Spanish academy president Alex De La Iglesia’s The Last Circus (Balada Triste De Trompeta) has picked up 15 nominations for the 25th edition of the Goya awards, the academy announced today.

De La Iglesia’s dark drama about the lives of circus folk in the 1970s received mixed reviews from the critics, but picked up the best director prize at Venice, and has now proven a popular choice among Goya voters.

It is followed closely by the surprising, but deserved choice of Agusti Villaronga’s small drama Black Bread (Pa Negre) with 14 nominations. That film, about a young boy’s discovery of dark secrets in post Civil War Catalonia, was featured in competition at San Sebastian last year.

Iciar Bollain’s drama Even The Rain, starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Luis Tosar, which has also been put forward as Spain’s entrant for the foreign language Oscar, picked up 13 nominations, followed by Rodrigo Cortes’ Buried (10), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful (eight), Andrucha Waddington’s Lope (seven) and Julio Medem’s Room In Rome (4).

Black Bread, Even The Rain, The Last Circus and Buried are the four films competing for the best film prize and their film-makers are up for best director.

The best actor line-up is one of the most exciting in recent years with some big name players competing, including Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Ryan Reynolds (Buried), Luis Tosar (Even The Rain) and Antonio De La Torre (The Last Circus).

In further news, De La Iglesia announced that he hopes to move the location of the Goya ceremony from the Real Theatre in Madrid, where it will take place this year, to the Gran Teatre Del Liceu in Barcelona and is keen to attract some big name Spaniards to the awards, such as the footballer Iker Casillas, to broaden interest.

De La Iglesia also hopes to convince the Nobel prize-winning author Mario Vargas to present the best original script prize at this year’s ceremony and for Spanish film greats Pedro Almodovar and Jose Luis Garci to also attend.