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The Secret Life of Words Sarah Polley Tim Robbins: Goya + Spanish Critics winner
The Secret Life of Words with Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins. A modest box office performer in Spain ($4.09 million) and an even more modest performer elsewhere, Isabel Coixet’s Spanish-Irish psychological drama The Secret Life of Words became the second English-language production in five years to win the Best Film Goya Award. Its predecessor was Alejandro Amenábar’s 2001 horror drama The Others, starring Nicole Kidman. Besides Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins, The Secret Life of Words features Javier Cámara, Daniel Mays, Dean Lennox Kelly, Eddie Marsan, Talk to Her actress Leonor Watling, and veteran Julie Christie (Petulia, Heaven Can Wait).

Tim Robbins-Sarah Polley English-language drama ‘The Secret Life of Words’ is Spanish Academy’s & Cinema Writers’ favorite

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

The Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the (Spanish) Cinema Writers Circle have both named The Secret Life of Words / La vida secreta de las palabras, an English-language drama starring U.S. actor Tim Robbins and Canadian actress Sarah Polley, as the Best (Spanish) Film released in 2005.

Directed and written by Isabel Coixet – who topped the Best Director and Best Original Screenplay categories at both the Spanish Academy’s Goya Awards and the Cinema Writers Circle Awards – The Secret Life of Words ;depicts the increasing intimacy between a withdrawn, hearing-impaired young woman (the Cinema Writers’ co-Best Actress winner Sarah Polley) and the severely burned and temporarily blinded oil-rig worker (Tim Robbins) under her care.

The psychological drama also features Best Supporting Actor Goya and Cinema Writers Award nominee Javier Cámara and veteran Best Actress Oscar winner Julie Christie (Darling, 1965).

At the Goya Awards, The Secret Life of Words won a total of four trophies, as Esther García was singled out as the year’s Best Production Manager. (The film was co-produced by El Deseo; its owners, brothers Agustín and Pedro Almodóvar, received Executive Producer credit.)

At the Cinema Writers Awards, Coixet’s film topped five categories, including the Best Actress tie (see below) and Jean-Claude Larrieu’s Best Cinematography win.

Flamenco singing & Madrid sex workers

Two other double – Goya & Cinema Writers Award – winners were Óscar Jaenada and Candela Peña.

Jaenada was named Best Actor for his portrayal of flamenco cantaor (singer) Camarón de la Isla (literally, “Shrimp of the Island”) in Jaime Chávarri’s biopic Camarón: When Flamenco Became Legend. Candela Peña won Best Actress – at the Cinema Writers Awards, co-Best Actress with Sarah Polley – for her performance as a Madrid sex worker in Fernando León de Aranoa’s Princesses / Princesas.

In the supporting categories, Carmelo Gómez and Elvira Mínguez were also double winners, the former for Marcelo Piñeyro’s crime comedy The Method / El método and the latter for José Corbacho and Juan Cruz’s Barcelona-set ensemble comedy-drama Tapas.

Woody Allen & Falklands War + veteran actor José Luis López Vázquez

Among the Goya Awards’ other winners are Woody Allen’s British-made crime & social climbing drama Match Point as Best European Film; Tristán Bauer’s Argentinean-made, Falklands War-themed, psychological/political drama Blessed by Fire / Iluminados por el fuego as Best Spanish-Language Foreign Film; and, as Best Documentary Feature, Carlos Benpar’s Filmmakers vs. Tycoons / Cineastas contra magnates, about how motion pictures are mangled when screened on television, and featuring the likes of:

Woody Allen. Liv Ullmann. Maurizio Nichetti. Milos Forman. Luis García Berlanga. Vilgot Sjöman.

Arthur Penn. Stanley Donen. Marco Bellocchio. Jack Cardiff. Richard Fleischer. Robert Ellis Miller.

