MADRID – David Trueba’s “Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed,” Gracia Querejeta’s “15 Years and One Day” and Daniel Sanchez Arevalo’s “Family United” will face off with Fernando Franco’s “Wounded” and Manuel Martin Cuenca’s “Cannibal” for the top awards at 2014’s 28th Goya Awards, Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars.
Lacking a box office juggernaut such as 2013’s “The Impossible” which faced off with breakout “Blancanieves,” this years Goya race looks like a five horse race and one of the most even-balanced contests in recent years.
Every title has something to recommend it. Trueba’s “Living,” a period drama which screens at the Palm Springs Festival, is the only film to snag noms all the top picture, director, screenplay and actor/actress categories.
Arevalo’s “Family” has more nods – 11 to “Cannibal’s” eight, “Years’” seven and “Living’s” six – but missing out on actor, actress given it’s an ensemble family comedy set at a wedding the say of the world Cup soccer final – which instead scored two supporting actor noms.
Spain’s Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts chose “15 Years” as its foreign-language Oscar entry submission.
“Cannibal” has sold worldwide, rolling off a Toronto Festival world premiere, and a best actor favorite Antonio de la Torre, along with “Living’s” Javier Camara.
Facing off in main competition with “Cannibal” and “Living,” “The Wound” won best actress and a special jury prize at September San Sebastian Festival.
In a year of continuing economic austerity and 26% unemployment, the Spanish Academy’s top Goya candidate may have more in common than in many years. Franco is a first-time feature director though an editor whose career reaches back to the turn of the century.
Beyond that, all the best picture candidates are helmed by established and admired directors backed by production houses which are still making movies in Spain: Fernando Trueba P.C. (“Living”), Tornasol (“15 Years”) and Alejandro Amenabar producer Mod Producciones which as a co-producer on “Cannibal” and “Family United” and “Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang” scored 23 Goya noms in all.
All five films turn on characters who attempt to forge relationships despite often formidable obstacles: the protagonist of “Wounded” suffers undiagnosed borderline personality disorder, “Cannibal’s” turns on a tailor who eats women, “United” has a family son who has to get married when Spain is playing a world cup soccer final.
Of other titles with significant nomination counts, Alex de la Iglesia’s “Witching & Bitching” scored 10 noms, mostly in craft categories.
The 28th GoyaAward ceremony takes place Feb. 9.