Filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar triumphs at Spain’s Goya Awards

The internationally acclaimed director won in seven categories, including Best Film, for his semi-autobiographical movie ‘Pain and Glory’

Director Pedro Almodóvar at the Goya Awards.
Director Pedro Almodóvar at the Goya Awards.JON NAZCA

The internationally acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar was the big winner at Saturday’s Goya Awards with his semi-autobiographical film Pain and Glory (or, Dolor y Gloria) taking home seven of the 16 prizes it was nominated for.

Pain and Glory won the coveted prize for Best Film at the 34th edition of the Goya Awards, the Spanish movie industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. Almodóvar was named Best Director, Antonio Banderas Best Lead Actor, and Julieta Serrano Best Supporting Actress. The movie also won the Goya for Best Musical Score and Best Original Script.

Almodóvar used his acceptance speech to send a message to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez

Indeed the entire ceremony, which was held at the Martín Carpena sports arena in Málaga, was something of a tribute to Almodóvar. Actors Penélope Cruz and Ángela Molina, who have appeared regularly in Almodóvar’s films, awarded the filmmaker with the Goya for Best Director.

Composer Alberto Iglesias said that “Pedro’s cinema has made me more free” as he accepted his award, and Banderas also paid tribute to Almodóvar in his acceptance speech: “All this is Pedro. We have spent four decades and eight films [together] [...] I have never met anyone with the loyalty that you have for your cinema.” This year marked the first time Banderas had won a competitive Goya – he received an honorary award in 2015 – after being nominated on five occasions. The actor was visibly emotional as he accepted the award, and was given a standing ovation from the more than 3,200-strong audience, the largest number in the history of the Goya Awards.

Actress Benedicta Sánchez is congratulated by Pedro Almodóvar.
Actress Benedicta Sánchez is congratulated by Pedro Almodóvar.Martín Mesa

Almodóvar used his acceptance speech to send a message to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of the Socialist Party (PSOE), who attended Saturday’s ceremony. “In the next four years, you are going to be the co-author of a script” of all Spaniards, said the director. “I hope things go well for you, because that way things will go well for the rest of us.”

It has been 15 years since a prime minister last attended the Goya Awards: Former PSOE leader José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero was the last to do so in 2005.

Pain and Glory is also nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best International Feature Film. On the red carpet on Saturday, Almodóvar let slip that Penélope Cruz will be co-presenting the statuette at the Academy Awards. Cruz and Banderas presented Almodóvar with an Oscar in 1999 for his film All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre).

Other winners

The other star of the night was the 84-year-old actress Benedicta Sánchez, who beat Penelope Cruz in Pain and Glory, to take home the Goya for Best Lead Actress for her role in The Endless Trench (or, La Trinchera Infinita).

The Spanish Civil War film While at War (or, Mientras Dure La Guerra) from Alejandro Amenábar won five awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Eduardo Fernández, while Fire Will Come (or, Lo Que Arde) and Intemperie won two Goyas each.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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