Antonio Banderas didn’t need his Zorro mask to surprise attendees at GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics’ Dorian Awards Winners Toast.
The actor, 59, won the film performance of the year by a male actor for his role in Pain and Glory and showed up unexpectedly with his girlfriend Nicole Kimpel to collect the honor. Though Banderas had of course been invited, GALECA members didn’t know that he’d show up to the Feb. 2 reception.
When guests started to notice the Spain native’s presence at the private Los Angeles residence where the event place, they whispered to each other in shock. Banderas then accepted his trophy, answered some audience questions about his role in Pain and Glory and spoke with PEOPLE about the movie’s awards season journey.
“It has been beautiful,” Banderas told PEOPLE at the Dorian Awards Winners Toast. “We’ve received 20, 25 awards already. The Cannes Film Festival to the Goya Awards in Spain and now a nomination for the Academy Awards. Nominations for the Golden Globes. I am very, very happy.”
The Oscar nominee called Pain and Glory‘s director, his friend and long-time collaborator Pedro Almodóvar, “the best director I ever had.” Banderas plays a fictional version of Almodóvar, a director reflecting on his life as his health fails.
“It has been a very interesting year with a very interesting character — him,” Banderas said of Almodóvar. “It is not actually a biography per se, it’s more of what he calls ‘self-fiction.’ He takes certain segments of his life that were left open and fulfills them. So the movie is about that aspect.”
And Banderas doesn’t think Pain and Glory will mark the end of his teaming up with the Oscar-winning director. “I know that at some point I am going to work with him again,” he said. “I am pretty sure.”