The Goya Awards, Spain's equivalent of the Academy Awards, were handed out in Madrid tonight. It was an evening of firsts, including an acting award for an American and directing honors for a Spaniard of African descent.
Benicio del Toro won the best actor award for his role in the Steven Soderbergh film, "Che." The native of Puerto Rico was greeted warmly by the audience, including shouts of, "¡GUAPO!" Del Toro thanked Soderbergh, the movie's director, as well as Sean Penn for his help and support.
A veteran of the Spanish cinema industry, Carme Elías, won her first Goya as best actress for her role in "Camino." This controversial movie about the final days of the terminally ill daughter of a religious family is “inspired” by real events. It won 6 awards in total, including best supporting actor for Catalan, Jordi Dauder.
Penélope Cruz won her third Goya for her role in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." This was the first time she won the award as supporting actress, rather than best actress, and her first Goya for a non-Spanish speaking role.
The best new director nod went to Santiago Zannou for "El Truco de del Manco." ("The One Armed Trick.") The film tells the story of a disabled young man who, with the help of a friend, tries to realize his dream of opening a music studio. Zannou, the first Afro-Spaniard to win a Goya, also wrote the script. The production won three awards in total, including best song and best new actor, Juan Manuel 'El Langui' Montilla.
Screenwriter and director Javier Fesser collected awards for best original screenplay and best director for the previously mentioned "Camino." "Camino" also won the Goya for best film of the year, beating out "The Oxford Murders," "Los Girasoles Ciegos," and "Sólo Quiero Caminar."
The Goya's are awarded each year by the Spanish Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences. (Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España.)
For a complete list of this year's Goya winners, click here.