Juan Antonio Bayona wins director for 'The Impossible'

Pablo Berger’s “Blancanieves” topped Spain’s 27th Spanish Academy Goya Awards Sunday night winning 10 statues, including best film and original screenplay.

Juan Antonio Bayona won director for “The Impossible,” a Lionsgate release in the U.S. that snagged Naomi Watts an Oscar nomination.

Produced by Apaches and Telecinco Cinema, “The Impossible” also scooped awards for sound, editing, line production and special effects.

“Blancanieves” star Maribel Verdu beat Watts, Penelope Cruz (“Twice Born”) and Aida Folch (“The Artist and the Model”) for actress.

A black-and-white, silent reinterpretation of Snow White, unspooling in 1920s bullfighting Seville, “Blancanieves” was lead-produced by Ibon Cormenzana’s Arcadia Motion Pictures.

In other years, “Blancanieves” might have suffered stiffer competition from the three other best pic contenders: “The Impossible,” Fernando Trueba’s 1942 France set “Model,” and Alberto Rodriguez’s Seville social-issue action thriller, “Unit 7.”

Sunday’s Goyas took place, however, with Spain in deep recession and its film industry facing uncertainty over its future film incentives systems. Some Academy members fear — probably wrongly — a surge of English-language filmmaking in Spain.

“A new generation of directors is looking to the future with ambition. There’s nothing wrong in making big films. Spanish cinema needs big, middling and small films,” Bayona said, accepting his director award.

Maybe tipping votes in its favor, “Blancanieves” employed a near totally Spanish cast, though co-produced with France.

In other awards highlights, Javier Bardem won his first Goya as a producer for Alvaro Longoria’s Sahara-set “Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony.”

Enrique Gato’s toon “Tad, the Lost Explorer,” which grossed $24.3 million in Spain, won first-time director, adapted screenplay and animation film.

Oscar-nommed for “Les Miserables,” Paco Delgado scooped best costume design for “Blancanieves.” “The Intouchables” won European Film, “Juan of the Dead” Ibero-American Film.

Spanish movies grossed €106 million ($141.5 million) in Spain last year with “The Impossible” taking $57.8 million, alone — one of the country’s highest annual B.O. trawls.

Addressing Spanish Academy members, its president Enrique Gonzalez Macho lamented, however, “12 months of worries” in 2012: a sales tax hike on cinema tickets from 8% to 21%; rampant piracy, valued at about $4 billion in pirated films; budget cuts at pubcaster RTVE.

(Emilio Mayorga contributed to this report.)

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