J.A. Bayona’s ’A Monster Calls’ wins nine statues
MADRID — In a huge achievement for a first film, actor-turned-director Raul Arevalo’s ‘The Fury of a Patient Man’ took best picture and best first feature at the 31st Spanish Film Academy Goyas on Saturday night.
An outstanding genre-blending romantic drama which soon morphs into a road movie then brutal vengeance thriller, “The Fury of a Patient Man” also snagged original screenplay (“David Pulido, Arevalo) and supporting actor for Manolo Solo.
Produced by Beatriz Bodegas at Madrid-based Canica Films, “Fury” – which is set in a “normal” Spain rarely seen in movies, depicting its bars, roadside motels, card games and family fiestas – seemed as if it would have to settle for a clutch of awards as J.A. Bayona’s “A Monster Calls, ” starring Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver, swept every prize it was nominated for during most of Saturday’s Goya ceremony. But its original screenplay win over “A Monster Calls” suggested it could pull off the big best picture award as well.
For Bayona, who took best director and 10 prizes in all, it was third-time unlucky, having won best first feature in 2008 with “The Orphanage,” then director in 2013 for “The Impossible,” but never taking best picture.
“A Monster Calls” and Alberto Rodriguez’s “Smoke & Mirrors” led nominations, with 12 and 11 category nods – a recognition of the two Spanish directors who have arguably burst onto the scene to largest impact from the turn of the century.
But, though “Smokes & Mirrors” scooped adapted screenplay and breakthrough actor (Carlos Santos), it finally proved to be “Fury’s” night.
“The Fury of a Patient Man” won out at an amiable ceremony attended by Ken Loach, Pedro Almodovar, nominated for “Julieta,” and Penelope Cruz – up for best actress for Fernando Trueba’s “The Queen of Spain.”
Among the night’s other big winners were Emma Suarez, who won best actress for Pedro Almodovar’s “Julieta” and supporting actress for “La Proxima Piel.”
Roberto Alamo claimed an enthusiastically-applauded award for best actor for his tearaway performance as a short-fused cop in Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s harrowing crime thriller “May God Save Us.”
Animator Alberto Vazquez pulled off another double, winning best animation feature (“Psiconautas,” an Annecy competition player) and short (“Decorado,” seen in Directors’ Fortnight).
Yvonne Blake, winner of a costume design Oscar in 1971 for “Nicholas and Alexander” and president of the Spanish Academy of Motion Pictures appeared on stage with Academy VP Mariano Barroso (“Extasis”) to chide Spain’s government at maintaining a 21% sales tax on cinema tickets.
Public financing for Spanish films has slid since the 2008 crisis to €77 million ($83.2 million) under a ruling Popular Party which seems indifferent to Spanish cinema. The Goya ceremony took place after Spanish president Mariano Rajoy admitted he hadn’t seen a Spanish film in a year.
Blake, Barroso and ceremony M.C. Dani Rovira were quick to remind the audience of symptoms of domestic and international recognition for the Spanish cinema this and also last year, such as Pedro Almodovar’s appointment as Cannes jury president and an Oscar nomination for Juanjo Gimenez’s live-action short “Timecode.”
Spanish movies have topped Spain’s box office for five of the last six last years, Barroso observed.
Saturday night’s 31st Goya Awards were also laced by references to the status of women in Spanish cinema. All five best pictures nominees count women among their producers. But of the 78 Spanish fiction features presented for Academy consideration, just 18 were made by women, said Rovira.
Ana Belen, an actress who began as a child star under Franscisco Franco’s dictatorship to become a voice of political conscience during Spain’s transition to democracy, won an honorary Goya for life achievement. Regarding women’s presence in the Spanish cinema, Spain’s figures are “still well below equality,” she said in her acceptance speech.
“Good health and work for this profession which does not merit such scorn from those who govern us,” Belen concluded.
AND THE WINNERS ARE:
“The Fury of a Patient Man,” (Raúl Arévalo)
J.A. Bayona, (“A Monster Calls”)
Raúl Arévalo, (“Fury”)
David Pulido, Raul Arévalo, (“Fury”)
Alberto Rodríguez, Rafael Cobos, (“Smoke and Mirrors”)
Emma Suárez, (“Julieta”)
Roberto Alamo, (“May God Save Us”)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Emma Suárez, (“The Next Skin”)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Manolo Solo, (“Fury”)
Carlos Santos, (“Smoke”)
Anna Castillo, (“The Olive Tree”)
Fernando Velázquez, (“Monster”)
“Ai, ai, ai,” Sílvia Pérez Cruz (“At Your Doorstep”)
“Elle,” (Paul Verhoeven, France, Germany, Belgium)
Óscar Faura, (“Monster”)
“Psychonauts, The Forgotten Children,” (Alberto Vázquez, Pedro Rivero)
“The Distinguished Citizen,” (Gastón Duprat, Mariano Cohn, Argentina, Spain)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Fragile Balance,” Guillermo García López
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
“Timecode,” (Juanjo Giménez)
ANIMATED SHORT FILM
“Decorado,” (Alberto Vázquez)
“Talking Heads,” (Juan Vicente Córdoba)
Bernat Vilaplana, Jaume Martí, (“Monster”)
Sandra Hermida Muñiz (“Monster”)
Paola Torres, (“1898, Our Last Men In The Philippines”)
Eugenio Caballero, (“Monster”)
Peter Glossop, Oriol Tarragó, Marc Orts, (“Monster”)
MAKEUP AND HAIR DESIGN
Marese Langan, David Martí, (“Monster”)
Pau Costa, Félix Bergés, (“Monster”)