With each passing year, the Premios Platino of Iberoamerican Cinema cements itself more and more as a worthy alternative to traditional Hollywood awards. The Premios’ objective – to acknowledge film achievements from Latin America, Spain, and Portugal – has become a unifying celebration; one that has the resources, talent, and multinational collaboration to rival the Oscars or European Film Awards. In an effort to truly be an intercontinental affair, each year a different city is selected for the event – and this year, Madrid will play host.

Selected from dozens of eligible candidates, the nominees for the awards’ fourth edition were announced last week in Los Angeles by a group of celebrated actors and film personalities that included Netflix’s Ingobernable star Kate del Castillo, Mexican-American legend Edward James Olmos, CNN en Español’s entertainment guru Juan Carlos Arciniegas, and actors Angie Cepeda and Miguel Ángel Silvestre.

Premios Platino 2017 nominee announcement. Courtesy of Premios Platino.

Cinema heavyweight and recent Cannes jury president, Pedro Almodóvar received his first Premios Platino nomination for Best Director for his mother-daughter drama Julieta. Pedro is joined by prolific Chilean auteur Pablo Larraín for his Golden Globe-nominated Neruda, respected Brazilian director Kleber Mendoça Filho for Aquarius, Argentine duo Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn for The Distinguished Citizen, and fellow Spaniard Juan Antonio Bayona for his English-language stunner A Monster Calls. This is by far the strongest bunch of filmmakers honored by these young awards to date.

‘Julieta’ film still, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Lorenzo Vigas’ Venezuelan LGBT Venice winner From Afar was one of the most acclaimed Latin American films last year and earned four mentions: Best Iberoamerican Debut, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Actor for Alfredo Castro’s haunting performance. Other nominees in the acting races include veteran thespian Damián Alcázar for The Thin Yellow Line, Luis Gnecco for bringing Neruda to life, and Óscar Martínez as a Nobel Prize-winner returning to his hometown in The Distinguished Citizen – a film that sadly still doesn’t have US distribution.

Mexico is well represented with a nomination for cinematographer Carolina Costa for The Chosen Ones, Anwar Safa’s El Jeremías as Best Educational Values in a Feature Film, and Celso García, whose Thin Yellow Line earned four nominations including Best Screenplay. Among the five chosen features in the Best Animated Film category, Spain’s dark fantasy Birdboy: The Forgotten Children is by far the standout. The film will be released in the US this fall via GKIDS – a distributor with 9 Oscar nominations under its belt.

Sonia Braga in ‘Aquarius’. Still courtesy of CinemaScópio.

The Best Actress category is a showdown between Sonia Braga, who as Doña Clara in Aquarius delivered the best performance of her career, and beloved Spanish star Emma Suarez in Julieta. The latter also stars in Michel Franco’s Cannes-winner April’s Daughter. Colombian documentary Todo Comenzó por el Fin is a highlight of that category.
Premios Platino 2017 will take place on July 22 at La Caja Magica in Madrid and will be broadcast across Iberoamerica.

Take a look at the full list of nominees here.