2002 Gawad Urian Best Actress

Novel to Film “…”Dekada ’70,” the eagerly awaited filmization of Lualhati Bautista’s seminal novel in the explosive ’80s, has eight nominations. Best director nominee Chito Rono successfully focuses the novel’s many-sided dimensions on a mother’s stirring from domestic conventions and sensibilities as her family copes with the changes wrought by a collapsing order. The movie, written by Bautista herself and nominated for best screenplay, manages to provides viewers, particularly the young, with the feel of the Marcos years, reacquainting them with a particularly sordid passage in history when innocence was ravaged and continuity was ruptured. The wonder is that the movie did not get the lion’s share of the technical design (Manny Morfe), and sound (Albert Michael Idioma and Alex Tomboc) – should at least suggest its achievement. Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon are strong contenders for best actor and best actress, while yound actor Piolo Pascual is nominated for best supporting actor. The 26th Gawad Urian of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, the society of respected film critics, will be held on May 17 at the AFP Theater…” – Lito B. Zulueta, Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 28, 2003 (READ MORE)

The Light “…Topping the Urian for surprise value was the join award for Best Picture to “Dekada ’70” and “Mga Munting Tinig,” This was unexpected because “Dekada” was a major production that took many months to make, while “Munting Tinig” was a small low-budget film that was shot in only a few weeks. Despite this, both films were cited as the best local movies for 2002. A possible interpretation of the twin awards could be “Dekada” is cited for tackling asn important period in the country;s political life with extensive resources of a major studio, while “Munting Tinig” is honored for its ability to dramatize a simple, heartwarming tale that provides much-needed inspiration, despite its limited budget. In other words, the two films’ contrasting approaches are both needed by local movies today, hence the decision for them to share the Urian’s Best Picture award…The Best Actress trophy that Vilma Santos won for her performance in “Dekada ’70” is another noteworthy decision because, when the film was first shown, even veteran observers rapped Vilma for her relatively “passive,” “colorless” and “undramatic” portrayal in the movie. This was because her character, the wife and mother in the movie’s central Bartolome family, spent most of the film’s running time meekly following her husband’s dictates, like most women in the ’70s. Some people took this as a weak thespic stance, and we had to point out in some articles taht his wasn’t true at all. In fact, given the convention of the movie’s time frame, this “passivity” was an astute artistic decision on Vilma’s part, and thoroughly merited by her character and the period in which she lived. In fact, what Vilma did in “Dekada” was more difficult because it was so controlled and subtle, it would have been far easier for her to melodramatically tear up the scenery and act up a storm. Gratifyingly, by the time the film awards season came around, enough people has seen the light, and Vilma went on to win a phalanx of Best Actress trophies, now including the Urian…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer – May 24, 2003 (READ MORE)

Anak natin si Piolo? “…Gawad Urian best supporting actor Piolo Pascual (“Dekada ’70”) arrived early at the awards ceremony Saturday night and reserve a seat for “Dekada ’70” costar Vilma Santos, who would later be declared best actress. Vilma and Piolo played mother and son in the moving Chito Rono movie based on the screenplay by Lualhati Bautista, who won for best screenplay. Piolo was very affectionate to “mom” Vilma, hugging and kissing her when she arrived. He was seen clasping her hands moments before his name was announced as best supporting actor at theTeatro Arturo Enrile in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City…The movie critics’ group paid tribute to writer Ricardo “Ricky” Lee by naming him the recipient of the Natatnging Gawad for lifetime achievement for his invaluable contributions to the film industry for more than three decades. The award was handed to him by three of the many actresses who breathed life to his creations – Vilma (“Relasyon”), Dina Bonnevie (“Gumapang Ka Sa Lusak”) and Gina Alajar (“Salome”). Lee has so far written about 120 screenplays and won some 50 awards. His most recent work, Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s “Bagong Buwan,” was honored by many local and international award-giving bodies…Edu Manzano was very effective as the show’s only host. He kept the audience awake and laughing with his witty remarks, delivered with his trademark deadpan expression. Even Piolo and Vilma were not spared from Edu’s jokes. he imitated Piolo after the young actor delivered a very emotional acceptance speech. When Vilma said she was sharing her award with her costars in “Dekada ’70,” particularly to her “eldest son” Piolo, the camera caught Edu having his own dramatic highlights.” “What?” he asked his ex-wife in mock surprise, “Anak natin si Piolo?…” – Marinel R. Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 20, 2003 (READ MORE)

For the first time in the history of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino’s Gawad Urian Awards and probably in any national award giving ceremony, for that matter a tie was announced in the Best Film category. Star Cinema’s Dekada ’70 and Gil Portes and Ray Cuerdo’s Munting Tinig were declared as the best of the 2002 produced films. The Urian is known as the award-giving body that has most often declared ties. Allow me to explain why. A certain standard of excellence in every category has been set by the critics. In the case of the best film, it has to be one that is technically proficient in all aspects such as sound, music, production design, editing and cinematography. Beyond technical excellence and artistic sense in storytelling, it must always have a theme that is not pretentious. The film should successfully capture that “truth” grounded on the Filipino experience. Based on these, it is, thus, possible to have more than two films hitting the grade. Declaring ties, therefore, is only tantamount to saying that there may be more than one film which deserved to be called excellent.

It certainly happened this year for Dekada ’70 and Mga Munting Tinig. Both hit that mark of excellence. Congratulations to all those who contributed to the creation of these two momentous films. The Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino has always dedicated itself to selecting and recognizing the best films. When the group was created in May 1, 1976, it declared itself as an alliance of consumer activists who write articles, not for PR, but as independent reviews that give citations and awards. The present group has never deviated from the same objectives and values as that of the first group. Three members who were part of the original one are still with the present crop of critics. They aim to continue awarding the best works and performances; encouraging continuous dialogue on film; and exploring and redefining the responsibilities of the industry practitioners and filmmakers to the public. The Gawad Urian recently held at the AFP theater started with a production number featuring Regine Velasquez, who was draped with filmstrips. She changed into two elegant gowns during the opening salvo.

The other artists who participated in the production were Janno Gibbs, Anna Fegi, JR, Jose Illana, Arni Hidalgo, Rufa Mae Quinto, Marissa Sanchez with the Sex Bomb dancers, and video assists by Michael V and Ogie Alcasid. Capping the evening was a musical number by Aiza Seguerra, 1728, 604 and Ciara Sotto. The presentors were Richard Gomez, Lucy Torres, Assunta de Rossi, Cherrie Gil, Rudy Fernanadez, Dingdong Dantes, Tanya Garcia, Jeffrey Quizon, Giselle Tongi, Judy Ann Santos, Maricel Soriano, Danica Sotto, James Blanco, Angelu de Leon, Vhong Navarro and Butch Francisco. Memorable “thank you” speeches started with Ricky Lee’s, who praised film artists and producers with whom he has worked. He also expressed his appreciation to the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino for finally recognizing and presenting a Natatanging Gawad Urian to a scriptwriter. Piolo Pascual was in tears and had a litany of names to thank as he completed his grand slam for the Best Supporting Actor category with his Urian award. Elizabeth Oropesa earned a good round of applause as she thanked her “Honey” when she received her Best Supporting Actress award.

