Álex de la Iglesia
Unlike the staid BAFTA ceremony held in London earlier this evening, the Spanish Academy’s 25th Goya Awards ceremony held at Madrid’s Teatro Real was anything but staid.
In fact, the excitement began days before the ceremony, when Spanish Academy president Álex de la Iglesia, whose A Sad Trumpet Ballad was in the running with fifteen nominations, including Best Film and Best Director, announced he would step down the day after the ceremony. De la Iglesia was irked by former Spanish Academy president and current minister of culture Ángeles González-Sinde, whose anti-piracy law has been seen by many as a direct attack on Internet neutrality and a response to American pressure (according to WikiLeaks cables).
While celebrities were walking the red carpet outside the Teatro Real, protesters greeted González-Sinde with loud boos. Eventual Best Actor winner Javier Bardem (for Biutiful) also received his share of boos after having defended the Sinde Law in the Madrid daily El Pais. Some went as far as throwing eggs at the arrivals.
Although at the ceremony itself most winners thanked their co-workers, companions, and mothers, some made political statements as well.
Uruguayan-born singer-composer Jorge Drexler sang his acceptance speech for Pole’s "Que el soneto nos tome por sorpresa" as he had done after winning the Oscar for The Motorcycle Diaries’ "Al Otro Lado del Río." Through his Goya ditty, Drexler said he was not "going to ask forgiveness for earning his living through his songs, no matter how many eggs are thrown at him."
At the end of his interminable speech, Honorary Goya winner Mario Camus, the director of classics such as La colmena and The Holy Innocents / Los santos inocentes, talked about "protecting the cinema," a clear allusion to illegal downloads. (Ironically, many of Camus’ movies can’t be found [legally] on DVD.)
But the highlight of the evening was de la Iglesia’s impassioned pro-Internet speech while listening stone-faced in the audience were González-Sinde and Even the Rain director Icíar Bollaín, with whom de la Iglesia had a recent well-publicized falling out. Considering de la Iglesia’s stance, perhaps it was no coincidence that A Sad Trumpet Ballad ended up winning a mere two of its 15 Goya nominations: Best Make-Up and Hair and Best Visual Effects.
And that wasn’t all.
Later on, the Goya ceremony was interrupted right when the Best Actor winner was going to be announced. Infamous Catalan party crasher Jaume Marquet, aka Jimmy Jump, unexpectedly popped up onstage, covered the Best Actor Goya statuette with what looked like a Santa Claus hat, and was whisked away by security after saying a couple of words on the microphone. Following that stunt, Javier Bardem’s acceptance speech felt quite anticlimactic. [Addendum: That was no Santa Claus hat. It was a barretina, a typical Catalonian hat. See comment below.]