There was one clear victor in the battle for the top prizes at Spain's 17th annual Goya Awards ceremony held Saturday night in Madrid: Fernando Leon's Mondays In The Sun.
Mondays (Los Lunes Al Sol) triumphed with five top awards including best film and director, new actor for Jose Angel Egido, supporting actor for Luis Tosar and - eliciting one of the most enthusiastic receptions of the night - best actor for Javier Bardem.
Meanwhile, Pedro Almodovar's Talk To Her (Hable Con Ella), nominated in seven key categories, won only a best original music Goya for veteran Alberto Iglesias. The fact that Almodovar was overlooked for the top prizes by his home Spanish Cinema Academy is something of a surprise, considering his film's recent slew of international honours and kudos, including a best foreign-language Golden Globe.
Talk To Her previously lost out to Mondays for Spain's nomination to the foreign-language Oscar. Almodovar himself was a no-show at Saturday night's ceremony.
Emilio Martinez Lazaro's hit musical comedy The Other Side Of The Bed (El Otro Lado De La Cama) went home with a token prize for best sound despite six nominations including best film and direction.
The fourth film nominated in the top categories, The City Without Limits (En La Ciudad Sin Limites), offered the only major surprise of the night when director Antonio Hernandez and co-writer Enrique Braso nabbed the best original script Goya away from Leon, Almodovar and newcomers Julio Wallovits and Roger Gual, who made off with best new direction for their low-budget debut Smoking Room.
City's Geraldine Chaplin, thanking the Academy for her best supporting actress Goya, provided the lightest moment of an otherwise politically-charged ceremony when she thanked the film's producer and her former step-son Antonio Saura for his "nepotism." Most of those present bore red-on-black badges declaring "No to the war," a slogan that was repeated throughout the night along with other political declarations.
The ceremony kicked off with a warm reception for the night's first prize-winner, an emotional Lolita (Rencor), a popular musician in Spain and sister of Talk To Her co-star Rosario Flores. Veteran actor Manuel Alexandre received a standing ovation for his Goya of Honor. Argentinean co-production Common Places (Lugares Comunes) picked up best adapted script and best actress for Mercedes Sampietro.
Fernando Trueba's The Shanghai Spell (El Embrujo De Shanghai) earned several technical awards, including best wardrobe, hair and make-up and artistic direction. Other technical prizes included best photography for Don Quijote, Knight Errant (El Caballero Don Quijote), best production design and best editing for The 507 Box (La Caja 507), best original song for Salome and best special effects to Alex de la Iglesia's 800 Bullets (800 Balas).
Roman Polanski's The Pianist was voted best European film, while Uruguayan foreign-language Oscar contender The Last Train (El Ultimo Tren) won best foreign Spanish-language film. Other prizes included: best documentary for El Efecto Iguazu; best animated film to Dragon Hill, (La Colina Del Dragon); best short fiction film to Rafa Russo's Nada Que Perder; best animated short for Raul Diez's Sr. Trapo; and best documentary short to Ramon de Fontecha's Tunel Numero 20.