Spanning five decades, FAMAS has become a big part of VSR’s long career. Twelve Best Actress nominations (1972 – 1988) with five wins (1972, 81, 82, 87, 88) that earned her the Hall of Fame Award in 1989. The Hall of Fame award prohibits her to compete in consecutive years, which made FAMAS create a special award, called Circle of Excellence Award, aimed at recognizing the work of any artist inducted to the hall of fame which Vilma received in ’92 and ’93. Vilma also receive nominations in supporting roles in 1965 and 68, first at a very young age of 13 for her title role film Maria Cecilia and again as a sixteen year old for Kasalanan Kaya. She received her first win as a child actress in 1963 and continued to harvest FAMAS accolades as a leading actress from 1972 to 1988 and as a film producer in 1978. The recognitions climaxed in 1998 with a lifetime achievement award. FAMAS renewed their admiration this year by giving her again an equally important citation, the Exemplary Achievement Award as part of their 2008 winners. FAMAS unofficial web-site, featured a brief description of this recognition:
“The stellar achievement in politics, motion picture and television industries of Star for All Seasons and acknowledged Longest-Reigning Box-Office Queen Vilma Santos has necessitated the creation of yet another FAMAS special award: the Exemplary Achievement Award, an award given only to previous Lifetime Achievement Award recipients who have shown continued blossoming and achievement in the movie industry, as well as in other fields. The actress, who is also the incumbent governor of Batangas province, was not able to make it to the Gabi ng Parangal due to short notice, but she was able to send a video message acknowledging her award. It can be remembered that the FAMAS created a special award for Vilma Santos’ portrayal in Sinungaling Mong Puso in 1992. By technicality as a Hall of Famer, she cannot receive a regular FAMAS Award, so she was awarded an accolade higher than the Hall of Fame: the Circle of Excellence. This year, that instance is again repeated, a testament to the Star for All Seasons’ durability and penchant for excellence and achievement. Santos is also the recipient of yet another special award this awards season, the Ulirang Artista (Lifetime Achievement Award) of the Star Awards for Movies.” Here are the highlights of her history with FAMAS
The First – As Trudis Liit, the 9 years old Vilma Santos, earned her very first FAMAS. The 12th FAMAS Awards considered back then as Philippines’ equivalent of OSCAR and held at the Fiesta Pavilion of Manila Hotel on March 21, 1964 proclaimed Vilma as their best child actress. Vilma is now a bubbly 11 years old. She joined a prestigious co winners, (her future leading man in so many box office hits) Eddie Rodriguez, best actor winner for Sapagkat Kami’y Tao Lamang and Charito Solis, winner for Best Actress for Angustia.
Transitions – Transitioning from child actress to young adult, Vilma Santos ventured into dramas in later part of the 60s. As musicals genre peaked into the later part of this decade, her occasional dramas earned recognition from FAMAS. She portrayed Imee Marcos in the best picture, best actor, actress nominated film, Iginuhit ng Tadhana, Marcos propaganda film. But it was in Maria Cecillia that earned her first best supporting actress nominations, at a tender age of 13. The 1965 FAMAS didn’t produce her a statue but the nomination wasn’t just a fluke, FAMAS gave her another supporting role nomination in their 17th event. Now, a sweet sixteen, she proved that she can compete with the musical genre teen stars and flexing her talent as a future dramatic artist, she earned citation for her role in 1968’s “Kasalanan Kaya?,” a dramatic film starring the unbeatable Rodriguezes, Lolita and Eddie. Kasalanan was nominated for Best picture together with De Colores another Vilma Santos film, but the award went to Charito Solis starrer Igorota. Vilma Santos’ nomination didn’t earn her the trophy yet (Lourdes Medel won for Salamisim). And it’s not only Vilma. Kasalanan failed to win the best actor and best actress for Lolita and Eddie. The only consolation for the film was it won for technical awards, Best story for Liza Moreno, Best black and white photography (cinematography) for Ricardo Remias and Best Musical Score for Tony Maiquez.