Jay Manalo seemed rather touched by the Best Actor Award and thanked all his children quite a number, which did not escape the audience’s interest. Gil Portes was in high spirits when he finally bagged the Best Director award, after numerous nominations from the Manunuri. Vilma, who won the Best Actress Award, thanked the special people in her life, including host, Edu Manzano, who was miming on the side, hoping Vilma would include him in her speech. He certainly got the crowd in the theater roaring with his antics when he embraced Piolo and declared that he was a long lost son…The special award, Natatanging Gawad Urian, was presented to Ricky Lee for his numerous outstanding screenplays. A special reading was performed by Gina Alajar and Dina Bonnevie. Vilma Santos read the citation for the Ricky Lee’s recognition. The Gawad Urian Night was not too overwhelming, but friendly and exciting. It was not glittering, but it was colorful. It was not ostentatious, but it was substantial. It was not huge, but it was meaningful. Also contributing significantly to the successful presentation this year was the masterful and witty hosting by Edu Manzano. – Sol Jose Vanzi, May 20, 2003 (READ MORE)

2002 Gawad Urian

A few days before the Urian Awards last Saturday, some movie writers attending the presscon of Jose Llana said they already know the winners in the acting categories. Vilma Santos as best actress for “Dekada ’70,” Jay Manalo as best actor for “Prosti,” Beth Oropesa as best supporting actress for “Laman,” and Piolo Pascual as best supporting actor for “Dekada.” They claim to have heard this from some Urian members. The day before the awards night, we attended the presscon of “Huling Birhen sa Lupa” at Viva and Director Joel Lamangan told us he already knew Beth and Jay, who are shooting the film with him on location in Batangas, would win because he was requested to let them leave the set to attend the awards night. True enough, when awards night came at the AFP Theater, these are really those who won. Maybe the Manunuri should be more discreet next time to prevent such leakage. But the show itself is indeed smooth and slick, starting with the great opening number by Regine Velasquez. The tribute to Ricky Lee, who won the Natatanging Gawad Urian for his work as a scriptwiter, is particularly good. Singers Michael Santana, Ana Fegi and Janno Gibbs sang songs from Ricky’s films, Gina Alajar and Dina Bonnevie read excerpts from his scripts, Nora Aunor, Sharon Cuneta and Beth O. sang hosannahs to him, then Vilma Santos handed him the actual trophy.

Ricky, a founding member of the Urian himself (we left it at the same time in 1980), deserves the award because he is really the first scriptwriter to become a household name. We just wish he delivered a shorter acceptance speech since there’s beauty in brevity. Another winner who rumbled on and on is Piolo Pascual, who really put on an act along with Judy Ann Santos, who presented him his award. He’s the only one who scored a grand slam this year, so we can understand why he is a tad too emotional for comfort. Jay Manalo was more coherent and even managed to make a roll call of all his kids with various women, including his current wife, Raiza. Beth O., in turn, looked like a blushing bride as she received her award (her second best supporting actress plum from the Urian after “Milagros”), thanking her much younger husband, Joel Valdez, so sweetly. Mercifully, she gave a very short speech. Another winner who is obviously so overwhelmed is Gil Portes, best director for “Munting Tinig,” as he kept on giggling while delivering his acceptance speech. As for Ate Vi, this is her eighth Urian best actress trophy after “Relasyon,” “Broken Marriage,” “Sister Stella L,” “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga,” “Ipagpatawad Mo,” “Dahil Mahal Kita (Dolzura Cortez Story),” and “Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa.” This makes her the winningest actress ever and her Vilmanians have reason to gloat.

The concept of singing the songs from the nominated best films (by Tex Ordonez, Jose Llana, Jay Ar and Arnee Hidalgo) is good, along with the idea of lining up all the winners on stage for a final tribute before they announced the last awardee, Vilma Santos. Ate Vi was inexplicably already on stage but without a trophy, so you already know she’d be handed the award for the last category, which is the best actress award. But the production number involving Rufa Mae Quinto, the Sex Bomb, Marissa Sanchez, Michael V. and Ogie Alcasid was a dud. They tried to be funny spoofing Katya Santos and Mother Lily but only ended up being silly and corny. Host Edu Manzano did a fairly good job and even stole the scene when he too cried as ex-wife Ate Vi delivered her acceptance speech. In fairness, the Urian had a good roster of presentors like Rudy Fernandez, Maricel Soriano, Richard Gomez, Lucy Torres, Cherie Gil, etc. Unlike other award-giving bodies who just call on stage whoever is available inside the theater to act as presentors. As Rudy Fernandez himself pointed out, “Ang Urian talaga, mahilig sa tie,” so this year, the tie is in the best picture category, with Star Cinema’s “Dekada” and Teamwork Productions’ “Mga Munting Tinig” sharing the honor. – Sol Jose Vanzi, Malaya, May 23, 2003 (READ MORE)

2002 Star Awards Best Actress

Novel to Film “…”Dekada ’70,” the eagerly awaited filmization of Lualhati Bautista’s seminal novel in the explosive ’80s, has eight nominations. Best director nominee Chito Rono successfully focuses the novel’s many-sided dimensions on a mother’s stirring from domestic conventions and sensibilities as her family copes with the changes wrought by a collapsing order. The movie, written by Bautista herself and nominated for best screenplay, manages to provides viewers, particularly the young, with the feel of the Marcos years, reacquainting them with a particularly sordid passage in history when innocence was ravaged and continuity was ruptured. The wonder is that the movie did not get the lion’s share of the technical design (Manny Morfe), and sound (Albert Michael Idioma and Alex Tomboc) – should at least suggest its achievement. Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon are strong contenders for best actor and best actress, while yound actor Piolo Pascual is nominated for best supporting actor. The 26th Gawad Urian of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, the society of respected film critics, will be held on May 17 at the AFP Theater…” – Lito B. Zulueta, Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 28, 2003 (READ MORE)

The Light “…Topping the Urian for surprise value was the join award for Best Picture to “Dekada ’70” and “Mga Munting Tinig,” This was unexpected because “Dekada” was a major production that took many months to make, while “Munting Tinig” was a small low-budget film that was shot in only a few weeks. Despite this, both films were cited as the best local movies for 2002. A possible interpretation of the twin awards could be “Dekada” is cited for tackling asn important period in the country;s political life with extensive resources of a major studio, while “Munting Tinig” is honored for its ability to dramatize a simple, heartwarming tale that provides much-needed inspiration, despite its limited budget. In other words, the two films’ contrasting approaches are both needed by local movies today, hence the decision for them to share the Urian’s Best Picture award…The Best Actress trophy that Vilma Santos won for her performance in “Dekada ’70” is another noteworthy decision because, when the film was first shown, even veteran observers rapped Vilma for her relatively “passive,” “colorless” and “undramatic” portrayal in the movie. This was because her character, the wife and mother in the movie’s central Bartolome family, spent most of the film’s running time meekly following her husband’s dictates, like most women in the ’70s. Some people took this as a weak thespic stance, and we had to point out in some articles taht his wasn’t true at all. In fact, given the convention of the movie’s time frame, this “passivity” was an astute artistic decision on Vilma’s part, and thoroughly merited by her character and the period in which she lived. In fact, what Vilma did in “Dekada” was more difficult because it was so controlled and subtle, it would have been far easier for her to melodramatically tear up the scenery and act up a storm. Gratifyingly, by the time the film awards season came around, enough people has seen the light, and Vilma went on to win a phalanx of Best Actress trophies, now including the Urian…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer – May 24, 2003 (READ MORE)

Star Awards “…Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos still gets the jitters when accepting acting awards. She bested five other equally worthy nominees to the best actress throne in last Saturday’s Star Awards for Movies at the UP Theatre. She won for her moving portrayal of a timid mother empowered by the death of her son in Chito Rono’s period drama, “Dekada ’70,” which was an official entry in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) last December. Ironically, Ara Mina, who edged out Vilma from the best actress derby in the MMFF, was not among those cited by Star Awards. Vilma competed with Sharon Cuneta (“Magkapatid”), Maricel Soriano (“Mano Po”), Claudine Baretto (“Kailangan Kita”), and Alessandra de Rossi (“Mga Munting Tinig”)…” – Marinel R. Cruiz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 11, 2003 (READ MORE)

