MADRID (Hollywood Reporter) - The prison drama "Cell 211" and the ancient Egypt epic "Agora" led the contenders for Spain's version of the Oscars, organizers said Saturday.
Daniel Monzon's "Cell 211" picked up 16 Goya Award nominations, followed by Alejandro Amenabar's "Agora" with 13.
The two films will vie for the top categories of best film and director against Fernando Trueba's "The Dancer and the Thief," with nine nominations, and Juan Jose Campanella's "The Secret in Their Eyes," with eight.
Gone are the days when one strong contender snagged 18 or 19 nominations as the only powerhouse in the Spanish industry. The nominations for 2010 divvy up the biggest nods among a half-dozen titles, such as Daniel Sanchez Arevalo's "Gordos," with eight nominations; Sigfrid Monleon's "The Consul of Sodoma," with six; and Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces," with five.
Penelope Cruz will run a tight race in the actress category for her role in Almodovar's "Embraces" against Maribel Verdu for her part in Francis Ford Coppola's mystery "Tetro," Rachel Weisz in "Agora" and Lola Duenas from "Me Too."
Argentine actor Ricardo Darin will compete in the actor category for his role in "Dancer and the Thief" against Luis Tosar for "Cell 211," Jordi Molla for "Consul of Sodoma" and Antonio de la Torre for "Gordos."
The Spanish Film Academy's Goya Awards will be handed out on February 14 in Madrid. The Goya nominations were selected from 120 eligible Spanish and Latin films released in Spain.