By Nickie Wang
The Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino’s Gawad Urian is setting a trend as more independent and lesser-known films are being recognized by the 32-year-old award-giving body.
Commercially-exhibited films produced by big production outfits were snubbed at the Gawad Urian’s 32nd edition held on Sept. 22, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino.
From nominees to winners, “indies” dominated this year’s Gawad Urian. One of the big winners of the annual movie event was Brillante Mendoza who received the Best Director award for Serbis, which also won Best Film.
Meanwhile, the Best Actress trophy went to Mylene Dizon for 100 and the Best Actor award to actor Ronnie Lazaro for his performance in Yanggaw.
Highlights and sidelights
32nd Urian Best Actor Ronnie Lazaro
Ronnie Lazaro was in high spirits when he receive d his very first Gawad trophy. He perked up the crowd by initially delivering his acceptance speech in Ilongo then proceeded in Tagalog. He said that receiving an Urian trophy is just one of his dreams as an actor. He’s been in the business for 27 years now and he’s overwhelmed by his first best actor recognition from Urian.
Actress Mylene Dizon was with Tomas, her eldest son, when she received the highest award given to an actress in a leading role.
Mylene and Tessie Tomas in 100
“It might sound a cliché but I didn’t expect to win. And I don’t know, I got all nervous when my son said, ‘Mommy let’s go up on stage.’ Nag-dilang anghel siya kasi I won the Best Actress award,” she told reporters right after the program.
Lazaro and Dizon were fortunate that they were able to accept their respective trophies personally. Most of the winners were either promoting their films abroad or doing out-of-town projects.
Brillante is currently in Brazil for a retrospective of his films. Francis Xavier Pasion, who won Best Screenplay for the multi-awarded film Jay, is in Europe according to the person who accepted the award on his behalf. Coco Martin, who won Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Jay, was not able to accept the award. Instead, hosts Butch Francisco and Boots Anson-Roa accepted the trophy and told the audience that the young actor is currently out of town.
Best Supporting Actress winner Aleera Montalla (Yanggaw) didn’t make it on time because of traffic congestion, but she was able to pose for photographers after the program.
Some celebrities made the night more colorful like Jennica Garcia who was visually attractive in black mini dress and Carlene Aguilar in a stunning black gown. But it was Rustom Padilla aka BB Gandanghari who received the loudest applause. It can be recalled that it was also in last year’s Gawad Urian when he first publicly appeared in drag.
This year’s Natatanging Gawad Urian Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred to Peque Gallaga who has directed 36 films, wrote 22 of them, acted in 13 and produced four full-length films. His most significant achievement in film is Oro, Plata, Mata, which he directed after winning a scriptwriting contest sponsored by the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines. The director delivered a 15-minute speech.
Just like the major awards given out, some of the awardees were not able to accept their recognitions but there were some who exerted efforts to grace the program though they did not expect to win.
Other winners were: Odyssey Flores, Serbis (Best Cinematography); Benjamin Padero and Carlo Tabije, Serbis (Best Production Design); Francis Pasion, Kats Serraon, and Chuck Gutierrez, Jay (Best Editing); Popong Landero, Hunghong Sa Yuta (Best Music); Joey Santos and Von De Guzman, Yanggaw (Best Sound); and Milo Tolentino for Andong (Best Short Film).
The night was made entertaining by performances of Bayang Barrios and her ethnic band and Cookie Chua who sang the movie theme song of Yanggaw in a cappella.
(Note from my editor: I told one of the members of the Manunuri to rename their annual awards into Gawad Urian Para sa Mga Hindi Pelikula. … who vehemently defended the group’s decision to embrace the video features as fitm)