Actress-Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos, new actor Yul Servo, and the independent film, “Mga Munting Tinig,” proved that the local movie industry recognizes talent and good films, veteran or newcomer, when they bagged top honors at the 19th Star Awards for the Movies held last Saturday night at the UP Theater in Diliman, Quezon City. Santos was named “Movie Actress of the Year” for her role as a mother who experienced awakening during the ’70s turmoil in “Dekada ’70.” Santos, one of the country’s most awarded actresses, admitted she still feels the tension from the announcement of nominees to the winner. “Nakakakaba pa rin po hanggang ngayon (I still feel nervous even now),” she said in her acceptance speech. Meanwhile, newcomer Yul Servo was named “Movie Actor of the Year” for playing a young husband subjected to extreme culture shock when he finds life hard in a Manila suburb in the controversial movie, “Laman.” The rest of the major trophies went to Gil Portes, “Movie Director of the Year” for “Munting Tinig;” Piolo Pascual, “Movie Supporting Actor of the Year” for “Dekada ’70”; and Kris Aquino, “Movie Supporting Actress of the Year” for “Mano Po.”

“Mga Munting Tinig” won most of the awards, copping with seven out of 16, including Child Performer of the Year (Brian Ronquillo), Musical Score (Joy Marfil), Production Design (Arthur Licdao) and Original Screenplay. According to its director and scriptwriter, Portes, the group completed “Munting Tinig” in only 15 days. He added, “This movie just won in the Sta. Barbara International Film Festival and is the first locally produced movie bought by Warner Bros. for worldwide distribution.” Other winners at the 19th Star Awards were “Agimat” for Best Special Effects; Jordan Herrera, New Movie Actor of the Year for “Gamitan;” Nancy Castiglione, New Movie Actress of the Year for “I Think I’m in Love;” Ogie Alcasid for “Kailangan Kita,” Best Movie Theme Song; and Lualhati Bautista for Best Adapted Sceenplay, “Dekada ’70.” Special awards given were the “Darling of the Press” for Onemig Bondoc, the “Male Star of the Night” for Bong Revilla, the “Female Star of the Night” for Maricel Soriano and the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for Sen. Ramon Revilla, Sr. Trivia host was Charlene Gonzales. Hosts of last night’s Star Awards were Cesar Montano, Bong Revilla, Philip Salvador, Kris Aquino, Maricel Soriano and Vilma Santos. Performers were Sharon Cuneta, Jolina Magdangal, Ogie Alcasid, Jaya, Angelika de la Cruz, Patricia Javier, Karylle, and Zsa Zsa Padilla. – Sol Jose Vanzi, March 10, 2003 (READ MORE)

1998 Best Actress Awards

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Urian Best Actress Award – “…Actress and Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos won her seventh Urian Best Actress Award last Sunday night at UP Theater for her performance in Star Cinema’s “Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?” Vilma Santos won her first Gawad Urian Award for Best Actress in 1982 for the movie “Relasyon.” She again earned the best actress award in 1983 and 1984 for the movies “Broken Marriage” and “Sister Stella L.,”for “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga” in 1989, which she shared with Nora Aunor (“Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit”). Succeeding awards came for “Ipagpatawad Mo” in 1991 and “Dahil Minahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story” in 1993. In her acceptance speech, Vilma shared her award with her co-nominees – Nida Blanca, Elizabeth Oropesa, and Rosanna Roces. 8-year-old Serena Dalrymple took home her first Gawad Urian award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa.” Another first-time Gawad Urian winner was Jaime Fabregas, this year’s recipient of the Best Supporting Actor award for the movie “Jose Rizal.” Raymond Bagatsing won his second consecutive Gawad Urian Best Actor Award for the movie “Serafin: Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion.” He received his first Urian best actor award (for “Milagros”) last year. The movie “Jose Rizal” went home with the most technical awards. Although “Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa” won this year’s Best Picture Award, Marilou Diaz Abaya took the Best Director honors for “Rizal.’ Other awards received by “Rizal” were Best in Sound (Michael Albert Idioma), Best in Music (Nonong Buencamino), Best Production Design (Leo Abaya), and Best Cinematography (Rody Lacap). The other winners were: Best Editing, Danny Gloria for the movie “Gangland” and Best Screenplay, Lualhati Bautista for “Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?” The “Natatanging Gawad Urian” was bestowed on actress Mona Lisa who started her career in 1938 in Parlatone Hispano Filipino’s “Ang Pagbabalik.” Her most recent work was under Nick de Ocampo, “Mother Ignacia…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, March 30, 1999 (READ MORE)

Film Academy of the Philippines Best Actress – “…GMA Films probably heard the bad news from the grapevine before the Film Academy of the Philippines’ 17th Annual Academy Awards started Sunday night, and decided to boycott. The table reserved for GMA Films remained conspicuously vacant throughout the awards night held at the PICC. Their hunch, or inside info, was right. The much-acclaimed movie José Rizal, failed to win any award. GMA’s staunch competitor, Star Cinema, romped away with most of the major awards. Best Picture was Star Cinema’s Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? The film directed by Chito Roño, which tackled women’s issues, gave Vilma Santos another Best Actress award. The movie also won Best Supporting Actress honors for child star Serena Dalrymple. Carlo Aquino was named best supporting actor and Manny Morfe, for best production design. Birador, another Star Cinema film, bagged the best director and best editing awards for Edgardo Vinarao, best cinematography for Juanito Pereira and best screenplay for Senen Dimaguila. Rudy Fernandez was named best actor for portraying a struggling policeman in Birador. This is his second award from the Film Academy of the Philippines after Batuigas: Pasukuin si Waway in 1984. Other awards went to Pusong Mamon, which won the best musical score and best theme song awards for Dennis Garcia, originally of the Hotdogs Band. Best Sound was received by Ramon Reyes for GMA Films’ Sa Pusod ng Dagat. The awards itself had generated controversy when José Rizal’s producers, Butch Jimenez and Jimmy Duavit, and two production staffers Rody Lacap and Nonong Buencamino, were considered ineligible to be nominated and therefore ineligible for any award…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, April 27, 1999 (READ MORE)

FAMAS Lifetime Achievement Award – “…Multi-awarded dramatic actress Vilma Santos can no longer be nominated for the FAMAS Best Actress Award, since she had been elevated to the Hall of Fame for having won five FAMAS Best Actress trophies over the years. But on its 47th year, the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences, the oldest cinema award- giving body in Asia, wants to give Vilma due recognition for her continued excellence and longevity as a Box Office Queen. The body also wants to recognize her contribution to the industry by being a model public servant and popular Mayor of Lipa City. On April 8, FAMAS Awards night, Vilma will be bestowed this year’s FAMAS Lifetime Achievement Award. Vilmanians would consider this, plus the grand slam and the Hall of Fame honors, as proof that their idol, Ate Vi, is way above her arch rival Nora Aunor. But Noranians would be quick to retort that nothing can match the glory and recognition Nora Aunor received when she was named Centennial Artist during the Philippine Centennial celebrations. As much as their fans love to fight over who is better or more popular, the two actresses are actually very good friends in real life, calling each other “kumare” and running to each other’s assistance whenever necessary…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, March 28, 1999 (READ MORE)