Leading Roles – The year was 1972, FAMAS was still considered the only credible award giving body in the Philippines. The musical still rampant but slowly but surely the young rivalry of Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos is forming another path. The race for who is the better actress started with both teen stars venturing to dramatic film roles. With Nora’s And God Smiled At Me and Vilma’s Dama De Noche, the fight went from box office queens, miss Philippines movies into a more serious title of best actress. The hype started with both entering their films to 1972 Quezon City Film Festival. Nora won the best actress despite a heated protest from Vilma’s camp. Indeed, Nora’s machine of supporters were on top of things. She will venture into several film projects under her own film outfit NV productions and she is well positioned to emerge on top come the yearly acting race. Come, 1973, the 21st FAMAS was indeed a fight between the young stars. Nora wasn’t nominated for And God Smile At Me, instead she was nominated for A Gift of Love, the best actress went into a tie. Considered a veteran, Boots Anson Roa, winner for her comedic performance opposite the very young and still leading actor of this time, Joseph Estrada in Tatay Na Si Erap. Roa shared the honor with Vilma Santos for her portrayal of opposite character twin sister in Dama De Noche. The very first best actress award for Vilma, it was a sweet revenge from the very first battle at the QFF and there will be more to come, not only from FAMAS but the other award giving bodies that will follow. A small note, Nick Romano won best supporting actor for another Vilma Santos film, Tatlong Mukha ni Rosa Vilma.
Turn of Events – It took Vilma Santos five long years to get attention from FAMAS again. The reason mainly because she has concentrated to do more commercial films. Lipad Darna Lipad, Darna and The Giants, Dyesebel, Wonder Vi, Batya’t Palu Palo, Tagulan sa Tag araw were record hits, earning her box office queen titles. By 1977, a renegade group of critics, some were previously members of FAMAS formed their own award, the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino was born, they called their award, GAWAD URIAN. FAMAS found a very resilient rivalry with the newly formed group. In the coming years, the new group will earn the reputation for being the most credible award giving bodies in the country. Sadly, and despite its long history, FAMAS is now considered only third or fourth in terms of importance or relevance. By having two award giving bodies, Vilma Santos doesn’t have the upper hand in terms of competition for the best actress. Nora Aunor has become the front runner, in fact the newly formed URIAN, graciously crowned her as their first best actress in 1977 for Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos. For their 26th FAMAS, Susan Roces (Maligno) reigned over Nora Aunor nominated surprisingly for Bakya Mo Neneng and Vilma Santos for her controversial film, Burlesk Queen. Probably, to compete with the newly form URIAN, FAMAS changed their top award, instead of one best picture, they handed out three, one for drama, comedy and musical. Despite this, Burlesk Queen, Vilma’s bet only earned nominations, including one each for Rosemarie Gil and Roldan Aquino for their supporting roles. On a lighter note, Mat Ranillo III, received his first FAMAS for best supporting actor in a Vilma Santos drama, Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig.
New Harvest – Despite the drought, Vilma Santos position herself into a more serious contender. Accepting more challenging, upbeat roles and producing films like Mga Rosas sa Putikan and Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak. Nora Aunor has dominated the accolade of critics but Vilma Santos reigned supreme at the box office. Come 1979, both FAMAS and URIAN recognized Vilma’s effort. Her film directed by the flamboyant Celso Ad Castillo, her director on such hits, Burlesk Queen and Tagulan sa Tagaraw, made a first rate film, Pagputi Ng Uwak was an art film, deserving of all its awards. Vilma got the 1978 Best Picture award as producer together with a string of technical honours for best screenplay for Castillo, Lando Jacob and Ishko Lopez, best director for Castillo, cinematography for Romeo Vitug, musical score for George Canseco, and a deserving best supporting actress to veteran Angie Ferro. Despite the failure of the film to earn the major acting awards for Vilma Santos and Bembol Rocco, the film dominated both award giving bodies and its now considered classic and one of the best Filipino films of all time by many critics. If you ask, Susan Roces was the spoiler of the race between Nora and Vilma. Nora was nominated for Atsay while Vilma for Pagputi. At URIAN, Beth Bautista, did the spoiler. She won for Hindi sa Iyo ang Mundo, Baby Porcuna. The following year at the 1979 FAMAS, Vilma was nominated for her self produced film directed by Eddie Rodriguez, Halik sa Paa, Halik sa Kamay, the trophy went to Nora Aunor for Ina Ka ng Anak Mo.
