By John Hopewell
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Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s modern-day feminist Western, “The Beasts,” already a box office breakout in France and Spain, swept nine prizes including film, director, and original screenplay on Saturday at a celebratory 37th Goya Awards, given Spain’s big fest prizes and rally at its home box office.
The upbeat mood was tempered inevitably by the death of Carlos Saura, one of Spanish cinema’s greats and this year’s Goya of Honor, on Friday.
In a rare departure, a foreign actor, France’s Denis Ménochet (“Inglorious Basterds”) took best actor, winning for his marvellous turn in the conflict-negotiation themed “The Beasts,” as a French settler in modern-day deep Galicia who finally refuses to back down when taunted by locals. His attitude contrasts pointedly with his wife’s.
Produced by Movistar+ and Atípica Films, “Prison 77,” the movie of clearest big production ambitions – the sort of film which will probably now only be made by platform, national or global, or in international co-production – took a bunch of technical awards, in fierce composition with “The Beasts.”
An ebullient Juliette Binoche received an International Goya Award from Isabel Coixet. “It’s not enough to be an actress. One must transmit happiness, hope,” she said of her philosophy after 40 years of acting.
In key categories, endorsed last year on its release by Pedro Almodóvar as “the best Spanish debut for years,” Alauda Ruiz de Azúa’s “Lullaby” walked off with best first feature, as well as actress (Laia Costa) and supporting actress (Susi Sánchez) plaudits, a bullish trawl for the maternity drama.
Uniko producer Ivan Mimambres completed a rare double, winning animation feature and short for Alberto Vázquez’s “Unicorn Wars” and Pablo Polledri’s “Loop” respectively.
With the stage backed by an enormous photo of Carlos Saura, as if just about to raise his inseparable hand camera to take a photo, Carmen Maura, whom he directed in 1990’s “Oh, Carmela,” paid an early on stage tribute to the director.
“I’m so sorry I never told him the impact he had on me forever as an actress, she said, tears welling up.
Actor Eulalia Ramón, Carlos Saura’s widow, read out a note Saura dictated just days before his death. “I would be happy if I’ve served as some inspiration for the directors of today. I see myself as a shooting star in the immensity of the cosmos. Always I’ve said that imagination is quicker than the speed of light.”
In other highlights, Telmo Irureta won supporting actor for his performance in Fernando Franco’s “Rite of Spring” about an insecure woman who begins a physical relationship with a man with cerebral palsy, Irureta’s condition for the last two years.
Breaking with the tradition of the Goya ceremony as an echo chamber for industry protest, Fernando Méndez-Leite, the new Spanish Academy president, underscored that “It seems by common consent that Spanish cinema is going through a good moment.”
Indeed, Spanish movies scored a 22% share in 2022, thanks to a broad cross-section of films, the third best result this last decade. Aiding that is the support of Spain’s government, whose prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, a film buff, attended the Ceremony. The film protection fund of state agency ICAA has risen 53% to $114.91 million in 2023, a historical record.
2023 37TH GOYA AWARDS
And the winners are:
GOYA OF HONOR AWARD
Rodrigo Sorogoyen (“The Beasts”)
Alauda Ruiz de Azua (“Lullaby”)
Laia Costa (“Lullaby”)
Denis Ménochet (“The Beasts”)
Susi Sánchez (“Lullaby”)
Luis Zahera (“The Beasts”)
Isabel Peña, Rodrigo Sorogoyen (“The Beasts”)
Isa Campo, Fran Araujo & Isaki Lacuesta (“One Year, One Night”)
Álex de Pablo (“The Beasts”)
Olivier Arson (“The Beasts”)
“Sintiéndolo Mucho,” (Joaquín Sabina & Leiva for “Sintiéndolo Mucho”)
Telmo Irureta (“The Rite of Spring”)
Laura Galán (“Piggy”)
INTERNATIONAL GOYA AWARD
“Unicorn Wars,” (Alberto Vazquez)
“Argentina 1985,” (Santiago Mitre, Argentina)
“The Worst Person in the World,” (Joachim Trier, Norway)
“Labordeta, Un Hombre Sin Más,” (Gaizka Urresti & Paula Labordeta)
LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM
“Arquitectura Emocional 1959,” (León Siminiani)
ANIMATED SHORT FILM
“Loop,” (Pablo Polledri)
“Maldita: A Love Song to Sarajevo,” (Amaia Remírez García & Raúl de la Fuente)
Alberto del Campo (“The Beasts”)
Manuela Ocón (“Prision 77”)
Fernando García (“Prison 77”)
Pepe Dominguez del Olmo (“Prison 77”)
Aitor Berenger, Fabiola Ordoyo & Yasmina Praderas (“The Beasts”)
MAKEUP AND HAIR DESIGN
Yolanda Piña & Félix Terreno (“Prison 77”)
Ana Rubio, Esther Ballesteros (“Prison 77”)