Pilar Palomero’s directorial debut Schoolgirls won the best film and best new director award at Spain’s Goya awards on Saturday March 6 in a pandemic-era ceremony that celebrated fresh voices and a strong female presence.
The hybrid ceremony - all the nominees were at home - was sober and started with a minute’s silence for the pandemic’s victims. It was also much shorter than usual. The socially-distanced red carpet was only for the celebrities in charge of giving the awards and Antonio Banderas, of course, who hosted the ceremony for the first time in the theatre the star owns in his hometown of Málaga.
Scroll down for the full list of winners
Pedro Almodóvar, Penélope Cruz, Alejandro Amenábar, Juan Antonio Bayona and Paz Vega were the first to go onstage to read the first winners’ names of a night that saw Palomero’s 1990s-set coming of age drama Schoolgirls win four of the nine awards for which it was nominated: best film, best new director, best original screenplay and best cinematography.
The latter was awarded to cinematographer Daniela Cajías and marks the first time a woman has won the Goya award. Schoolgirls is produced by Valérie Delpierre (Inicia Films, also behind Carla Simón’s Summer 1993) and Alex Lafuente (BTeam Pictures).
It made its world premiere at Generation Kplus at the Berlinale in 2020 and is sold by Film Factory Entertainmnent.
Another big win was for the migration drama Adú, which went into the evening with 13 nominations. It received four awards including best director for Salvador Calvo, and another first film, Ane, by David Pérez Sañudo, that won three prizes. Basque period witchhunt film Akelarre won five and Icíar Bollaín’s Rosa’s Wedding won two.
The only winner who went to Málaga to pick her Goya was Ángela Molina, who recived the honorary award for a career that includes work with Luis Buñuel, Pedro Almodóvar, Bigas Luna, Luigi Comencini or Marco Bellocchio. Moved and moving with her words she closed her acceptance speech claiming that “like life, cinema cannot be enjoyed without other people”.
During the ceremony, filmmaker Mariano Barroso, the president of the Spanish academy, took the opportunity to vindicate the emotional healing power of cinema and he also underlined the number of women among the nominees, 41%, the highest percentage so far in Goya history.
He acknowledged the difficult year the pandemic has meant for the industry, with a 72% total drop in the box office and local productions grossing well below the €100m bar of recent years at €43m in total for 2020.
In a first for the Goyas, a long list of non-Spanish International film stars including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Julianne Moore, Laura Dern, Emma Thompson, Mahershala Ali, Halle Berry, Sylvester Stallone, Melanie Griffith, Salma Hayek, Monica Bellucci, Mel Gibson, Emily Blunt, Glenn Close, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Ricardo Darín, Barbra Streisand, Guillermo del Toro, Charlize Theron and Isabelle Huppert, sent online messages of appreciation for Spanish cinema.
In a first, also, it was a nurse, Ana Ruiz López, the person chosen to give the best film award, to honour to work the medical profession in the context of the pandemic.
Goya winners 2021
Salvador Calvo for Adú
Best new director
Pilar Palomero for Schoolgirls
Best original screenplay
Pilar Palomero for Schoolgirls
Best adapted screenplay
David Pérez Sañudo, Marina Parés Pulido for Ane
Patricia Lopez Arnaiz for Ane
Mario Casas forCross The Line
Nathalie Poza for Rosa’s Wedding
Best supporting actor
Alberto San Juan for Sentimental
Best new actress
Jone Laspiur for Ane
Best new actor
Adam Nourou for Adu
Daniela Cajías for Schoolgirls
Best art direction
Mikel Serrano for Akelarre
Best director of production
Ana Parra, Luis Fernández Lago for Adú
Beatushka Wojtowicz, Ricardo Molina for Akelarre
Best costume design
Nerea Torrijos for Akelarre
Best special effects
Mariano García Marty, Ana Rubio for Akelarre)
Sergio Jiménez for The Year Of Discovery
Best original score
Aránzazu Calleja, Maite Arroitajauregi for Akelarre
Que no, que no by Rozalén for Rosa’s Wedding
Eduardo Esquide, Jamaica Ruíz García, Juan Ferro, Nicolas de Poulpiquet for Adú
Best animated feature
The Wacky Hen, by Eduardo Gondell, Víctor Monigote
Best documentary feature
The Year Of Discovery by Luis López Carrasco
Best European film
The Father by Florian Zeller
Best Latin American film
Forgotten We’ll Be, by Fernando Trueba