Almodovar's acceptance speech--We translate the delightfully muddled thanks from the director of ''All About My Mother''

By Ken Tucker
April 07, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Another year, another wacky Romance language to decipher. Taking a page from the Roberto Benigni Academy Awards playbook, Oscar-winning foreign-film director Pedro Almodovar (All About My Mother) both thrilled and confused millions with a delightfully incoherent acceptance speech delivered in a little-known dialect of Spanglish. In case you didn’t have your Berlitz handy, we took the liberty of translating:

[Runs up and hugs presenters Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz.] My God. Don’t you think they are one of the more beautiful couple? At least, Spanish couple. You know, I come from a, uh, buh, country, from a culture very different from this. And, you know, in that country now, is six years in the morning. So let me dedicate this to the Spanish people that are watching TV now, and they sacrifice their Monday just to look you and me with this. I mean, this is for Spain.

[A drumbeat indicating that they’re ready to shuffle him off. He puts down his statue and pulls out a piece of paper.] I, ah, will be very quick. Sorry — you have to applaud, you also have to be very quick. Ah, you know, I also want to thank my sisters Maria Jesus and Antonia, for the amount of candles that they lit to their favorite saints during the last months — you know, culture different. Thanks to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Virgin of La Cabeza, La Milagrosa, the Sacred Heart of Mary, uh, San Judas Tadeo, and, uh, El Jesus de Medinacelli. I told you that we, we live in a different country, a different culture.

Eh, Harvey Weinstein. Well, listen, so for yes to Harvey, one idea, mmm, what, consider my sisters’ Oscar campaign. You know, they, they, yes, eh — lighting a lot of candles to these saints, presided by a photograph of my mother with Penelope and me. Eh, next to a twig of laurel, which brings good luck. [Music starts.]

So I think now I’m going to be leaving all this. [Motions to paper he’s holding.] Well, excuse me. Thanks! Thanks to Sony Classic, because really they believe a lot in, in our movie. What, I’m very quick, anyway. And of course, I… [Picks up statue; Banderas tries dragging him off.] I take this. Please, to my brother! And to all of us! [Motions to audience.] And to all the Spanish people! Bye-bye! I have to leave!