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Amenábar bests Almodóvar at Spain's Goya Awards (14981)

14981Entertainment News2005-02-01

Amenabar bests Almodovar at Spain's Goya Awards

The Sea Inside, a true story of a quadriplegic's battle for the right to die, scooped 14 of Spain's top film awards early on Monday, a month ahead of the Oscars, where it is nominated for best foreign language film. Alejandro Amenabar's film about Ramon Sampedro, who fought for 30 years for the legal right to die after a diving accident paralyzed him from the neck down, picked up awards for best film, best director, best actor, and a host of others.

Javier Bardem, who endured five-hour make-up sessions to gain wrinkles and lose most of his hair for the role, won the Goya award for best actor at a ceremony hosted by Spain's Academy of Cinematic Arts and Sciences. Lola Duenas, whose character eventually helps Sampedro poison himself and record his last moments on video, won best actress. The woman her character was based on confessed earlier this year to placing a glass of cyanide with a straw by Sampedro's bedside in 1998. The film has reignited controversy in mainly Catholic Spain over euthanasia. Previously unknown Mabel Rivera won the best supporting actress award for her portrayal of Sampedro's devoted sister-in-law, heartbroken by his decision to end his life. The movie, set in the harsh, wet countryside of northwest Spain, also picked up best supporting actor, best newcomer actor and actress, best script, best photography, best make-up, and best music--the latter written by Amenabar himself.

The openly gay 32-year-old director became well known outside Spain with his twist-ridden thriller The Others, which starred Nicole Kidman. The Sea Inside, called Mar Adentro in Spanish, had already picked up best director and actor awards at the European Film Awards, best actor and the Jury Grand Prix at the Venice Film Festival, and a Golden Globe. Out Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, who until recently has cast a shadow over his compatriot directors, left the awards empty-handed, after his Mala Educacion lost out to Mar Adentro for best film and director.

Head-On, a film about a suicidal young Turkish-German woman who marries a much older, also suicidal, man with Turkish roots to escape her traditional family, won best European film. Head-On, directed by Fatih Akin, had already scooped prizes at the European and Berlin Film Festivals. The film is currently being distributed in the United States by Strand Releasing.

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