Among the Cinema Writers Awards’ other winners are Clint Eastwood’s boxing melodrama Million Dollar Babylast year’s Best Film Oscar winner – as Best Foreign Film, and filmmaker Mercedes Álvarez, chosen as Best Newcomer for her nonfiction feature The Sky Turns / El Cielo gira, about her fast-disappearing native village in the municipality of Soria in central-northern Spain.

Additionally, veteran actor José Luis López Vázquez (My Dearest Senorita, La Colmena) was named the recipient of the Cinema Writers’ Honorary Medal.

Actors’ Branch rules

According to the official site of the Spanish Academy, the institution has 847 members. Mirroring the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, actors – 232 in all – comprise its largest branch.

The 2006 Goya Award winners were announced on Jan. 29. The 2006 Cinema Writers Circle Awards were announced on Jan. 23.

Candela Peña Princesses Micaela Nevárez: Madrid sex worker Best Actress Goya Award
Candela Peña in Princesses with Micaela Nevárez. In movies since 1994, Barcelona-born Candela Peña – who plays one of two Madrid sex workers/friends (the other one is Puerto Rican-born Micaela Nevárez) in Princesses – was named 2005’s Best Actress by the Spanish Academy and, along with The Secret Life of Words actress Sarah Polley, by that country’s Cinema Writers Circle. Peña had been previously nominated for one Most Promising Actress and three Best Supporting Actress Goyas, having taken home a Goya statuette in the latter category for her work as abused wife Laia Marull’s concerned sister in Icíar Bollaín’s 2003 romantic drama Take My Eyes.

Best Film
7 Virgins / 7 vírgenes, dir.: Alberto Rodríguez.
* The Secret Life of Words / La vida secreta de las palabras, dir.: Isabel Coixet.
Obaba, dir.: Montxo Armendáriz.
Princesses / Princesas, dir.: Fernando León de Aranoa.

Best European Film
Downfall / Der Untergang, dir.: Oliver Hirschbiegel (Germany).
The Constant Gardener, dir.: Fernando Meirelles (United Kingdom).
The Chorus / Les Choristes, dir.: Christophe Barratier (France).
* Match Point, dir.: Woody Allen (United Kingdom).

Best Spanish-Language Foreign Film
Alma mater, dir.: Álvaro Buela (Uruguay).
* Blessed by Fire / Iluminados por el fuego, dir.: Tristán Bauer (Argentina).
Mi mejor enemigo, dir.: Álex Bowen (Chile).
Rosario Tijeras, dir.: Emilio Maillé (Colombia).

Best Director
Albero Rodríguez, 7 Virgins.
Benito Zambrano, Habana Blues.
* Isabel Coixet, The Secret Life of Words.
Montxo Armendáriz, Obaba.

Best Actor
* Óscar Jaenada, Camarón: When Flamenco Became Legend.
Manuel Alexandre, Elsa & Fred.
Eduard Fernández, The Method / El método.
Juan José Ballesta, 7 Virgins.

Best Actress
Adriana Ozores, Heroína.
* Candela Peña, Princesses.
Emma Vilarasau, Para que no me olvides.
Nathalie Poza, Malas temporadas.

Best Supporting Actor
* Carmelo Gómez, The Method.
Javier Cámara, The Secret Life of Words.
Fernando Guillén, Otros días vendrán.
Enrique Villén, Ninette.

Best Supporting Actress
* Elvira Mínguez, Tapas.
Pilar López de Ayala, Obaba.
Verónica Sánchez, Camarón: When Flamenco Became Legend.
Marta Etura, Para que no me olvides.

Best Original Screenplay
Alberto Rodríguez & Rafael Cobos, 7 Virgins.
Eduard Cortés & Piti Español, Otros días vendrán.
Fernando León de Aranoa, Princesses.
* Isabel Coixet, The Secret Life of Words.