Brussels International Film Festival Best Actress – “…Here is a much-deserved birthday gift for Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos: she has just won the Best Actress award at the just-concluded Brussels International Film Festival for her portrayal as a single mother in Star Cinema’s Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa. The film’s director, Chito Roño, was named Best Director in the same event. “Bata, Bata” was Vilma’s only movie for 1998. It was shown four months after she was elected Lipa City Mayor. Before it went to Brussels, Bata, Bata won for Vilma the Best Actress trophy at the Urian Awards, the Star Awards and the Film Academy Awards. She could have also won the FAMAS award, but as a member of the FAMAS Hall of Fame, Vilma is disqualified from competing in the FAMAS Best Actress category. The story was written by Lualhati Bautista, also the author of the controversial “Sutla,” starring Priscilla Almeda…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, Nov. 16, 1999 (READ MORE)

Hawaii International Film Festival – “…Four local movies have so far been chosen by Christian Gaines of the Hawaii International Film Festival for exhibition in the prestigious event in November. Four more will be picked in July when Gaines returns to Manila. Hawaii filmfest ’99 is focused on the Philippines. The first four movies selected were Chito Roño’s “Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa?,” Joel Lamangan’s “Sidhi,” Carlitos Siguion Reyna’s “Kahapon May Dalawang Bata,” and Gil Portes’ “Saranggola.” Of the four, only “Saranggola” has not yet been commercially released. Gaines viewed a rough copy (interlock) of “Saranggola” whose post-production work is yet unfinished. “Saranggola” stars Ricky Davao and Lester Llansang as father and son. Script by Butch Dalisay. Also being eyed for Filipino movies’ participation is the Sundance (Utah) filmfest (Robert Redford’s very own project), where Gaines is in charge of the world cinema division. “Saranggola” is an aspirant to the June Manila Film Festival. Gaines is inviting Cesar Montano as juror and Vilma Santos as special guest to the Hawaii filmfest, where “Jose Rizal” was shown last year…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, April 17, 1999 (READ MORE)

FAMAS’ Circle of Excellence

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After Hall of Fame – “…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. …” – RV (READ MORE)

Sinungaling Mong Puso (1992)

“…Vilma Santos did not expect that her first experience at the Lower House could be so pleasant. “They were very nice. I was expecting that they’ll just tolerate me kasi artista ako, but they even posed with me,” she shared. Gina de Venecia, wife of the Speaker, asked her to join the Congressional Ladies Group. Ate Vi said that as soon as “Things settle down after the December 11 wedding to be held at the Lipa Cathedral, she will organize a foundation for street children. First, in Lipa and later here in Metro Manila. Vi said that her latest movie, Sinungaling Mong Puso, slated to open today, is inspired by her tele-movie, Once There Was A Love which also starred Aga Muhlach. I really wanted Aga to be my leading man in this movie since we started our tele-movie.” The movie also reminded her of the time when she and Ralph met for the first time. He was then only 21, or 11 years her junior. Vi does not plan to stop making movies, “I’ll be bored with just being a housewife,” she averred. “Sinungaling…, she said, “is teh story of three women and how they relate to the men in their lives. This is more intense compared to Ipagpatawad Mo. She is set to do two more movies this year – – one for Moviestars with Cesar Montano and Ronnie Rickets to be directed by Chito Rono; and another for OctoArts with perennial screen partner, Christopher de Leon with Mike de Leon as director…” – Nena Villanueva, Manila Standard, Aug 27 1992 (READ MORE)

Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993)

“…The 1990s saw Charito Solis graduate to mother and grandmother roles, which she had done with frequency in the 1980s. In another nod to her age, she finally allowed herself to be billed above Vilma Santos, then acknowledged as the Longest-Reigning Box Office Queen of Philippine Movies, albeit above-the-title in films such as Ipagpatawad Mo (1992) and Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993)…” – Gypsy Baldovino and Yolly Tiangco (READ MORE)

FAMAS’ Circle of Excellence Awarded Films of Vilma Santos

  • 1993 Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story – Directed by Laurice Guillen; written by Ricardo Lee; produced by Orly Ilacad; musically scored by Nonong Buencamino; photographed by Eduardo Jacinto; and edited by Efren Jarlego; featured Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Charito Solis, Jackie Aquino, Christine Bersola, Noni Buencamino, Maila Gumila, Mia Gutierrez, Gigette Reyes, Gilleth Sandico, Eula Valdez, Mikee Villanueva, Nonie Buecamino, Jaime Blanch, John Caddi, Tess Dumpit, Chris Michelena, Sharme Centenera, Ernie Zarate, Pocholo Montes and Gil Portes. (READ MORE)
  • 1992 Sinungaling Mong Puso – Directed by Maryo J. De Los Reyes; written by Jose Javier D. Reyes, Jake Tordesillas; produced by Lily Monteverde; musically scored by Lutgardo Labad; photographed by Charlie Peralta, Jun Pereira, Caloy Jacinto; edited by George Jarlego; featured Vilma Santos, Gabby Concepcion, Alice Dixon, Aga Muhlach, Aiko Melendez, Ricardo Cepeda, Dennis Baltazar, Charlie Davao, Philip Gamboa, Melinda Mendez, Mila Ocampo, Luz Valdez, Orestes Ojeda, Michelle Bautista, Lora Luna, Aris Bautista, Daniel Roa, Dax Rivera, Allan Laceda, Aida Carmona, Estrella Antonio, Alex Toledo, Nonoy Gates, Tato Malay, Lemuel Sales, Francis Ignacio, Chynthia Carriedo, Marvin Bellosillo, Veronica Medel, and Jeff Long. (READ MORE)

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 Circle of Excellence was the brain child of then FAMAS member Jimmy Tiu to honor Hall of Fame inductees whose work deserves the recognition of the Academy. Since Hall of Fame inductees cannot be given another competitive FAMAS Award for the same category, the award was born.

The Circle of Excellence Award was modeled from great screen legend and FAMAS Award-winner Rosa Rosal by master sculptor Manuel Barreiro. The varnished gold-painted wood statuette boasts of a Balintawak-clad woman whose raised hands holds a four-spoke film reel. She stands on a circular pedestal, which is encircled with a thin sheet of gold that bears the initials and full name of FAMAS, the awards ceremony in which it was won, the words “Circle of Excellence” name and the name of the winner. 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).

Circle of Excellence Recipients:  Vilma Santos – 1992, 1993; Nora Aunor – 1995; Christopher de Leon – 2004  (READ MORE)

Related Reading: * 1972 Best Actress  * FAMAS Recognitions * Who cares about movie awards? * FAMAS Hall of Fame Best Actress

The First Grand Slam Best Actress in the Philippines

Figure 1: Best Actress from FAMAS, Gawad Urian, Film Academy of the Philippines, and CMMA

Figure 1: Best Actress from FAMAS, Gawad Urian, Film Academy of the Philippines, and CMMA

The oldest award giving body in the Philippines was the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences simply called FAMAS. It was launch two years after the Maria Clara awards folded in 1951. FAMAS shared the same name with the American film academy; AMPAS until the later complained and the Filipino organization have to change theirs into the current acronym. FAMAS created a history of controversies throughout their more than sixty years in award-giving business mostly due to their questionable selection of winners. In 2006, FAMAS experienced another setback when two groups divided the organization due to a controversial election of its officers. As the legal battle settled, the battling groups decided to just hand out their own awards, one used the name FAMAS and the other the Maria Clara Awards. Like its infancy, the Maria Clara Awards did not reach its maturity and died the second time. This is not the first time FAMAS experience disgruntled “break-away” members forming their own award. Prior to 1976, FAMAS retained their status as the most prestigious recognition a Filipino actor could have. Charito Solis, who won best actress at the Asian Film Festival in 1967 used to proudly bring her FAMAS trophies on the film set to intimidate starlets and to instigate professionalism. The breakaway group of critics wish to distinguish themselves from FAMAS by successfully branded their award as not for actors who overtly act in films, they catered to the ones who are restrained and controlled. Hence, the term “Pang-FAMAS na acting” was born, which means over-acting.