The Race is ON – By late 70s, Nora Aunor started to position herself as the real contender for the award races. By this time, Lolita Rodriguez, Charito Solis and Susan Roces are making few films, slowly making both Aunor and Santos the prominent names in the award. But the lack of recognition for Santos made her disillusion sometimes. It was reported that she seems reluctant and lukewarm to attend award ceremonies after the consecutive defeats particularly in local film festivals. The lack of recognition from the two award giving bodies this time didn’t help either. By 1981, Vilma’s commercial films were good enough to get some recognitions, her film Langis At Tubig earned a best picture, best director, and best actress nomination from FAMAS. Dindo Fernando won the best actor and best theme song for George Canseco. Both won for Langis at Tubig. Canseco aldo won another award, this time for best musical score for another Vilma movie, Miss X. The next year, Vilma Santos, noticeably absent from the awards night at the local festival where she won a best actress award. At the 30th FAMAS ceremonies held at the MET. Pakawalan Mo Ako, a smashed hit directed by Elwood Perez, earned a best picture, best actor (Christopher De Leon), best supporting actor (Anthony Castelo), best director (Perez), nods as well as Vilma’s 2nd win after so many (her fifth after Dama De Noche) nominations.
The Slam and afterwards – By 1983, there were four major award giving bodies in the country. CMMA or Catholic Mass Media Awards, headed by Cardinal Jaime Sin, the newly formed Film Academy of the Philippines (now the Luna Awards, the equivalent of OSCAR), the Gawad URIAN and FAMAS. Four award giving bodies; all has given their coveted best actress to Vilma Santos, earning her the very first of four grand slam best actress. This was for her controversial role as mistress in Bernal’s Relasyon. At 30 years of age, Vilma Santos has declared the sole winner of this year’s four award derbies despite the solid fight from Nora Aunor’s Elsa in another Bernal film, Himala. FAMAS not only gave the best actress to Vilma, they also recognized two other Vilma Santos starrers, both glossy and commercially made by Viva Films. Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan and Sinasamba Kita got best picture nods. For best actor, Christopher de Leon was nominated for Relasyon and Dindo Fernando for Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan. For the best actress, Nora was not nominated for Himala, she got the nod for Mga Uod at Rosas. In other acting category, Tommy Abuel and Cherie Gil were nominated for Gaan as well as Rio Locsin for Haplos. The three got the supporting nominations. Meanwhile Mark Joseph Enriquez, the ailing son of Vilma in Gaano was recognized with a best child actor nomination. Danny Zialcita was nominated for best director, again for Gaano but Eddie Garcia got the trophy for Sinasamba Kita. Gaano dominated the technical awards, Best story for Tom Adrales, best screenplay for Adrales and Zialcita, best editing for Ike Jarlego, Jr, best musical score, theme song for George Canseco and best sound for Vic Macamay.
The next year, the 32nd FAMAS awards was held at the Metropolitan Theatre, Broken Marriage by Regal Films got nominations for best actor Christopher de Leon and best actress for Vilma Santos as well as best picture and best director for Ishmael Bernal. Eddie Garcia was co winner for best actor (for Vilma Santos’ Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan Ang Nakaraan) with Fernando Poe, Jr. for Umpisahan Mo, Tatapusin Ko. Both Vilma and Nora failed to win the best actress, Charito Solis won for Don’t Cry for Me, Papa. A mixed of Vilma Santos starrer earned nods for different artists: best supporting actress nomination for Armida Siguion in Paano Ba Ang Mangarap, best child actress for Harlene Bautista in Broken Marriage, best director nomination for Eddie Garcia in Paano Ba Ang Mangarap. Technical awards went to Nerissa Cabral for best story, Andrea Benedicto and Orlando Nadres for best screenplay, best Cinematography went to Romeo Vitug, and best theme song went to George Canseco, all for Paano Ba Ang Mangarap.
