The Impossible director Juan Antonio Bayona gave the trophy he won at Spain's Goya Awards on Sunday (17Feb13) to the real-life tsunami survivor who inspired his drama.
Bayona received the Best Director prize for his work on The Impossible and left the stage during his acceptance speech to walk into the audience and hand the statue to Maria Belon, whose family's experience of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami served as the basis for the disaster epic.
After returning to the stage, he told the crowd at the Madrid ceremony, "It's good to make big films. It doesn't mean you are arrogant. The Spanish industry needs big, medium and small films."
The Impossible, which starred Ewan MCGregor and Naomi Watts, also picked up honours for Production Design and Special Effects.
Blancanieves, a silent retelling of the Snow White fairy tale, was the evening's big winner, landing 10 statuettes, including Best Film and Best Actress for Maribel Verdu, who played the evil stepmother.
Wardrobe guru Paco Delgado, who is up for an Academy Award for his work on Les Miserables, won a Goya for creating the costumes featured in Blancanieves, while the movie also won Best New Actress for MACarena Garcia and Best Original Score.
French movie Untouchable - known in America as The Intouchables - also took home a prize for Best European Film.
The '12 Years A Slave' director will receive the accolade at the London Film Festival in October.
Critics from all over the world were asked to name the best movie of the past 16 years.