The makers of El Reino (The Realm) were celebrating last weekend after picking up seven Goya awards, the Spanish film industry's 'Oscars'. It failed to pick up the best film statuette, however, being beaten to the mark by Javier Fesser's Campeones (Champions).
The Goyas picked up by El Reino included best original script, best director (Rodrigo Sorogoyen) and one that comes home to Malaga. Local actor Antonio de la Torre, who played the lead role, was finally crowned best actor after 12 previous nominations.
De la Torre played the controversial politician Manuel López Vidal, whose high-class lifestyle, based on illegal activities, was threatening to be exposed after a newspaper caught wind of his illicit affairs.
He was praised by director Rodrigo Sorogoyen for "becoming the person, not the character". De la Torre dedicated his award "to the politicians who wake up every morning wanting to change the world".
Another star of the evening was Jesús Vidal, who was awarded best newcomer for his role in Campeones. Fesser's Goya-winning movie tells the story of a mentally-disabled basketball team, who, in overcoming adversity, learn lessons that help them in their everyday lives.
Vidal expressed his gratitude for the award, not only for him personally, but also for others in the industry with disabilities. Vidal, who is partially sighted, addressed the audience: "Ladies and gentlemen of the Academy, by awarding me with this prize you may not know what you have done for the industry. You have encouraged inclusion, diversity and acceptance."
The awards also had a strong feminist voice. The slogan "Not one more" was a visible reminder of the movement against gender violence, brought to he forefront once more by the CIMA association of women filmmakers. What's more, Eva Llorach, winner of best newcomer actress, told the women in the audience: "In the years when we become invisible, after our forties, fifties and sixties, we are still alive."
The best actress in a leading role award went to Susi Sánchez, for La Enfermedad del Domingo (Sunday's Illness), directed by Malaga-born Ramón Salazar. The movie tells the story of a complicated mother-daughter relationship.
The star-studded audience at the night of the Goyas, held this year in Seville, included Penélope Cruz, dressed by Chanel, and her husband Javier Bardem.
Both international stars were nominated in the best actor categories for their roles in Todos lo Saben (Everybody Knows), but came away empty-handed.