The new group of practicing critics handed out their first award in 1976 and called themselves as the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (The Filipino Film Critics) and their awards as Gawad Urian. The critics created a name for its credible choices of winners throughout the years. This untainted reputation made the Gawad Urian, the most sought after award in the Philippines.

Two years after the critics handed out their Gawad Urian, the Catholic Church joined the derby by handing out their own version of movie awards. The Catholic Mass Media Awards came to fruition in 1978 with the late Cardinal Jaime Sin in charge of the ceremony. CMMA honour not only films but also television, print, radio, and recently advertisement.

Five years afterwards, came the establishment of the Philippines’ counterpart of OSCAR. Consists of different guilds, the very first academy awards, now called Luna Awards, handed out in 1983. After 25 years, the Luna Awards cemented a reputation as “the popularity contest awards,” which means each guild votes for their favourites and not necessarily about merits. They tried very hard to adopt a new set of voting rules including different nominating group that represented each guild to resolve this issues but like the OSCAR, the results are sometimes questionable. The common consensus was that the Luna Awards remained far behind Gawad Urian. Two years after the creation of Film Academy of the Philippines’ Luna awards, another group joined the award giving business.

The Philippines Movie Press Club or the PMPC handed out their first Star awards in 1985. The Star awards were considered the Philippines’ counterpart of the Golden Globes. And like the Golden Globes, the Star also honours television. The only difference is that the Star Awards hands out their film and televisions ceremonies separately. Consists of publicists and entertainment writers, who are member of PMPC (Philippine Movie Press Club) the Star Awards followed the footsteps of Gawad Urian with very credible choices of winners but just like FAMAS, the Star Awards experienced the same fate with a disgruntled members formed their own version of the same awards. The Entertainment Press Society was born with their Golden Screen Awards in 2004.

Today, in addition to the Gawad Urian, FAMAS, Luna, CMMA, Star Awards, and Golden Screen, we also have the PASADO awards from an organization of academics; the YCC, Young Critics Circle Awards from a group of film students; the Gawad Tanglaw from an organization of film and arts’ instructors. Lately, the OMG Awards by the internet company, Yahoo Philippines, and the MTRC Awards by the board of censors joined the now, overcrowded award giving bodies.

Before 1982, the word grandslam were only used in sports. The term grandslam according to Wikipedia in terms of tennis is a singles player or doubles team that wins all four major tournaments (Australian, French, Wimbledon, US) in the same calendar year, is said to have achieved the “Grand Slam” or a “Calendar Year Grand Slam,” just like what Steffi Graf, the retired German tennis superstar did in 1988. Meanwhile the American Heritage dictionary described the term “grand slam” as follows: first, the winning of all the tricks during the play of one hand in bridge and other whist-derived card games. Second, the winning of all the major or specified events, especially on a professional circuit. And third, in baseball, a home run hit when three runners are on base. From this set of definitions comes the term “grand slam best actress” which basically winning all the best actresses awards from all major award giving bodies. And in 1983, the four majors were FAMAS, Gawad Urian, CMMA, and the FAP (or Luna now).

The Beginning – The Marcos administration created the Film Academy of the Philippines in 1981 under the guidance of first lady Imelda Marcos and Imee Marcos as Experimental Cinema of the Philippines’ director-general. ECP started to ambitiously produced films to showcase local talents for its inaugural Manila International Film Festival. The organization produced two memorable films, Peque Gallaga’s period film, “Oro, Plata, Mata” and Ishmael Bernal’s French influenced film, “Himala.” Come Gawad Urian night, both films received its stiff competitions from three other films, Mike Deleon’s “Batch ’81,” Lino Brocka’s “Cain at Abel” and Marilou Diaz Abaya’s “Moral.” For the Manunuri, the previous year produced only two stand out films, Mike De Leon’s Kisap Mata and Laurice Guillen’s Salome. A big contradiction this year, as not only they have the tasks of sorting out the best in each categories from these five films mentioned above but also other worthy films. Famous with their long heated debates, the local critics added the following films in their list of best films: Nora Aunor’s “Mga Uod at Rosas,” Vilma Santos’ “Relasyon” and Hilda Koronel’s “PX.” The three were cited not only for the overall production but also for the performances of the film’s lead actresses. Also cited were, ECP’s delicate horror film, “Haplos” directed by Jose Perez and two Lino Brocka films, the comedy “Palipat-lipat, Papalit-palit” and the drama “In this Corner.”

For Vilma Santos, The previous year, Pakawalan Mo Ako was a huge summer hit that earned Vilma a surprised best actress in FAMAS. That year also released Ex-Wife and Hiwalay, about marital problems. Art imitating life, as there were reports that Vilma and now, ex-husband, Edu Manzano were having some marital problems. But Vilma as trooper as she is, any personal troubles were not publicly noticeable as she goes on with her work, business as usual. Also, Vilma gave birth to her eldest son Luis “Lucky” Manzano.

By December of 1981, her film festival entry, Karma earned her another surprise best actress trophy after the FAMAS gave her the nod for Pakawalan Mo Ako. In an unrelated news, the entertainment industry were shocked to found that matinee idol, Alfie Anido died on Dec 31st. Like the death of Julie Vega and Rico Yan, it is still unknown the reason behind Anido’s death.

She is determined to make 1982 another successful year. She released a total of six films, out of six; two were certified record breakers, “Sinasamba Kita (I Idolized You)” released in August and “Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? (How Many Times is Once),” released in November, both produced by Viva Films. The other four films (Relasyon, T-Bird at Ako, Never Ever Say Goodbye, Haplos) were mild hits. All of her hard work paid off because as early as January of the 1983 she was already poised to reap major awards.

Meanwhile for Nora Aunor, 1982 were a mixed bag of mild hits and failed opportunities. “Mga Uod at Rosas,” her collaboration with Lorna Tolentino and director Romy Zusara produced a mixed reviews from the critics. Her excellent performance did not help as the film were just mild hit with the audience. Her follow up films, “Annie Sabungera” and “Palenke Queen” both comedies also did not do well at the box office making the expectation from her next film higher, as she teamed-up with the hottest star of 1982, her closest rival, Vilma Santos in Danny Zialcita’s fast paced film, “T-bird at Ako.” T-bird’s high expectation wasn’t realized as the film earned just a modest income.

By December, all eyes were focused again on Nora and her most ambitious project to date, Ishmael Bernal’s “Himala,” produced by the Imee Marcos’ Experimental Cinema of the Philippines. The film was an entry to the Metro Manila film festival. Nora Aunor was again proclaimed the “queen of local festival” as she won her third Metro Manila Film Festival best actress. Nora’s momentum was rising and she was conditioned to make some serious dent in the following year’s award giving seasons. Critics were all going “gaga” with Aunor’s gigantic performance as Elsa. They said Himala was very effective in communicating its film’s message; it has moving moments and raw power.

