes that can counter four hours of acceptance speeches.
In short, the “fiesta of Spanish film,” as the event is often referred to, still needs to make some significant improvements to its production, technical aspects and even content if it wants a real future as a televised show.