The following year, Vilma Santos was not even nominated at FAMAS for her monumental role as the activist nun in Sister Stela L. The Manunuri gave Vilma her third consecutive best actress, a feat at that time. At the 33rd FAMAS, held at Araneta Coliseum, Sister Stella L was nominated for best picture against Nora’s Bulaklak ng City Jail. Both lost to FPJ’s Ang Padrino. Noranians did not mind the lost as their bet won the best actress tied with Sharon Cuneta for Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin. The consolation for the fans of Vilma was the number of recognitions earned by artists connected to her films. Philip Salvador got a best actor nomination for Alyas Baby Tsina. Best Actor nomination for Muling Buksan ang Puso and Best supporting actor nomination for Alyas Baby Tsina both for Dindo Fernando. Best supporting actress nomination for Laurice Guillen, Sister Stella L. and Caridad Sanchez, Alyas Baby Tsina. Best director nomination for Mike de Leon, and editing Jess Navarro both for Sister Stella L. The sole winner for Sister Stella L was for best supporting actor, won by Tony Santos, Sr. On a lighter note, Charito Solis was inducted to the HALL OF FAME as she won her fifth best actress the previous year.
At the 34th FAMAS (1985), Vilma Santos’ film Muling Buksan Ang Puso earned her ninth best actress nominations. Her co-star Dindo Fernando got the best actor nod. The following year, Vilma got another nomination, for the box office hit, Palimos ng Pag-Ibig. Her co-stars Edu Manzano and Dina Bonnevie were nominated for best actor and supporting actress respectively. They all failed to take home the awards, only George Canseco was lucky enough, he won for best musical score.
New Dawn – The 36th FAMAS Awards (1987), held at Manila Hotel on May 6, 1988 earned Vilma her fourth best actress after ten nominations. She is now 35 and still making movies between Viva and Regal alternately. Her occasional outing outside the two major movie companies at that time rewarded her a breakthrough performance. Feminist said it was a gender-bending role. Little female character has graced the local screen more importantly those role of female serial killer. The Manunuri, was noticeably absent this year declaring no films deserve their citations. Vilma did three films. Two earned honours from this year’s FAMAS. Viva’s Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-Ibig won top honors in addition to best actress trophy for Vilma in VH Films’ Tagos ng Dugo. Vilma’s stiff competition wasn’t from her perennial rival Nora but from equally deserving Lorna Tolentino in Brocka’s Maging Akin Ka Lamang. Saan Nagtatago won best director award for Eddie Garcia, best story for Gilda Oblidado, best cinematography for Romy Vitug, best sound for Rolly Ruta and nominations for Gloria Romero and Tonton Gutierez for acting.
The following year, Vilma hit the jackpot. After 11 nominations with four wins, her twelfth nomniation produced her an unexpected win. It elevated her to the hall of fame status. All artist who wins five automatically put them to the hall of fame list. It is a big honour but prohibit any one on the list to compete in the future for the same category. Regal films’ Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos, directed by Elwood Perez was a surprised winner. Not only it earned Vilma her fifth award as best actress, it also gave the late Miguel Rodriguez a best supporting actor award and the best director for Perez. Technical awards were also given to Ricardo Jacinto, cinematography, Rey Maliuanag, production design, Gary Valenciano, theme song, and George Jarlego, editing. The late Nida Blanca was also nominated for best supporting actress.
