1998 Gawad Urian and Star Awards

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Vilma, Nida Share top acting honors – “…Vilma Santos shared the coveted Movie Actress of the Year award with Nida Blanca in last Saturday’s Star Awards, the local counterpart of Hollywood’s Golden Globe, at a jampacked UP Theater in Diliman, Quezon City. Santos was honored for her role in Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa?, a movie written for the screen by Lualhati Bautista based on her own novel and directed by Chito Roño for Star Cinema. Blanca, meanwhile, won her acting trophy for her role in the obscure Sana Pag-ibig Na by first-time director Jeffrey Jeturian for Golden Harvest. The two bested three other nominees: Elizabeth Oropeza (Tasulok), Rosanna Roces (Ang Lalake sa Buhay ni Selya), and Sharmaine Arnais (Sagad sa Init). In the male actor category, the members of the Philippine Movie Press Club gave Cesar Montano his second acting trophy for playing Dr. Jose Rizal in the multi-million peso production Jose Rizal that Marilou Diaz-Abaya made for GMA Films. It was an expected win that no one, even the other nominees in the Movie Actor of the Year: Raymond Bagatsing (Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion), Ricky Davao (Ang Lalake sa Buhay ni Selya), Richard Gomez (Babae sa Bintana), and Eric Quizon (Pusong Mamon). Montano won the same honors in the Metro Manila Film Festival. Apart from the Actor of the Year, Jose Rizal bagged eight other trophies including Movie of the Year. Star also honored the film in directing (Diaz-Abaya), acting (Jaime Fabregas, in supporting role), screenplay adapted from another material (Ricky Lee, Jun Lana, and Peter Ong Lim), production design (Leo Abaya), film editing (Jess Navarro and Manet Dayrit), music scoring (Nonong Buencamino).

Jose Rizal is only the second movie produced by the fledgling GMA Films and cost the new movie outfit some P80 million, making it the most expensive film made in this part of the globe. It already grossed to date, according to reports, close to a hundred million. Sa Pusod ng Dagat, its first venture into serious film making, didn’t have much luck in the box office, but won Star honors in the original screenplay category for writier Jun Lana and cinematography Romy Vitug. Star Cinema’s bet for major awards, Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa?, seemed to have failed to impress the movie press. It only collected three trophies, for Santos’ performance and the two child actors Serena Darlymple, proclaimed New Movie Actress of the Year, and Carlo Aquino cited as Child Performer of the Year…The Star Awards for Movies is handed out annually by the Philippine Movie Press Club, It kind…Starting as an alternative to the macho-dominated Famas 15-years ago, it eventually became the event to watch. During its early years, its choices caused a lot of raised eyebrows, especially among the more academically equipped group of movie writers and critics. Fractured by a split in membership when a faction opted to take a leave and eventually resign amid a feud between the writers’ group and ABS-CBN last year, the remaining members of the PMPC remained undaunted. These days, there seem to be peaceful co-existence between the group and the network that questioned publicly its credibility in handing out awards of excellence. Last Saturday marked the return of Star Cinema;s acknowledgement of PMPC and Star Awards as something the industry can do without. Representatives from the film company accepted the trophies for winners who failed to make it to the show, like Carlo Aquino. In contrast to the conciliatory moves of Star Cinema;s management, actors, and technicians whose chances of victory are uncertaine chose not to make an appearance.

Movie Actress of the Year nominee Rosanna Roces was nowhere in sight. So was Richard Gomez. Even Movie Supporting Actress winner Anita Linda didn’t bother to come and accept her trophy. Yet, others showed their support to the PMPC by their sheer presence, making the Star Awards still the most star-studded annual awards show were Christopher de Leon, Pops Fernandez, Regine Velasquez, Daisy Ryes, Keempee de Leon, Geneva Cruz, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Troy Montero, Ralion Alonzo, Vina Morales, Carol Banawa, Jolina Magdangal, and Antoinette Taus who performed in the usual musical numbers and broke the monotony of the awards. Other probably came for the P10,000 cash prize for the Male and Female Star of the Night Award given to those the PMPC members decided looked best during the show. And the award went to Albert Martinez and Glydel Mercado. Some members of the audience though thought Sunshine Cruz in a see-through gown looked more fabulous. Starlet Bernadette Allyson also attracted attention and won Fairest Skin of the Night. And Eric Quizon was voted Darling of the Press. Quizon was also one of the hosts of the show. Joining him were Ronnie Ricketts and Vilma Santos whose fans punctuated the show with screams, cheers and applause. A female fan was reportedly escorted out of the theater by security guards aftersome members fo the audience complained that she has making too much noise. If the Vilmanians were rowdy, the Noranians was the opposite side of the theater were ferocious. They trooped to the theater when they learned Nora Aunor would make an appearance to present the Ulirang Artista Award to her friend Caridad Sanchez. They broke in wild cheers when their idol chilled out of the stage wing and stood on the right end of the stage. Vilma was on the opposite side waiting for her cue to introduce Nora. It was all right until the Mayor of Lipa announced Nida Blanca instead.

