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‘Embrace of the Serpent,’ ‘Ixcanul’ Lead Platino Award Nominations

Penelope Cruz and Ricardo Darin score acting nods

Academy Award-nominated “Embrace of the Serpent,” from Colombia’s Ciro Guerra, and “Ixcanul,” directed by Nicaragua’s Jayro Bustamante, lead nominations for the 3rd Platino Ibero-American Film Awards, whose 13 category candidates were unveiled at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and Buenos Aires Thursday.

Highlighting 2015’s best movies from Latin America, Spain and Portugal, the 3rd Platino award ceremony will take place at Uruguay’s Punta del Este on July 24.

Two multi-prized films of Latin American tragic realism, depicting how indigenous peoples have been plundered and decimated by the so-called modern world, “Ixcanul” and “Serpent” both vie for eight Platino plaudits. Of Latin stars, Penelope Cruz has scored an actress nomination for Spaniard Julio Medem’s “Ma Ma,” where she plays a star-crossed mother; Argentina’s Ricardo Darin, star of Oscar-winning “The Secret in Their Eyes,” shares with fellow “Truman” star Javier Camara, a best actor nom for his perf in friendship drama, from Spain’s Cesc Gay, which is up for five awards.

Best Picture contenders feature “Serpent,” “Ixcanul” and “Truman” and Chilean Pablo Larrain’s “The Club,” about how the Catholic Church shelters fallen priests, nominated in five categories, plus “The Clan,” from Pablo Trapero, about Argentina’s real-life Clan Puccio, a family which from the 1970s kidnapped and murdered wealthy Argentineans with the support of high-ranking military officials.

The fact that the four Latin American titles in the best picture category this year are arthouse protest movies underscores how leading filmmakers from the region are upholding its longstanding social-issue film tradition.

Scaled up by co-production coin and powerfully promoted at times by local broadcasters, movies from the region are, however, breaking through to far larger audiences than social-issue titles of old. Scoring six Platino nominations,  “The Clan,” a Venice Festival best director winner last year, earned $17.2 million for distributor Fox at the Argentine box office, making it Argentina’s third highest-grossing movie of 2015, behind “Minions” and “Inside Out.”

Launched in 2014 by Egeda, a Madrid-based producers’ rights collection society, and driving hard to become the nearest Latin America, Spain and Portugal has to pan-regional Academy Awards, the 2016 Platino shortlist offers no runaway favourite. This is in marked contrast to 2015 when Damian Szifron’s Oscar-nominated “Wild Tales” walked off with eight of the nine jury awards for which it was eligible.

This year, an international jury, working from a nomination long-list announced April 14 in Santo Domingo, looks to have made a large effort to broaden candidatures in many categories. One example: Only one star from a best picture nominated movie, “The Club’s” Antonia Zegers, competes for best actress.

“The field looks far more open this year. 2015’s big successes, whether critical or commercial, are in the running but we have candidates from new countries, such as Guatemala and Peru,” said Miguel Angel Berzal, Egeda and Platino Awards director general.

Category nominations also underline national cinema strengths. Three documentary contenders are from Chile, three animated feature nominees from Mexico. These include plucky rooster tale “Un gallo con mucho huevos,” from Gabriel and Rodolfo Riva Palacio Alatriste, which punched $9.1 million at the U.S. box office, making it the fifth biggest foreign-language hit in the U.S this decade.

The July 24 Platinos gala ceremony will be M.C.-ed by actor-director Santiago Segura, Uruguayan actress Natalia Oreiro and Mexican actor-producer Adal Ramones. Broadcast by TNT for Latin America, the ceremony will be aired in 50 countries, an Egeda press release declared Thursday. Drawn from 11 countries, this year’s 26 nominated movies have been whittled down from 826 movies from Spain, Latin America and Portugal that gained a first theatrical release in the region or were screened by “A” list festivals or Toronto. Total movie count of 826 titles is some 80 up on 2014, Benzal said.

