Director Iciar Bollain's domestic abuse drama Take My Eyes fulfilled expectations as the big winner at Spain's 18th annual Goya Awards this weekend, taking home seven of nine nominations including best film, director, original script, actor, actress, supporting actress and sound.
The uncompromising film was an appropriate mascot for a ceremony peppered with political messages for a second year running, following last year's resounding "No to War" discourse.
This year's best documentary nomination for Julio Medem's controversial The Basque Ball: Skin Against Stone (La Pelota Vasca: La Piel Contra La Piedra) inspired a protest by the Association of Terrorist Victims outside Saturday night's ceremony. Filmmakers and representatives of the Spanish Film Academy responded both on and off the air with messages defending "freedom of expression."
Medem nonetheless went home without the Goya, which the Academy gave instead to Jose Luis Lopez Linares' historical montage of a photographer's autobiographical archives spanning much of the last century, A Moment In The Other's Life (Un Instante En La Vida Ajena).
David Trueba's Soldiers Of Salamina (Soldados De Salamina) also went home nearly empty-handed despite eight key nominations, taking only best cinematography for Javier Aguirresarobe. Vicente Aranda's Carmen went home with one Goya as well, for Yvonne Blake's wardrobes.
Isabel Coixet's My Life Without Me won best adapted script and best song prizes, while scriptwriter Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde picked up a best new director nod for her debut Sleeping Luck (La Suerte Dormida).
Box office smash The Big Adventure Of Mortadelo & Filemon (La Gran Aventura De Mortadelo Y Filemon) dominated the technical categories, winning best special effects, editing, production design, art direction, makeup and hair.
Luis Tosar and Laia Marull repeated their San Sebastian best actor wins for Take My Eyes (Te Doy Mis Ojos), while supporting actor nods went to Eyes' Candela Pena and Eduard Fernandez for Cesc Gay's In The City (En LaCiudad).
Maria Valverde of The Weakness Of The Bolshevik (La Flaqueza Del Bolchevique) and Fernando Tejero of Football Days (Dias De Futbol) were voted best new actors.
Argentinean actor Hector Alterio was the recipient of the year's honorary Goya in a ceremony dedicated to Latin American cinema. Mexican actor Diego Luna co-hosted with Spain's Cayetana Guillen Cuervo, while other presenters from across the Atlantic included Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Leonardo Sbaraglia and Jorge Perugorria.
Carlos Sorin's Minimal Stories (Historias Minimas), an Argentine-Spanish co-production, won best foreign Spanish-language film, while Good-Bye, Lenin! picked up best European film. Filmax's El Cid won best animated film.
Ironically, the Spanish Film Academy was informed last week that the name "Goya Awards" was already registered by a local photographers' association intent on maintaining exclusivity. The prizes were referred to Saturday night as simply the "Goyas" or the Spanish Film Academy Awards.