The Noranians were irked and incensed and objected with catcalls. Vilma was compelled to make a public apology, saying she was merely reading a cue card given to her by the show’s writer. Nora was also the recipient of a special award, cited by the PMPC for bringing the local movie industry honors in international film festivals. She won Best Actress at Penang, Malaysia for her role in 1997’s Bakit May Kahapon Pa? The superstar’s acceptance speech was short, saying only, “Maraming salamat!” Many speculated that she must have been incensed by the earlier faux pas committed by her perennial rival. In justifying the mistake, the PMPC said that Nora was not really expected to arrive. But they were glad she made it. In case she didn’t, Nida Blanca had agreed to make the presentation of the Ulirang Artista Award which was already written on the cue card. The question though remained, “Didn’t Vilma notice Nora coming in?” If she didn’t she should have taken the cue from the screams of the Noranians. The incident reignited the heated rivalry of these two stars and made the Star Awards a peewee exciting…” – Isah V. Red, Photographs by Mike de Juan, Manila Standard, Mar 14, 1999 (READ MORE)

Urian’s Choices“…Another major upset was Nida Blanca’s failure to clinch top acting honors. Her perfromance in Sana Pag-ibig Na by another first-time director Jeffrey Jeturian was considered by many worthy of an Urian trophy and could give popular choice Vilma Santos a tough time in all of the awards this year. Blanca shared the same honors with the Mayor of Lipa City earlier in Star Awards. Seventy-six-year-old-actress Mona Lisa was this year’s recipient of Natatanging Gawad Urian presented to her by Insiang co-star Ruel Vernal and Manunuri’s Grace Javier Alfonso. The actress recent work is a role in Nick DeOcampo’s Mother Ignacia. This is the 22nd year the Manunuri group have been handing out trophies to honor outstanding work of actors, directors, writers, film editors, sound engineers and music scorers in Filipino movies…The show looked like most local awards shows with musical numbers that has no relevance to the film medium punctuating the monotony of introducing the nominees and annoucing the winners. Rosanna Roces’ licentious humor somehow livened up the perfunctory intros of presentors and performers. Osang was resplendent in an off-shoulder tangerine ballroom gown at the beginning and changed into a heavily beaded and sequined pience with partly see-through skirt. Many in the audience wondered if she was wearing a wig. With Osang as co-hosts were a slimmer Rustom Padilla and Albert Martinez who was struggling with an astma attack and had to leave even before the show was over.

The stage was dressed up like a courtyard with facade of turn of the century houses as background. Rep. Imee Marcos presented the five nominated pictures wearing initally an outfit made from indigenous fibers and then later a Filipiniana-inspired two-piece number…As usual in local award shows, the bigger stars come in very late, just in time for the annoucement of the nominations in their respective category. Vilma Santos came in at 10:30 p.m. escorted by husband and Batangas congressman Ralph Recto and followed by an entourage of bodyguards and her personal assistants. In her acceptance speech, she apologized for her tardiness saying she had to attend the graduation from high school of Luis Philip Manzano, aka Lucky, her son by former husband Edu Manzano. She also announced that the follwing day, her son by Ralph, Ryan Christian Recto, would be celebrating his birthday. Vilma’s fans once more showed their undying support for their idol, screaming at every instance the actress’ name is mentioned and holding up paper placards, on which they screamed their affection for her. When her name was announce winner of the most coveted award, they went gaga jumping out of their seats to cheer her as if they were watching a basketball game. This is the kind of awards show that somehow masks the sad realities in an industry struggling to survive the worst economic crisis ever and the continued and growing alienations of the middle class now more inclined to watch English-language movies from Hollywood on either the VHS and DVD formats in the comfort of their airconditioned bedrooms….” – Manila Standard, Mar 31, 1999 (READ MORE)