Communicated It Really Well – “…Nestor Torre…he finds Batch ’81 the best movie made in 1982. “The movie had something very important to say and it communicated it very well…As for the best actress, it’s Nora Aunor in Himala. “It was a good role, and she communicated it very well. At least, Nora wasn’t api here for a change, It was quite a complicated role, but she handled it very well….Other choices were Gina Alajar and Lorna Tolentino in Moral…Vilma Santos, Nestor notes, is admittedly a “very hard worker but her physical structure really makes it difficult for her to be really effective—hindi malalim—and her voice is not that expressive.” Nestor adds, though, once in a while, Vilma “transcends her physical limitations, as in Rubia Servios…” – Nestor Torre Jr. (film critic), Parade Magazine, January 19, 1983

Moving Moments – “…Best Films: (in the order of preference) 1. Oro, Plata, Mata and Batch ’81; 2. Relasyon and Himala; 3. Moral. Best Directors: (in no particular order) 1. Ishmael Bernal for Relasyon and Himala; 2. Peque Gallaga for Oro Plata Mata; 3. Mike de Leon for Batch ’81. Actresses: 1. Vilma Santos for Relasyon; 2. Nora Aunor for Himala and Uod at Rosas; 3. Sandy Andolong for Moral and Oro Plata Mata; 4. Gina Alajar for Moral. Actors: 1. Mark Gil for Batch ’81 and Palipat-lipat, Papalit-palit; 2. Joel Torre for Oro Plata Mata; 3. Christopher de Leon for Relasyon. Most movies are usually flawed, and those in my list are no exception. However, apart from the standard criteria I am applying to them (the classic from and content balance), I am giving much weight on impact and emotional power. So, my top two are Oro and Batch. Himala is an ambitious film and much flawed, but it has visual beauty and emotional wallop.

Relasyon is more modest in scope, but I think is more successful on its own terms. Moral has many good things going for it, from direction and writing, to performances, but it does not match the four other films in impact (though it has some moving moments) and originality…” – Mario Hernando (film critic), Parade Magazine, January 19, 1983

Raw Power – “…Ding Nolledo…confesses to liking Himala “very much” but mentions that he hasn’t seen Oro Plata Mata…because the film exudes “raw power,” not to mention the excellent acting and the direction, which was like early Fellini, especially the middle part…Ding doesn’t agree with Moral’s rave reviews because “I’ve seen Moral in about 369 other films.” It’s not that original, he implies. As for best actress, it’ll have to be Nora in Himala. “She reminds me of the young Anna Magnani. Besides, the script fitted her to a T. The role practically coincides with what she is in real life…” – Wilfrido Nolledo (novelist, screenwriter, film critic), Parade Magazine, January 19, 1983

Himala won nine out of eleven local festival awards. A sort of repeat of what Vilma’s “Burlesk Queen” achieved in 1977 but without the complaints or sour grapes.

Body of Work – The success of Himala in the December festival has been overshadowed by the commercial success of Vilma Santos’ body of work. In fact, on Dec 14, 1982, Channel 9’s talk show, Let’s Talk Movies recognized Vilma Santos as their best actress for her body on work. Nora Aunor was nominated for her films excluding her epic movie Himala which was not qualified due to the show’s fiscal year requirements which covers December 1981 to November 1982 (More about this below).

On January 20, 1983, Vilma was crowned the Box Office Queen by the Metro Manila Theaters Association in their very first The 1st Cinehan Awards. Reporter Meg Mendoza wrote in an article for Prime Magazine, “…Vilma gave Viva Films its first biggest hit in Sinasamba Kita earning over P7M in Metro Manila alone. Then came T-Bird at Ako (a mild hit), Never Ever Say Goodbye (a sorry miss), Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? (her biggest hit for that year) and Haplos. As early as January 20, 1983, Vilma began to reap several victories when she was awarded by the Metro Manila Theaters Association on their first Cinehan Awards together with Fernando Poe, Jr. held at the Philippine Plaza.

National Artist Nick Joaquin, in an article that came out in the Bulletin Today on February 11, 1983 wrote: “By emerging as box-office queen, Vilma Santos proved herself to be the Philippine Cinema’s Superstar – a title, it’s to be realized now, that can be bestowed only by the Cinehan.” So, on Cinehan Awards Night, Vilma was the very picture of the conquering heroine, drawing all eyes as she glowed and glittered, a rapture of radiance in her strapless white gown with lilac sash – and in white gloves yet! In her triumph joined both cinema and cinehan. Her pictures were all well done – and they also did very well at the box-office. In the same awards night, Ambassador Jaime Zobel de Ayala, another recipient of the Cinehan, upon receiving his award from Dean Lucresia Kasilag said: “I’m only a little bit sorry that Vilma didn’t give me the award. But it’s all right, I’ll try again next year. You’re my favorite star, you’re my muse! I’ll suffer in silence…”

Ironically, few weeks after her crowning as box office queen, Vilma released Ayaw Kong Maging Kerida, the result was average, proving the Romeo Vasquez and Vilma Santos screen charisma has subsided immensely.

Not to be outdone with Vilma’s latest feat, Nora’s “Himala” competed in the 1983 Berlin International Film Festival the following month. The film was the Philippines’ sole entry. The rave reviews were solid, Aunor’s performance was recognized by a nomination but unfortunately, according to Bernal, she lost the race by a mere vote. Would a similar fate awaits Aunor as the local award giving seasons begins?

First Major – By late February, the award-giving season in the country started. In their website, the Catholic Mass Media Awards recalled, “…The Archdiocese of Manila, through His Eminence Archbishop Jaime L. Cardinal Sin, organized the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) in 1978, in observance of the International Social Communication Day (established by the Universal Church to stress the importance of mass media and to instill a sense of responsibility in communicators). An outstanding way, in radio, print, advertising, television, and film. It was first given out in 1978; since then the CMMA was held every year onwards. In 1980, His Holiness Pope John Paul II graced the awarding ceremonies. Handing out personally the trophies to the winners, the Pontiff illustrated the significant place of mass media in today’s society, and its pervasive influence in the lives of the people…”

Just the previous year, the CMMA praised Nora Aunor’s acting in the late Mario O’harra film, “Bakit Bughaw ang Langit?” and she was adjudged their best actress. There is a great chance that Nora would repeat the feat, as many expected the church would favor a well-crafted film with religious theme.

On February 29, 1983, the fight between Nora Aunor’s “goliath” type of performance in “Himala (Miracle)” versus the “davidian” type of performance in Vilma Santos’ “Relasyon (the affair)” begins. The media were partly right, CMMA gave their best picture, screenplay, supporting actor/actress to Himala. But despite its, taboo story of a mistress, the Catholic Church’s award giving body favoured Vilma’s sympathetic performance.

Vilma won the first bout. Nora left empty-handed. The first blood has been drawn and Noranians, Nora Aunor’s fanatic fans were furious. The fight didn’t stop at the Catholic Mass Media Awards. The next one was a big one.

Second Major – Noranians expected a third Urian best actress considering the magnitude of Aunor’s performance in Himala and the positive reviews it received. Positive reviews that were written by the Manunuri critics themselves. Noranians dismissed Vilma’s win at the CMMA and expected that metal sculpted trophy was in the bag already. By the way, who are these critics anyway?

