Guillermo del Toro's dark fairy-tale El laberinto del fauno / Pan's Labyrinth was the big winner at the Mexican Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 49th Ariel Awards ceremony held at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City on Mar. 20.
Set in the 1940s, the Mexican-Spanish co-production about a young girl's entry into a fantastic world -- so as to escape from the oppressive reality of General Franco's Fascist Spain -- won a total of 9 awards (out of 12 nominations), including best film and best director.
As a steely houseworker who befriends the young girl, Maribel Verdú (top) shared the best actress award with Elizabeth Cervantes, who plays a businesswoman and mother with little luck in love in the drama Más que a nada en el mundo / More Than Anything in the World.
Other Laberinto del fauno Ariel winners were cinematographer Guillermo Navarro; composer Javier Navarrete; and production designers Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta, and Ramón Moya. (Surprisingly, actor Sergi López and del Toro's original screenplay weren't even nominated.)
Earlier this year, Pan's Labyrinth won 7 Goyas (including one for del Toro's screenplay) and 3 Academy Awards. In one of those inane Academy twists, Laberinto lost the best foreign-language film Oscar to the much inferior Das Leben der Anderen / The Lives of Others.
Among the other top Ariel winners were Isabel Coixet's psychological drama La Vida secreta de las palabras / The Secret Life of Words as best Ibero-American film; Juan Carlos Rulfo's En el hoyo / In the Pit as best documentary (in addition to awards for best editing and best sound); and Francisco Vargas' sociopolitical drama El Violín / The Violin (left) as best first film (plus awards for best original screenplay and for best supporting actor Gerardo Taracena).
Damián Alcázar received the best actor award for Sebastián Cordero's Crónicas / Chronicles, in which Alcázar plays a mysterious man who claims to understand the mindset of a serial killer in Ecuador. Crónicas was nominated for five other Ariels, including best film, best director, and best original screenplay (Cordero).
Honorary awards were given to actor Ignacio López Tarso, 82, who played the title role in Roberto Gavaldón's Academy Award-nominated drama Macario (1960), and to cinematographer Rosalío Solano, 92, who shot nearly 180 films, including the Miroslava Stern vehicle Trotacalles / Streetwalker (1951) and Jaime Humberto Hermosillo's drama Naufragio / Shipwreck (1978).