When all is said and done, the best actress race contest for 2004 is between forever arch rivals, in alphabetical order, Nora Aunor (Naglalayag) and Vilma Santos (Mano Po III-My Love). Junior actress Judy Ann Santos was a surprise spoiler when she beats the veteran actresses at the 2nd. EnPress awards for best dramatic actress. She won for Sabel. At the 2004 Manila Film Festival where Sabel was an entry versus Naglalayag. Judy Ann lost to Nora Aunor for best actress. It was a sweet double victory for Judy Ann, beating the two fierce rivals, but more of a vengeance for her versus Nora, than Vilma, for clobbering the superstar at Enpress for the same movies they appeared in the 2004 MFF. This is Judy Ann’s first best actress win. She is also expected to win at the FAMAS where Nora and Vilma, both Hall of Famers, are not in the running. But because of Judy Ann’s double nominations, Sabel and Aishite for best actress, she might just be eclipsed by dark horse Claudine Barreto for her more internalized and powerful performance in Milan.
So far, Nora, minus the YCC, where she almost won as best performer, has garnered these awards for Naglalayag: Manila Film Festival, Brussels Intl. Film Fest, First YHC (Young Hearts Club), First BALATCA, Tanglaw (tie with Vilma Santos), PASADO. Vilma Santos has won the following so far for Mano Po III: Metro Manila Film Festival, First Gawad Suri, Tanglaw (tie with Nora Aunor), PMPC Star. Based on the above trend, Nora and Vilma have the lion’s share of awards. With the FAP and the Urian (Both Judy Ann will win this last two – RV) waiting in the wings to crown their choices, it looks like there is no potential grand slam winner. Vilma holds the most number of grand slams, four in all to Nora’s one. Technically even if Nora wins in the FAP and Urian, Vilma still holds the record of the actress with the most acting trophies won ever since she won as best a child actress at the FAMAS in 1963. But Nora will have an uphill climb at the FAP and Urian as Vilma’s riveting and intense performance in MPIII matches if not eclipses her marvelous performance in Naglalayag.
It also doesn’t help that she was arrested at the LA airport for shabu and glass pipe possession which may turn off FAP voters. As in the Oscars where “peer to peer” endearments factor helps win votes, that “dark episode” in Nora’s troubled life may turn in her favor, because of sympathy votes. You know how Filipinos are suckers for sob stories. As far as the Urian is concerned, which is looked up to in the industry as the most credible award-giving body, my prediction is that it is a toss up, or a tie, as the group is notorious for having the most “tie” wins in award-giving business. But if Urian should know better, Vilma Santos should win solo as she has given a better performance than Nora. Not only does she hold the movie together but is given more situations to show her range as an actress, From Nestor Torre’s review: “We liked the way Vilma Santos’ character was written, as a former activist who became a crusader against crime and corruption. It was also good that the movie’s central conflict revolved around her, so Vilma was given every opportunity to display her acting prowess.” That said, I predict a FAP and Urian sweep for Vilma Santos, not because I am a Vilmanian, but because Ms. Santos – performance is the best last year. – Mar Garces, V Magazine, April – May 2005 (READ MORE)