Best Adapted Screenplay
José Luis Garci & Horacio Valcárcel, Ninette.
* Marcelo Piñeyro & Mateo Gil, The Method.
Montxo Armendáriz, Obaba.
Roberto Santiago, El penalti más largo del mundo.

Best New Director
Asier Altuna & Telmo Esnal, Aupa Etxebeste!.
Guillem Morales, El habitante incierto.
* José Corbacho & Juan Cruz, Tapas.
Santiago Tabernero, Vida y color.

Best New Actor
Álex González, Segundo asalto.
Luis Callejo, Princesses.
Pablo Echarri, The Method.
* Jesús Carroza, 7 Virgins.

Best New Actress
Bárbara Lennie, Obaba.
Isabel Ampudia, 15 días contigo.
* Micaela Nevárez, Princesses.
Alba Rodríguez, 7 Virgins.

Best Documentary Feature
* Filmmakers vs. Tycoons / Cineastas contra magnates.
Iberia, dir.: Carlos Saura.
Trece entre mil, dir.: Iñaki Arteta.
Veinte años no es nada, dir.: Joaquín Jordá.

Best Animated Feature
* El sueño de una noche de San Juan, dir.: Ángel de la Cruz & Manolo Gómez.
Gisaku, dir.: Baltasar Pedrosa.

Best Production Manager / Line Producer
Ernesto Chao & Eduardo Santana, Habana Blues.
* Esther García, The Secret Life of Words.
Puy Oria, Obaba.
Tino Pont, Camarón: When Flamenco Became Legend.

Best Cinematography
Javier Aguirresarobe, Obaba.
José Luis Alcaine, Otros días vendrán.
* José Luis López-Linares, Iberia.
Raúl Pérez Cubero, Ninette.

Best Editing
* Fernando Pardo, Habana Blues.
Iván Aledo, The Method.
Julia Juániz, Iberia.
Miguel González Sinde, Ninette.

Best Original Music
Eva Gancedo, La noche del hermano.
* Juan Antonio Leyva, José Luis Garrido, Equis Alfonso, Dayan Abad, Descemer Bueno, Kiki Ferrer & Kelvis Ochoa, Habana Blues.
Pablo Cervantes, Ninette.
Roque Baños, Frágiles.

Best Original Song
Laura,” by Dani Martín, Sinfin, el retorno del rock.
“Los malos amores,” by Eva Gancedo & Yamil, La noche del hermano.
“Llora por tus miserias,” by Mario Gaitán, Bagdad rap.
* “Me llaman calle,” by Manu Chao, Princesses.

Best Art Direction
Félix Murcia & Federico G. Cambero, Para que no me olvides.
* Gil Parrondo, Ninette.
Julio Esteban & Julio Torrecilla, Obaba.
Marta Blasco, Segundo asalto.

Best Costume Design
Bina Daigeler, Princesses.
Janty Yates, El reino de los cielos.
* María José Iglesias, Camarón: When Flamenco Became Legend.
Sonia Grande, Hormigas en la boca.

Best Sound
* Carlos Bonmati & Alfonso Pino & Pelayo Gutiérrez, Obaba.
Eladio Reguero & David Calleja, Los nombres de Alicia.
Miguel Rejas & Alfonso Raposo & Polo Aledo, Princesses.
Miguel Rejas & José Antonio Bermúdez, Ninette.

Best Make-Up and/or Wigs
Jorge Hernández & Fermín Galán, El calentito.
Carlos Hernández & Manolo García, Princesses.
Paillette & Annie Marandin, Los Dalton contra Lucky Luke.
* Romana González & Josefa Morales, Camarón: When Flamenco Became Legend.

Best Special Effects
* David Martí, Montse Ribe, Félix Cordón, Félix Bergés & Rafael Solórzano, Frágiles.
Juan Ramón Molina, Pablo Núñez, Ana Núñez, Antonio Ojeda & Carlos Martínez, Las llaves de la independencia.
Reyes Abades, Carlos Lozano, Alberto Esteban, Pablo Núñez & Ana Núñez, Un rey en La Habana.
Reyes Abades, Chema Remacha, Alberto Esteban & Pablo Urrutia, Obaba.

