‘Thesis’ tops Spanish nods

MADRID – Underscoring the breakthrough of a new generation of helmers in Spain, Alejandro Amenabar’s “Thesis” (Tesis) won the best picture Goya at Saturday’s Spanish film awards.

This is the second consecutive year in which the Spanish film academy’s top plaudit has gone to a first-time director.

A grueling psychological thriller, “Thesis” scooped seven Goyas, including those for new director and original screenplay, fighting off stiff challenges on both counts from David Trueba’s first pic, “The Good Life” (La Buena Vida).

The night’s other best performer was Pilar Miro’s costume comedy “The Dog in the Manger” (El perro del hortelano), which also took seven statues, creaming many technical awards and beating “Thesis” for the actress (Emma Suarez) and direction Goyas.

The most applauded Goyas went to Luis Cuenca, best supporting actor for “The Good Life,” actor Santiago Ramos for his virtuoso leading perf in “Como un relampago,” and most promising actress and actor winners Ingrid Rubio (“Taxi”) and Fede Martinez (“Thesis”). Now in its eleventh year, the Goya Ceremony has often been criticized as a wooden imitation of Hollywood’s Oscars.

But 1997 proved an exception. With a stylish retro set, hosts Carmen Maura and Juanjo Puigcorbe spoke of glitches still plaguing a generally bullish local film industry, with Maura urging exhibbers to show some “solidarity” with U.S. multinationals. Since U.S. films enjoy a 76% market share in Spain, her jest got one of the biggest belly laughs of the night.

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