Monday, January 29, 2007

Cinema....Pedro Gets His Goyas

Pedro Almodóvar can no longer claim that he doesn't get recognition in his own country. Last night his last film Volver took 5 of the Goyas, the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars. They were not just any Goyas, he got the prizes for best director, best film, best actress (Penélope Cruz), best supporting actress (Carmen Maura), and best soundtrack. Almodóvar has had his problems before with the Spanish Academy, he even resigned in a huff a few years ago because one of his films did not get awarded any prizes. Last night he was not there, claiming exhaustion, although its hard to avoid the suspicion that he still doesn't regard these awards as being very important, given the international recognition he gets.

Also doing well last night was one of my favourite films from last year, El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth), directed by Guillermo del Toro. Another favourite of mine, Salvador, took the best adapted screenplay prize. Meanwhile, Ken Loach lost out to Stephen Frears for the prize for the best non-Spanish European film, The Queen. The distribution of awards highlights that last year was not a particularly strong year for Spanish cinema, most of the prizes went to two of the films and Del Toro is a Mexican director; even though his film was made in Spain and had a strong Spanish cast. In a good year 5 or 6 strong films can be competing for recognition, although I do not remember 2005 being much better.

I'm not a big fan of awards ceremonies, and I don't care who wins an Oscar; the Goya ceremony won some respect from me in 2003 when many of the actors involved transformed it into a protest against Spanish involvement in Iraq. Their action gave a significant boost to the anti-war campaign and at least for one year the self-regarding, introspective nature of these events took a backstage role.

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