Best Live Action Short
Bota de oro, dir.: José Luis Baringo & Ramón Tarrés Reguant.
El examinador, dir.: José Antonio Pajares Almeida.
El intruso, dir.: David Cánovas.
Hiyab, dir.: Xavi Sala.
* Nana, dir.: José Javier Rodríguez Melcón.

Best Animated Short
La gallina ciega, dir.: Isabel Herguera.
La leyenda del espantapájaros, dir.: Marco Besas.
La luz de la esperanza, dir.: Ricardo Puertas.
Semilla del recuerdo, dir.: Renato Roldán.
* Tadeo Jones, dir.: Enrique Gato Borregán.

Best Documentary Short
Castilla y León, patrimonio de la humanidad, dir.: Antonio Giménez-Rico.
* En la cuna del aire, dir.: Rodolfo Montero de Palacio.
Nenyure, dir.: Jorge Rivero.

Honorary Award: Pedro Masó.

Spanish Cinema Writers Circle winners

Best Film: The Secret Life of Words.

Best Foreign Film: Million Dollar Baby (U.S.).

Best Director: Isabel Coixet, The Secret Life of Words.

Best Actress (tie): Candela Peña, Princesses; Sarah Polley, The Secret Life of Words.

Best Actor: Óscar Jaenada, Camarón: When Flamenco Became Legend.

Best Supporting Actor: Carmelo Gómez, The Method.

Best Supporting Actress: Elvira Mínguez, Tapas.

Best Original Screenplay: The Secret Life of Words, Isabel Coixet.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Method, Mateo Gil & Marcelo Piñeyro.

Best Cinematography: The Secret Life of Words, Jean-Claude Larrieu.

Best Editing: The Sky Turns, Sol López, Guadalupe Pérez, Julia Juaniz & Laurent Dutreche.

Best Score: Habana Blues, Juan Antonio Leyva, Magda Rosa Galván, José Luis Garrido, Equis Alfonso, Dayan Abad, Descemer Bueno, Kiki Ferrer & Kelvis Ochoa.

Best Newcomer: Mercedes Álvarez, The Sky Turns.

Honorary Medal: José Luis López Vázquez.

Journalism Medal: Julián Marías.

Literary Medal: Ángel Luis Hueso Montón.

Documentary Medal: Joaquín Jordá.

Quinceañera Jesse Garcia Emily Rios: Mexican-American gay + pregnant teens Sundance winner
Quinceañera with Jesse Garcia and Emily Rios. The Fluffer filmmakers Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer’s second feature, Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury and Audience award winner Quinceañera is set in Echo Park, just northwest of downtown Los Angeles, where a couple of Mexican-American cousins (Emily Rios and Jesse Garcia) find themselves cut off from their families; the former because of an unwanted pregnancy, the latter because he’s gay. Meanwhile, wealthy white people are moving into the area, including a good-looking gay couple (Jason L. Wood, David W. Ross) with whom Garcia’s character becomes sexually involved.

Mexican-American L.A. & Sudanese refugees among Sundance Film Festival winners

Screenwriters/directors Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer’s Quinceañera, about a handful of troubled Mexican-American youths whose Los Angeles neighborhood is becoming increasingly white & gentrified, was the winner of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at a ceremony held on Jan. 28.

The U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize was given to Christopher Quinn’s God Grew Tired of Us, which chronicles the experiences of three young Sudanese refugees trying to adjust to life in the United States.

Both Quinceañera and God Grew Tired of Us were also the winners of the Audience Awards in their respective categories.

World Cinema winners: Mexico City freeway & bloody secret society

Juan Carlos Rulfo’s Mexican-made In the Pit / En el hoyo, about the daily lives of those working on the second deck of Mexico City’s Periférico Freeway, won the World Documentary Grand Jury Prize.

