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Cruz,
Volver take top Spanish film awards

Cruz,
Volver take top Spanish film awards

The tragicomic tale of a mother's survival, Volver swept to a triumphant victory at Spain's top film awards early on Monday, grabbing Best Movie, Best Director, and Best Actress for Oscar hopeful Penelope Cruz.

The movie, set in Spain's barren La Mancha region, won five prizes at the Goya awards ceremony in Madrid, beating out Pan's Labyrinth, which was last week chosen ahead of Volver as a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at next month's Oscars.

Volver tells the story of Raimunda, played by Cruz, a young and hardworking wife of an unemployed husband whose roving eye falls upon her teenage daughter. At the same time, Raimunda's sister has begun seeing the ghost of their dead mother, visions that lead to the unraveling of a mystery that has strained family relations.

Holding back tears as she gripped her award statue, Cruz thanked Spanish director Pedro Almodovar for what she said was one of the best experiences of her life. She will be hoping to make a similar speech in Hollywood on February 25, after becoming Spain's first-ever nominee in the Oscars' Best Actress category.

Almodovar's award was his second Goya for Best Director, but the maker of All About My Mother stayed away, blaming nerves. In 2005 he resigned his seat at the Spanish Film Academy over the way films were judged for the competition.

Pan's Labyrinth, by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, scooped seven awards at the glittering ceremony, including Best Script, plus Best New Actress for young star Ivana Baquero.

The film, billed as an "adult fairy tale," is the story of a girl who learns about good and evil from a fawn in the Spanish forest shortly after the country's civil war.

The Best Leading Actor award went to Juan Diego, who plays a father disgruntled at the reappearance of his grown-up son in Vete de Mi.

He beat Spanish-speaking New York actor Viggo Mortensen, best known as Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, who starred as swashbuckling Spanish hero Alariste. The film, the most expensive ever made in Spain at $28 million, picked up three awards out of 15 nominations. (Reuters)

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