Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film last night, ending a triumphant year which began last April with the film's Spanish release.

The prize came 12 years after his first nomination ' in 1988 for Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown. He was presented with the award by a star of that film ' Antonio Banderas, and the star of his last two films, Live Flesh and All About My Mother, Penelope Cruz.

The film, which marked Spain's 18th foreign-language film Oscar nomination, is the country's third winner after To Begin Again in 1982 and Belle Epoque in 1993.

Sony Pictures Classics has domestic rights to the film which to date has grossed more than $6.6m in the US; London-based United Artists Films sold international rights.

An ebullient Almodovar, who won the Best Director prize at Cannes last year for the film, as well as a slew of European Film Awards, Goyas and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, thanked the "Spanish people watching TV now at six o'clock in the morning. This is for Spain."

Although cut off in mid-speech, Almodovar managed to thank Sony Classics and his brother and regular producer Agustin Almodovar.

Backstage, Almodovar said winning the prize was equivalent to a "multiple orgasm" and again thanked Sony Classics "who bought the movie just after reading the script" as well as the actresses in the film, many of whom ' Cruz, Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes and Antonia San Juan - were at the ceremony supporting Almodovar.

Almodovar said the Oscar would not change the type of movie he was going to make. He said he was developing two movies in Spanish and his long-awaited English-language debut The Paperboy for United Artists. However, he could not say which would be next in front of the cameras. "I don't know at the moment. I might know tomorrow afternoon when I'm thinking more clearly but right now I can't concentrate on that."