Practicing Film Critics – Movie writer, Billy R. Balbastro described the Manunuris: “…The Manunuri ng Pelikulang Filipino…is an organization of practicing film critics established in 1976. Most came from the Academe then with Nestor U. Torre becoming its first president. The Manunuri had its Gawad Urian in simple one hour-long rites at the CCP then. Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera Jr. became its second president. Other presidents include: Mario Hernando, Butch Francisco, Agustin “Hammy” Sotto, Gigi Javier Alfonso of UP. Each critic-member is expected to write regularly film reviews or film criticism which must be published in national publications. Each year too they give out awards for achievements in the movie industry, thus joining the FAMAS, the Film academy of the Philippines and the Philippine Movie Press Club’s Star Awards in this aspect of endeavor. During their first decade (1976 to 1985), they also came up with their Stars of the Decade: Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, Vic Silayan and Phillip Salvador. The members of the Manunuri are: Mario Hernando (editor of Sunday Malaya), Bienvenido Lumbera Jr.(1993 Ramon Magsaysay awardee for journalism, literature and creative communication), Nicanor Tiongson (former artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and former MTRCB chair), Butch Francisco (TV personality), Agustin “Hammy” Sotto (founding president of the Society of Film Archivists), Paul Daza (columnist), Gigi Javier Alfonso (dean of the UP-Diliman Open University and professor at the UP College of Mass Communication –UP-CMC), Ellen Paglinauan (dean of UP-CMC), Bro. Miguel Rapatan (DLSU), and Lito Zulueta (Inquirer sub-editor and faculty member of the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters)…”

The 1973 Scandal – Speaking of co-winner or “tie,” writer Rolfie Velasco pointed out in his article, “…FAMAS was the sole award-giving body for film in the Philippines from 1952 until 1976, when the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (MPP) formed the Gawad URIAN (FAMAS was also contested by the Manila Film Festival, established in the 1960s, but a film festival cannot be considered as a major award-giving body). From 1952 to 1976, FAMAS alone has awarded the most foremost performers and craftsmen of Filipino films, from screen legend Rosa Rosal to master director Gerardo de Leon. Winning a FAMAS Award became the target obsession for many film craftsmen, for it was, after all, the Philippines’ counterpart of the Oscars. The awards itself, then held mostly in the Manila Hotel, was the biggest annual event in the Philippine movie industry…In 1973, the FAMAS was rocked by a terrible scandal. It awarded the first tie in the lead categories in the history of Philippine cinema. Before this, the only recorded tie was in 1968, when Tito Arevalo and Tony Maiquez shared the Best Musical Score honors. Because of the popular nominees with their loyal supporters, the tie in the 1973 best actress category became a hot topic with both Boots Anson-Roa (Tatay Na Si Erap) and Vilma Santos (Dama De Noche) sharing the honors. Because a tie in the lead categories was unheard of, the public dissented the vote. Therefore, for the next years, the FAMAS invited film critics to be members of its nominating and awarding committee. These critics left the FAMAS in 1976 to form MPP and subsequently, the Gawad Urian (Urian Award), named after the Tagalog word for gold standard…”

On April 15, 1983, the Gawad Urian was set to give out their hardware. It was known by many, that the critics or the Manunuris were pro-Nora Aunor. They gave Aunor their very first best actress award in 1976 for her excellent performance in “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (three years without God)”. They also gave Aunor a second nod in 1980 in her wonderful performance in “Bona” with Gina Alajar as co-winner.

When the winner was read, even Vilma was surprised. After so many years of snubs, she finally received the recognition she truly deserved. The critics finally came to their senses and recognized Vilma’s explosive and giant killer performance.

By winning the Gawad Urian, Vilma defeated not only Nora but also Lorna Tolentino and Gina Alajar both equally gave a felt performance in the feminist film, “Moral.”

Adding cherry to an already sumptuous plate, at the same night, on April 15, 1983, Vilma have to rush to another ceremony, she was crowned by the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Foundation as the 1982 – 83 Box Office Queen of Philippine Movies at the Celebrity Sports Plaza with Fernando Poe Jr as the Box Office King, her second crown/title after January’s Cinehan Awards.

This was Vilma’s second major best actress wins in the same calendar year. She was half way there. People are now starts talking about the possibility of Vilma winning all the best actress awards.

Not to be outdone, Noranians regained from their disappointments as Nora Aunor received an award from a socio-political group, the TOWNS on April 23, 1983. Nora Aunor received (The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service) or simply TOWNS award from the former first lady, Madame Imelda Romualdez Marcos, at the Plenary Hall of the Philippine Convention Center. With the first lady handing out the TOWNS to Nora, people are started to insinuate that Nora Aunor’s defeat in two previous majors are politically motivated.

Third Major – The next race was the very first Luna Awards, back then, simply called the Film Academy Awards, Philippines’ counterpart of OSCAR.

On April 27, 1983 the First Film Academy of the Philippines Awards were held at the Manila Film Center. The FAP official web site provided some basic information about The Luna Awards, “…Established in 1981 as mandated by Executive Order No. 640-A, the Academy has been able to forge an alliance among the various guilds of the movie industry. Serving as the umbrella organization, the Film Academy oversees the welfare of the guilds thru an assortment of subsidies, projects and opportunities that would bring about the upgrading of the knowledge and expertise of the guild members. The principal function of the Academy is to give awards in recognition of the artistic and technical excellence of the performances and to accentuate the value of quality works of the people behind the outstanding films shown during the year. The Annual Luna Awards is intended to provide the necessary motivation in enhancing the craftsmanship of movie industry workers that will eventually uplift the quality of local films. The Academy also assists in the staging and managing of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival from which proceeds the Film Academy gets a share. Delegates to foreign film festivals are primarily sent thru the intercession of the Academy. The Academy also spearheads the collaboration of the movie industry with government agencies in order to gain opportunities for the guilds and its members…”

Academy insider, Jose N. Carreon wrote: “…At seven o’clock on a Wednesday evening on April 27, 1983, the Film Academy of the Philippines held its first ever awards night for distinguished works and performances in films exhibited in 1982. The venue was the Manila Film Center, one of the cultural edifices that were constructed under the auspices of former First Lady, Madame Imelda Romualdez-Marcos…The first ever Academy award winner was the late Rodolfo ‘Boy’ Garcia who was adjudged the best supporting actor for his role in Ito Ba ang Ating mga Anak?…Liza Lorena was best supporting actress for her role in Oro, Plata, Mata…The late Vic Macamay won the best sound award for Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan?…The best cinematography award was won by Romy Vitug for Sinasamba Kita…Sinasamba Kita by the late George Canseco was voted the best original song…The late Orlando Nadres won the best screenplay adaptation for Sinasamba Kita…Romy Suzara won as best director for Uod at Rosas…Manay Ichu’s MVP Pictures’ Batch ’81 was voted the first best picture of the academy awards…With the stage overflowing with showbiz people, the best actor and best actress awards were announced. Philip Salvador (for Cain at Abel) was declared best actor over Robert Arevalo (Santa Claus is Coming to Town), Mark Gil (Batch ’81), Christopher de Leon (Relasyon) and Joel Torre (Oro, Plata, Mata). The last winner of the night turned out to be Vilma Santos who was best actress for her performance in Relasyon. The other aspirants were Gina Alajar (Moral), Nora Aunor (Himala), Coney Reyes-Mumar (Pedring Taruc) and Lorna Tolentino (Moral). Then everything was history. After 25 years, we remember and we celebrate and we recommit ourselves for another quarter of a century. The Film Academy of the Philippines and its Luna Awards live on…”

Vilma Santos faces again a stiff resistance from Nora Aunor. In the end, Vilma received her fourth best actress award. And like when Nora received her TOWNS award, the former first lady, Imelda Marcos handed out the very first Academy award best actress to Vilma.

Vilma won her third major best actress in the same calendar year. One short of a complete overhaul.

