For the first time in its 36-year history, the Goya Awards were held in Valencia. The Goyas are the Spanish version of the Oscars, celebrating cinematic excellence, and just like the Hollywood event, has become a showcase for glamour and fashion. 2021 marked the centennial birthday of Luis García Berlanga — widely recognized as one of the greatest ever Spanish directors. In his honor, the Goyas were relocated to Valencia, the city of his birth. The Palacio de Las Artes Reina Sofía served as a stunning venue for the award show.
Javier, Penelope… and Cate?!
On the weekend of the ceremony, you could sense excitement in the city. There was a giant Goya statue sitting in the Plaza de Ayuntamiento, along with a photo exhibit and light show. World-famous stars were coming to the city, such as Penélope Cruz, Pedro Almodóvar, and Javier Bardem, along with just about anyone famous on the national scale — including actors from the popular Netflix show Money Heist. But the actor who caused the biggest stir at the Goyas was Cate Blanchett. Although she’s neither Spanish, nor had starred in any Spanish productions, she was on-hand to receive the first ever International Award — an honorary type of “lifetime achievement” award.
And of Course, There Were Fireworks
This is Valencia, of course, and it’s impossible for the city to host any type of event, without fireworks. We had visited the opera house on the morning of the ceremony, to check out the preparations and see the red carpet, and spotted a gigantic arrangement of fireworks in the Turia Park. Later that evening, rather than watch the ceremony on TV, I biked back down to the Ciudad de Artes y Ciencias to film the firework. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of security in and around the venue, so I wasn’t able to get the best angle, but did manage to get closer to the fireworks than I expected.
The awards show itself was like any awards show — long, and full of interminable “thank you” speeches. But we were really impressed by how amazing the opera house looked both from the exterior, bathed in colorful lights, and from inside. It was exciting just to know that the president, and some of the world’s biggest stars were sitting in a building we pass by almost daily! As the center of Spain’s movie industry, Madrid probably wouldn’t support this idea, but we think the Goyas should be moved to Valencia permanently!