'Cell 211' & 'Agora' Top Goya Awards + Pedro Almodóvar Ceremony Highlight

Juan Oliver, Luis Tosar in Cell 211
Rachel Weisz in Agora
Lola Dueñas, Pablo Pineda in Me Too
Penélope Cruz in Broken Embraces
Luis Tosar and Juan Oliver in Cell 211 (top); Rachel Weisz in Agora (middle, upper); Lola Dueñas, Pablo Pineda in Me Too (middle, lower); Penélope Cruz in Pedro Almodóvar's Broken Embraces (bottom)

Daniel Monzón's Celda 211 / Cell 211, a drama set during a prison riot, was the big winner at the 2010 Goya Awards ceremony held in Madrid on Sunday. Cell 211 won eight Goyas, including best film, best director, best actor (Luis Tosar), best supporting actress (Marta Etura), and best adapted screenplay (Monzón and Jorge Guerricaechevarría).

The Goyas' runner-up was Alejandro Amenábar's historical drama and box office smash Agora, starring Rachel Weisz, which received seven trophies, including best original screenplay for eight-time winner Amenábar and Mateo Gil.

The best actress winner was Lola Dueñas for her role as a heavy-drinking, emotionally and sexually frustrated woman who develops a relationship with a man with Down's Syndrome (Pablo Pineda) in Me, Too. Penélope Cruz, Dueñas' co-star in Pedro Almodóvar's Volver, was also in the running for Broken Embraces, but the film won only one statuette: for Alberto Iglesias' score. Cruz, however, received quite a bit of attention for being seen sitting next to Javier Bardem, reportedly their first “official” appearance together at a film event.

Bardem wasn't in the running for anything, but his brother Carlos Bardem was a best supporting actor nominee for Cell 211. He lost to Raúl Arévalo in Gordos.

Pedro Almodóvar, for his part, received the evening's longest ovation, as the audience at the Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos de Ifema got on their feet to welcome the most renowned Spanish-born filmmaker since either Carlos Saura or Luis Buñuel – take your pick – and the Spanish Academy's pariah. Almodóvar had quit the Academy after Bad Education was snubbed in early 2005, but seemed to have made peace with it following the Volver victory two years later.

Almodóvar was the surprise Best Film presenter. (Broken Embraces wasn't in the running in that category). “I'm here because you have a very persistent president,” Almodóvar said referring to fellow filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia. “He pestered me until two days ago. And I had a lot of excuses, but he wouldn't take no for an answer.” Almodóvar went on to explain he felt it would have been awkward if he were waiting in the wings and his Broken Embraces screenplay was announced the winner. But de la Iglesia put his fears to rest by assuring him he would not win.

Juan José Campanella's Spanish-Argentinean co-production The Secret in Their Eyes won the Goya for best Hispano-American film. The political-crime drama is also in the running for the best foreign language film Oscar. The Best European Film was Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire.

In addition to Bardem, Cruz, and Almodóvar, presenters included Fernando Guillén, Cayetana Guillén Cuervo, Fernando Guillén Cuervo, Ana Belén, Óscar Jaenada, Aitana Sánchez Gijón, Daniel Brühl, Belén Rueda, Eduardo Noriega, Marisa Paredes, Juan Diego Botto, and Paz Vega.

Photos: Broken Embraces (Emilio Pereda & Paola Ardizzoni / El Deseo / Sony Pictures Classics); Agora (Mod Producciones); Me Too (Alicia / Promico Imagen); Cell 211 (IFC Films)

Feb. 15 p.m. update

The Spanish public station TVE's telecast of the 2010 Goya Awards ceremony on Sunday night reached the Goyas' largest TV audience ever. On average, approximately 4.65 million people watched Daniel Monzón's prison drama Cell 211 win eight trophies; more than 14.7 million people – or about one third of the Spanish population – watched at least part of the awards ceremony hosted by entertainer Andreu Buenafuente.

The previous Goya telecast record holder was the 2005 ceremony, when 3.72 million people watched the show. That year, Pedro Almodóvar's Bad Education lost most of the top awards to Alejandro Amenábar's The Sea Inside. Amenábar was also in the running this year for the historical drama Agora, but the film's seven wins were mostly in the technical categories. Almodóvar's Broken Embraces was in the running as well, but won only one Goya, for Alberto Iglesias' score.

It's unclear why this year's ceremony led to such a major upsurge in interest, though the fact that Agora was Spain's biggest domestic hit in 2009 and Cell 211 was #3 surely didn't hurt. Also definitely not hurting was the presence of Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem together at a film function for – reportedly – the first time. Cruz was also in the running for Broken Embraces, but she lost the Best Actress Goya to her former Volver co-star Lola Dueñas for Me Too.

“I'm here because you have a very persistent president – very persistent,” surprise presenter Almodóvar (please scroll down), who quit the Spanish Academy in 2005, said referring to fellow filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia (wearing glasses and laughing in the clip above). “He pestered me until two days ago. … And I had a lot of excuses, but he wouldn't take no for an answer.” Almodóvar went on to explain he felt it would have been awkward if he were waiting in the wings and his Broken Embraces screenplay was announced the winner. But de la Iglesia put his fears to rest by assuring him, “Pedro, you're not going to win.”

Unfortunately, my Spanish isn't the greatest. And Almodóvar makes James Cagney sound like a slow talker. Audience members, facing no such language hurdles, were clearly enjoying themselves. Something else I did get: Almodóvar explains that de la Iglesia finally convinced him to present the Goya for Best Film by saying, “You don't like this ceremony, but in about three weeks you'll be in Hollywood presenting the best foreign language film Oscar.” Almodóvar didn't know how to respond to that. “And so, here I am.” And the 2010 Goyas were all the better for it.

In addition to Bardem, Cruz, and Almodóvar, 2010 Goya Award presenters included Fernando Guillén, Cayetana Guillén Cuervo, Fernando Guillén Cuervo, Ana Belén, Óscar Jaenada, Aitana Sánchez Gijón, Daniel Brühl, Belén Rueda, Eduardo Noriega, Marisa Paredes, Juan Diego Botto, and Paz Vega.

'Cell 211' & 'Agora' Top Goya Awards + Pedro Almodóvar Ceremony Highlight © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Leave a comment about ''Cell 211' & 'Agora' Top Goya Awards + Pedro Almodóvar Ceremony Highlight'

NOTE: *Thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative. Abusive/bigoted, trollish/inflammatory, baseless (spreading misinformation, whether intentionally or not), spammy, and/or just plain deranged comments will be zapped. Links found in comments will generally be deleted.