SEVILLE - The Spanish film academy's Goya Awards paid tribute on Saturday to the late Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura, while French actress Juliette Binoche picked up an international honorary award.

Saura, who died on Friday aged 91, had been due to receive the academy's honorary Goya Award at the annual ceremony.

It was awarded posthumously, and to applause his widow Eulalia Ramón read out Saura's own words, written before his death: "I am sorry I cannot be with you".

The filmaker was credited with leading the awakening of Spain's art cinema after decades of fascist dictatorship under Francisco Franco.

"As Bestas", which is Galician for "The Beasts" and is a tense thriller, won nine accolades including for best film, director, actor and music.

Spanish movie star Penelope Cruz was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in "En Los Margenes", a film about housing problems. The category was won by Susi Sanchez for her role in "Lullaby".

(Reporting by Graham Keeley, Elena Rodriguez, Marcelo del Pozo Editing by Frances Kerry)