IsabelCoixet's The Secret Life Of Words wasthe big winner atthe 20thanniversary edition of the Spanish Film Academy's Goya Awards, taking home fourstatues including best film, director and script.
But unlikelast year, when Alejandro Amenabar made history with 14 Goyas for The SeaInside, this year's prizes were spread more evenly acrossnominees.
Nosingle film won more than four awards, mirroring the spread of admissionsacross more local films than usual at the Spanish box office this year.
Providingthe star wattage at Sunday night's ceremony, Antonio Banderas presented thebest film award to co-producers Agustin Almodovar of El Deseo, Jaume Roures ofMediaPro and production designer Esther Garcia, who won the film's fourth awardof the night. The English-language Secret Life starsSarah Polley and Tim Robbins in the tale of two wounded souls who find comfortin each other's company on an isolated oil rig.
ElDeseo may feel compensated after Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education went home empty-handed from the Goya Awards last year and theAlmodovars announced their withdrawal from the Spanish Film Academy in part becauseif disagreement with the voting system for the Goyas.
FernandoLeon's Princesses, nominated in nine categoriesincluding best film and original script, took home three prizes including bestactress for Candela Pena, best new actress for Puerto Rican Micaela Navarez andbest original song. Princesses and Secret Life both screened last week in Sundance.
MontxoArmendariz's Obaba, which had the mostnominations (10) of any film and is selected to represent Spain for theforeign-language Oscar, went home with only one Goya, for sound.
Six-timenominee 7 Virgins by director Alberto Rodriguezalso went home with only one prize, for Jesus Carroza as best new actor.
Executiverecruiting drama The Gronholm Conspiracy (El Metodo) picked up two important prizes: best adapted script by Marcelo Pineyroand Mateo Gil (Amenabar's usual co-writer), and best supporting actor forveteran Carmelo Gomez.
JoseCorbacho and Juan Cruz took best new director honour for their crowd-pleasingfestival hit Tapas, which also won a supportingactress prize for Elvira Minguez. Best actor went to Oscar Jaenada for his roleas the eponymous flamenco legend in Camaron,which also won two technical prizes.
Theceremony was unusually short on political messages but ,accepting the best filmGoya for Secret Life, MediaPro's Roures receivedapplause for asking the Minister of Culture, who was in the audience, "Whydon't you give us a good cultural exception so that we can defend ourselvesbetter'"
Roureswas in fact the night's backstage protagonist: he co-produced both SecretLife and Princesses, andalso recently signed a contract with Woody Allen to shoot a film in Spain nextyear.
Allenwon the Goya for best European film for Match Point. His sister Letty Aronson accepted the prize, offering words of thanksto the Spanish people for making the country "feel like a second home to us."
Argentiniandirector Tristan Bauer picked up the best foreign Spanish-language Goya for hisFalklands War drama Blessed By Fire.Local distributor Alta Films should be able to capitalise on the prize, havingjust opened the film on Friday.
Theannual Goya of Honour went to producer and director Pedro Maso.
Best Film: The Secret Life Of Words (Isabel Coixet)
Best director: Isabel Coixet (The Secret Life Of Words)
Best New Director: Jose Corbacho and Juan Cruz (Tapas)
Best Original Script: Isabel Coixet (The Secret Life Of Words)
Best Adapted Script: Marcelo Pineyro & Mateo Gil (The Gronholm Conspiracy)
Best Actor: Oscar Jaenada (Cameron)
Best Actress: Candela Pena (Princesses)
Best Supporting Actor: Carmelo Gomez (The Gronholm Conspiracy)
Best Supporting Actress: Elvira Minguez (Tapas)
Best New Actor: Jesus Carroza (7 Virgins)
Best New Actress: Micaela Nevarez (Princesses)
Best Director of photography: Jose Luis Lopez Linares (Iberia)
Best Art Direction: Gil Parrondo (Ninette)
Best Director Of Production: Esther Garcia (The Secret Life Of Words)
Best Editing: Habana Blues
Best Song: Manu Chao (Princesses)
Best Hair And Make-up: Camaron
Best Wardrobe: Camaron
Best Special Effects: Fragile
Best Sound: Obaba
Best Animated Feature: Midsummer Dream
Best Documentary Feature: Cineastas Contra Magnates
Best European Film: Match Point
Best Foreign Spanish-language film: Blessed By Fire