The World Dramatic Grand Jury Prize went to 13 (Tzameti), Georgian-born screenwriter-director Géla Babluani’s feature film debut. The relentlessly violent, black-and-white French thriller revolves around a case of mistaken identity, as a young Georgian immigrant (played by the director’s brother, George Babluani) joins a secret society where he takes part in the bloodiest (and stupidest) Russian roulette games.

In case you’re wondering, “Tzameti” means “13” in Georgian.

Astoria memories & accused newborn baby killer

The (U.S.) Best Director was Dito Montiel for A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, which he also wrote. The all-star, autobiographical drama centers on a Los Angeles-based writer (Robert Downey Jr.) who, after his father falls gravely ill, returns to his old New York City neighborhood of Astoria. Shia LaBeouf plays his younger self in the mid-1980s.

Additionally, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints received the Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble. Besides Downey Jr. and LaBeouf, the cast includes Rosario Dawson, Channing Tatum, Chazz Palminteri, Melonie Diaz, Eric Roberts, and two-time Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Dianne Wiest (Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986; Bullets Over Broadway, 1994).

And finally, the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award (U.S.) was given to Hilary Brougher for the mystery drama Stephanie Daley, about a young woman (Amber Tamblyn; daughter of Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Russ Tamblyn [Peyton Place, 1957]) accused of killing her newborn baby.

See below a partial list of this year’s Sundance Film Festival winners. Among those in the various jury panels were Andrew Jarecki, Alexander Payne, Alan Rudolph, Thomas Vinterberg, Wim Wenders, Hector Babenco, and Joan Tewksberry.

Sundance Film Festival winners (partial list)

U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize: Quinceañera.

U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize: God Grew Tired of Us.

World Documentary Grand Jury Prize: In the Pit (Mexico).

World Dramatic Grand Jury Prize: 13 Tzameti (France).

U.S. Director: Dito Montiel, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Hilary Brougher, Stephanie Daley.

U.S. Documentary Director: James Longley, Iraq in Fragments.

U.S. Dramatic Audience Award: Quinceañera.

U.S. Documentary Audience Award: God Grew Tired of Us.

World Dramatic Audience Award: No. 2 (New Zealand), dir.: Toa Fraser.

World Documentary Audience Award: De nadie (Mexico), dir.: Tin Dirdamal.

World Documentary Special Jury Prizes: Into Great Silence / Die große Stille (Germany / Switzerland / France), scr./dir.: Philip Groening; Dear Pyongyang (Japan), scr./dir.: Yonghi Yang.

World Dramatic Special Jury Prize: Eve and the Fire Horse (Canada), scr./dir.: Julia Kwan.

Excellence in Cinematography Award, Dramatic (U.S.): Tom Richmond, Right at Your Door.

Excellence in Cinematography Award, Documentary (U.S.): James Longley, Iraq in Fragments.

Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble: Robert Downey Jr., Shia LaBeouf, Rosario Dawson, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest & Channing Tatum in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.

Jury Prize in U.S. Short Filmmaking (tie): Bugcrush, dir.: Carter Smith; The Wrath of Cobble Hill, dir.: Adam Parrish King.

Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking: The Natural Route (Spain), dir.: Alex Pastor.

Alfred P. Sloan Prize: House of Sand / Casa de Areia, dir.: Andrucha Waddington, scr.: Elena Soarez.

Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website.

Sundance Film Festival website.

Tim Robbins and Sarah Polley The Secret Life of Words image: El Deseo / Mediapro.

Micaela Nevárez and Candela Peña Princesses image: Warner Sogefilms.

Emily Rios and Jesse Garcia Quinceañera image: Sony Pictures Classics.

The Secret Life of Words Tops Goya & Spanish Film Critics Awards + Mexican-American L.A. Wins Sundance” last updated in August 2018.

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