Emilio Mayorga in Barcelona and Anna Marie de la Fuente in Los Angeles contributed to this report

2016 PLATINO IBERO-AMERICAN FILM AWARD NOMINATIONS

BEST PICTURE

“Embrace of the Serpent,” (Ciro Guerra, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela)

“The Clan,” (Pablo Trapero, Argentina, Spain)

“The Club,” (Pablo Larrain, Chile)

“Ixcanul,” (Jayro Bustamante, Guatemala, France)

“Truman,” (Cesc Gay, Spain, Argentina)

DIRECTOR

Alonso Ruizpalacios (“Güeros,”  Mexico)

Pablo Larraín

Cesc Gay

Ciro Guerra

Pablo Trapero

ACTOR

Alfredo Castro (“The Club”)

Damián Alcázar (“Magallanes,” Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Spain)

Guillermo Francella (“The Clan”)

Javier Cámara (“Truman”)

Ricardo Darín (“Truman”)

ACTRESS

Dolores Fonzi (“Paulina,” Argentina)

Elena Anaya (“The Memory of Water,” Chile, Argentina, Spain, Germany)

Antonia Zegers (“The Club”)

Inma Cuesta (“The Bride,” Spain)

Penélope Cruz (“Ma ma,” Spain)

ORIGINAL SCORE

Alberto Iglesias (“Ma ma”)

Federico Jusid (“Magallanes”)

Lucas Vidal (“Nobody Wants the Night,” Spain, France, Bulgaria)

Nascuy Linares (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

Pascual Reyes (“Ixcanul”)

ANIMATED FEATURE

“Capture the Flag,” (Enrique Gato, Spain)

“Top Cat Begins,” (Andrés Couturier, Mexico)

“El Americano 3D,” (Ricardo Arnaiz, Mike Kunkel, Mexico)

“El secreto de Amila,” (Gorka Vázquez, Spain, Argentina)

“Un gallo con muchos huevos,” (Gabriel Riva Palacio Alatriste, Mexico)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“New Girls 24 Hours,” (Mabel Lozano, Spain, Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, Peru)

“The Pearl Button,” (Patricio Guzmán, Chile, Spain)

“Beyond My Grandfather Allende,” (Marcia Tambutti Allende, Chile, Mexico).

“La once,” (Maite Alberdi, Chile)

“The Propaganda Game,” (Álvaro Longoria, Spain)

SCREENPLAY

Cesc Gay, Tomás Aragay (“Truman”)

Ciro Guerra, Jacques Toulemonde (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

Jayro Bustamante (“Ixcanul”)

Pablo Larraín, Guillermo Calderón, Daniel Villalobos (“The Club”)

Salvador del Solar (“Magallanes”)

FIRST FEATURE

“600 Miles,” (Gabriel Ripstein, Mexico)

“Retribution,” (Dani de la Torre, Spain)

“Ixcanul,” (Jayro Bustamante, Guatemala)

“Magallanes,” (Salvador del Solar)

“The Boss, Anatomy of a Crime,” (Sebastián Schindel, Argentina, Venezuela)

EDITING

César Díaz (“Ixcanul”)

Eric Williams (“Magallanes”)

Etienne Boussac, Cristina Gallego (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

Jorge Coira (“Retribution”)

Pablo Trapero, Alejandro Carrillo Penovi (“The Clan”)

ART DIRECTION

Angélica Perea (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

Bruno Duarte, Artur Pinheiro (“Arabian Nights: Volume 2 – The Desolate One”)

Jesús Bosqued Maté, Pilar Quintana (“The Bride”)

Pilar Peredo (“Ixcanul”)

Sebastián Orgambide (“The Clan”)

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Arnaldo Rodríguez (“Water”)

David Gallego (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

Luis Armando Arteaga (“Ixcanul”)

Miguel Ángel Amoedo (“Bride”)

Sergio Armstrong (“The Club”)

SOUND

Vicente D’Elía, Leandro de Loredo, (“The Clan”)

David Machado, Jaime Fernández, (“Retribution”)

Carlos García, Marco Salavarría (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

Eduardo Cáceres, Julien Cloquet (“Ixcanul”)

Federico Esquerro, Santiago Fumagalli, Edson Secco (“Paulina”)

Vicente D’Elía, Leandro de Loredo (“The Clan”)

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