Hall of Fame – From 1972 to 1988 Vilma Santos were nominated twelve times. Most critics considered this as a huge accomplishments, she won for 1988 (Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos), 1987 (Tagos ng Dugo), 1982 (Relasyon), 1981 (Pakawalan Mo Ako), 1972 (Dama de Noche), but some were worried that this is premature as they expected more breakthrough performances from her young career. Now, 37, Vilma is still honing her craft. The 38th FAMAS Awards held again at the Fiesta Pavilion of Manila Hotel on May 19, 1990 was not only memorable for Vilma Santos but also for her rival, Nora Aunor. Vilma relegated to hall of famer, disqualify her to compete with Nora. Not surprisingly, Nora won her fifth best actress, which also automatically qualifies her as next year’s hall of famer. Meanwhile, at the Gawad URIAN, the two actress were proclaimed the co-winners, Vilma for Bernal’s Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga and Nora for Elwood Perez melodrama, Bilangin Ang Bituin Sa Langit. Pahiram won two technical awards, best musical score and best theme song for Willy Cruz. It also earned nominations for director for Bernal, supporting actor nomination for Eric Quizon, best picture for regal films and best child actor for a young Billy Joe Crawford (pre-euro-RnB phenom and exorcist remake). In addition, another Vilma Santos movie, Immortal earned best director award for Eddie Garcia and best story for Orlando Nadres.
The next two years, prevented FAMAS to honour Vilma even a guaranteed nominations as the URIAN did for Brocka’s Kapag Langit Ang Humatol and Guillen’s Ipagpatawad Mo. The only consolation was both films earned nominations for her fellow actors. In 1991, Jeffrey Santos, Snooky Serna and Terence Baylon earned acting nominations for Kapag Langit Ang Humatol. The following year, the 40th FAMAS Awards awarded Christopher de Leon as their best actor for Ipagpatawad Mo and nominations for Terence Baylon, best child actor and Laurice Guillen, best director.
Circle of Excellence – Relegated to hall of famer status, both Nora and Vilma were not allowed to compete for the acting awards in the coming years, a problem for FAMAS. Both actress were still active in making movies that deserve acting accolades. Two years after Vilma was acclaimed to the hall of fame status, she came up with performances that deserve praises, Kapag Langit Ang Humatol in 1990 and Ipagpatawad Mo in 1991. FAMAS can’t resist giving citation to Vilma anymore so they created a special award with a status higher than the Hall of Fame, hence the Circle of Excellence was born in 1993.
The 41st FAMAS Awards honoring films made in 1992 was held again at the Fiesta Pavillion of the Manila Hotel on May 8, 1993. Vilma, now 40 years old earned her first of two Circle of Excellence awards. She was cited for Regal films’ Sinungaling Mong Puso. Sinungaling earned acting honours for Aga Muhlach, lead actor, Gabby Concepcion, supporting actor and best story for Jose Javier Reyes. It also earned nominations for its director, Maryo J. de los Reyes, best picture for Regal, supporting actress for Aiko Melendez. The next year, FAMAS deservingly gave Vilma her second Circle of Excellence award citing her performance in her social relevant film about HIV/AIDS, Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story. Dahil Mahal Kita was nominated for best picture and best director for Laurice Guillen.
Struggle – FAMAS struggled to maintain their hold as the top award giving body, questionable winners, allegedly award can be bought has milling around for years and unorganized awards ceremonies were mostly the reasons for its recent downfall. The organization remained standing despite recent legal battle between them and another renegade group. TV viewership is down because of the advent of so many award giving bodies, to this day now count around 10 (URIAN, FAMAS, STAR, FAP – LUNA, GOLDEN SCREEN, CMMA, YOUNG CRITICS, PASADO, TANGLAW and still counting).
The 43rd FAMAS surprised the local industry by giving their honours to a Vilma Santos smash hit, the massacre-crime story directed by pre-national artist director, Carlo Caparas’ Lipa Massacre. This film wasn’t even mention in the URIAN. Joel Torre won nomination for lead actor while Caparas won the director. Two more Vilma movies earned awards. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. won best actor for Relaks Ka Lang, Sagot Kita and Jose Javier Reyes won best screenplay for Nag-iisang Bituin. The following year, no mention of Vilma as she only did one film, the forgettable Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko with the late FPJ. Nora Aunor on the other hand, received a circle of excellence honour for Flor Contemplacion. The next year, Nida Blanca earned a deserving lifetime achievement award for her body of work in big and small screen.
