Oscars Academy honors Pedro Almodovar in London

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Iconoclastic director Pedro Almodovar was hailed by Hollywood on Thursday at an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences retrospective in London.

The Spanish filmmaker received tributes from colleagues and admirers, including fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, screenwriter Peter Morgan and fellow director Stephen Frears — who praised Almodovar's "transgressive, inventive" spirit.

Quentin Tarantino, in a video message, said Almodovar was the contemporary director he admired most.

Almodovar is part of a creative generation that emerged after Spain ended decades of dictatorship in the late 1970s. His quirky and sometimes outrageous films helped launch the careers of Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Javier Bardem.

He found international success with "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" in 1988.

Almodovar's 1999 movie "All About My Mother" won the Academy Award for best foreign language film, and he took the best original screenplay Oscar in 2002 for "Talk to Her."

His films — up to last year's "The Skin I Live In" — remain a heady mix of comedy, tragedy, melodrama, music and more.

Almodovar said he was honored to receive recognition from Hollywood — if a bit surprised.

"My way of creating and producing and directing is so different from the big companies," he said. "I represent all the independent filmmakers who deserve recognition.

"For reasons I don't understand, (Hollywood) made an exception for me. Maybe it's because in my films a lot of things happen, and that entertains them."

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