The 1998 FAMAS, their 47th, honoured the accomplishment of Vilma Santos. They bestowed her the highest honour, the lifetime achievement award for her contribution to the film industry. It was a memorable night as her film, Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? dominated the race for the top honours. Bata was nominated for best picture, director (Chito Rono), and acting awards. Although the film failed to win best picture, both child actors Carlo Aquino and Serena Dalrymple, two of the films main characters left the night with trophies. Ditto for Lualhati Bautista, the writer of the film. The next year, FAMAS gave FPJ their lifetime achievement awards.
By 2001, the 49th FAMAS Awards cited Anak, the Vilma Santos record-breaking film. Produced by Star Cinema, Anak earned nomination for best picture, best director for Rory Quintos, best cinematography for Joe Batac, and best musical score for Jessie Lasaten. Then in 2003, the 51st FAMAS created a controversy by bestowing their leading actress honour to an unknown Aleck Bovick for Tampisaw defeating the more deserving Claudine Barretto for Kailangan Kita and Sharon Cuneta for Magkapatid. If they didn’t give the best supporting actor to Piolo Pascual, winner for Vilma Santos starrer, Dekada 70, their list of winners would be more questionable. Dekada 70 earned nominations for best picture and best child performer to John Wayne Sace.
Vilma Santos’ FAMAS recognitions
- 2008 FAMAS Awards – Exemplary Achievement Award
- 1998 FAMAS Awards – Lifetime Achievement Award
- 1993 FAMAS Awards – Circle of Excellence
- 1992 FAMAS Awards – Circle of Excellence
- 1989 FAMAS Awards – Hall of Fame for Best Actress
- 1988 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress – Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos
- 1987 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress – Tagos ng Dugo
- 1986 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress Nomination – Palimos ng Pag-Ibig
- 1985 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress Nomination – Muling Buksan Ang Puso
- 1983 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress Nomination – Broken Marriage
- 1982 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress – Relasyon
- 1981 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress – Pakawalan Mo Ako
- 1980 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress Nomination – Langis at Tubig
- 1979 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress Nomination – Halik Sa Paa, Halik Sa Kamay
- 1978 FAMAS Awards – Best Picture (producer – VS Films) – Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-Itim ng Tagak
- 1978 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress Nomination – Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-Itim ng Tagak
- 1977 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress Nomination – Burlesk Queen
- 1972 FAMAS Awards – Best Actress – Dama de Noche
- 1968 FAMAS Awards – Best Supporting Actress Nomination – Kasalanan Kaya?
- 1965 FAMAS Awards – Best Supporting Actress Nomination – Maria Cecilia
- 1963 FAMAS Awards – Best Child Actress – Trudis Liit
Source: FAMAS – Vilma Santos
FAMAS – Hall of Fame Award – The Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences bestows the Hall of Fame Award to individuals who have displayed mastery over their craft and artistry over their chosen fields in the Philippine motion picture industry. The Hall of Fame Award is a gold-plated FAMAS statuette with two semi-circles of laurel leaves anchored to each of her shoulders and her base. To win a Hall of Fame Award, one must have won five FAMAS Awards for a certain competitive category.
FAMAS – The Circle of Excellence – The Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences bestows the Circle of Excellence Award to Hall of Fame inductees who have used their skills and craftsmanship to the best of their abilities for the development and creation of a Filipino motion picture. The Circle of Excellence Award is the highest award the FAMAS can bestow on an individual. The first Circle of Excellence Award was given out in the 41st FAMAS Awards (1992) in 1993 to honor Best Actress Hall of Fame inductee Vilma Santos for her performance in Sinungaling Mong Puso. At that time, the Circle of Excellence Award was a glass plaque. The current statuette was given the next year, also to Ms. Santos, at the 42nd FAMAS Awards (1993).
FAMAS – The Lifetime Achievement Award – The Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences bestows the Lifetime Achievement Award to motion picture performers and artisans who have made indelible and lifelong contributions to the development of the Filipino motion picture industry. – RV Dec/2009