Fourth Major – The award season of 1983 ended with the handing out of the FAMAS. The Manila Film Center was jam packed with not only celebrities but also a boisterous group of Noranians and Vilmanians. Unfortunately, Nora Aunor wasn’t nominated for her gigantic role of Elsa in “Himala” instead, she was nominated for her portrayal of an underdog lover of the late Johnny Delgado in Romy Zusara’s “Mga Uod at Rosas (The Worms and Roses)”. The competition didn’t stop with Vilma’s “Relasyon,” Noranians were worried about the other nominees too. Hilda Koronel was cited for her solo starrer, “PX” and Alma Moreno was nominated for her daring role as Cristina Gaston in the “Diary of Cristina Gaston.” The list of Nominees were completed with the inclusion of two veterans: Mona Lisa for her supposed to be supporting role in “Cain at Abel” and Liza Lorena for her surprising role in “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” With this list comes a lesser expectation from Noranians, as Nora wasn’t nominated for her more intense role as Elsa. But this didn’t bother them as they raided the Manila Film Centre with so much fanfare.

The unofficial FAMAS website declared the winners, “…The 31st FAMAS Awards was held at the Manila Film Center on May 28, 1983. The Best Picture went to Cine Suerte’s Cain at Abel defeating Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan [Viva Films], Himala [Experimental Cinema of the Philippines], Ang Panday: Ikatlong Yugto [FPJ Productions] and Sinasamba Kita [Viva Films]. The Best Actor went to Anthony Alonzo for Bambang defeating Christopher de Leon for Relasyon, Dolphy for My Heart Belongs to Daddy, George Estregan for Lalaki Ako, Dindo Fernando for Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan, Fernando Poe, Jr. for Ang Panday: Ikatlong Yugto, and Philip Salvador for Cain at Abel. The best supporting Actor went to Tommy Abuel for Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan while the best supporting Actress went to Sandy Andolong for Moral. Eddie Garcia won the best director Sinasamba Kita defeating Marilou Diaz-Abaya for Moral, Ishmael Bernal for Himala, Lino Brocka for Cain at Abel, Fernando Poe, Jr. for Ang Panday: Ikatlong Yugto and Danny Zialcita for Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan. Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan also won the best story for Tom Adrales; best screenplay for Tom Adrales and Danny Zialcita; best editing for Ike Jarlego, Jr.; best musical score and theme song for George Canseco and best sound for Vic Macamay. Joseph Estrada received the Hall of Famer Award for winning five times as producer. The most anticipated award was for best actress which went to Vilma Santos for Relasyon defeating Nora Aunor for Mga Uod at Rosas, Hilda Koronel for PX, Mona Lisa for Cain at Abel, Liza Lorena for Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Alma Moreno for The Diary of Cristina Gaston ..”

Unfortunately, for Noranians, their idol went empty handed again for the last time. Vilma claimed her fourth major best actress in one calendar year. The night for Vilmanians didn’t stop from Vilma’s win. Eddie Garcia won the best director award for a Vilma Santos’ blockbuster film, “Sinasamba Kita.”

Noranians were all mad as hell. Writer Bum D. Tenorio Jr., in his article for Philippine Star, described how the feisty Noranians reacted on Vilma’s win on their home turf, the Gawad Urian, “…Talk about Himala, it was because of this movie that two ladies in my neighborhood got into a nasty hair-pulling fight. Nora could have won the grand slam for Best Actress in all the award-giving bodies for this movie in 1982 except that her archrival and now Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos won for the movie “Relasyon” in the Gawad Urian. The feisty Noranians in the neighborhood could not accept this, while the Vilmanians gloated. This irreconcilable difference unfortunately turned ugly. In those days, fans were fiercely loyal. When Vilmanians talked about “Wonder V,” expect Noranians to come up with “Super G.” When Vilmanians mentioned how they got scared in “Phantom Lady,” expect a multitude of Noranians to thwart their claim by discussing “Fe, Esperanza, Caridad,” Nora’s suspense thriller. Even when Nora and Vilma starred together in a movie, say “Pinagbuklod ng Pag-Ibig” or the legendary “T-Bird at Ako,” competition between fans of both camps still raged. But in my community, the Noranians always prevailed!…”

Paranoia seeped in their brain as they hypothesized the reasons why Nora failed to win any awards. Sabotage according to them was the only reason. The political repercussion of the film being made under the Marcos administration resulted Nora Aunor being ignored by all award-giving bodies! Never mind that Vilma Santos deserved all the wins. Vilma Santos swept the entire best actress in four major award-giving bodies in one calendar year. The tag line “grand slam” was born.

In addition to the above majors, talk show, “Let’s talk movies” came up with their own film awards on its anniversary presentation at the end of 1982. The hosts, Behn Cervantes (filmmaker, film critic), Armida Siguion Reyna (film actress, producer) and Mario Bautista (movie reporter, critic, columnist) were quoted as who they think deserve the year’s accolade.

Behn Cervantes: “…Behn’s choice for best movie of 1982 comes easy, with one qualification (he has not seen Oro, Plata, Mata). “It’s Batch ’81 because it was innovative and more daring…As for the choice of best actress, “mahirap iyan,” Behn admits spontaneously. “It’s a difficult choice between Gina Alajar in Moral and Nora Aunor in Himala. Gina was beautifully flamboyant and effective as the funky character in Moral, while Nora was very cinematic in Himala. Nora is one actress who knows how to use her medium…Vilma is also good. She knows her craft, but somehow, at the moment of truth, physically she doesn’t quite hit me. There’s something very cutesified about it…”

Armida Siguion Reyna: “…Armida has said it in her TV show Let’s Talk Movies and she’s saying it again: her choice for best movie not only for the film fest but for the entire 1982 is Moral. “It’s very ‘today,’ NOW. You really get to identify with the characters in the movie…After Moral, Armida chooses Oro, Plata, Mata and Cain at Abel, respectively, as among 1982’s best…Armida chooses Vilma Santos as best actress for her performance in Relasyon. “I can’t explain my choice in the beautiful language of the Manunuri but I go by gut and alam kong maganda.” She is also more inclined toward Vilma because the actress made a number of good movies last year…”

Mario E. Bautista: “…For us, sinuman ang manalo kina Vilma Santos o Lorna Tolentino ay okey lang. Both Gina and Nora have won the Urian best actress awards twice. Gina for Brutal and Salome, Nora for Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos and Bona. Napakagaling ni Gina in portraying the role of the trying hard Kathy in Moral. Hindi biru-biro ang ganoong character na gagawin mong sympathetic dahil mas malamang na lumabas itong ridiculous lang kaysa nakakakuha ng simpatiya. But Gina succeeded in making her Kathy both ridiculous and sympathetic. As Elsa, Nora’s case is that of star and role merging into one, fitting into each other perfectly dahil alam nating ang karisma ni Guy sa kanyang fans ay siya ring karisma ni Elsa sa kanyang naging followers. Pero palagay namin, kung hindi magta-tie sina Lorna at Vilma, mananalo ng solo si Vilma Santos. Vi has never won the Urian. She should have gotten it in 1977 for Burlesk Queen but the trophy went to Daria Ramirez in Sinong Kasiping. Maraming acting highlights ang paper ni Vi bilang Marilou sa Relasyon. Sa confrontation scenes nila ni Boyet, superb siya roon sa tagpong sinusumbatan niya ito dahil ginagawa na lamang siyang tau-tauhan. Ang acting niya sa death scene ni Boyet na hindi malaman ang gagawin sa katarantahan is also awesome to behold…”

Unfortunately, despite their highly praises of Nora Aunor, the talk show hosts gave their nod to Vilma Santos due to their technical rules. An article from Movie Flash explained: “…In celebration of its first anniversary, Channel 9’s Let’s Talk Movies will have a special presentation on December 14 from 9:30 to 11:30 pm. The talk show hosted by Armida Siguion-Reyna, Behn Cervantes and Mario E. Bautista will distribute seven major awards to deserving artists who excelled in local pictures shown from Dec, 1981 to November, 1982. The Let’s Talk Movies awards differ from those of other award-giving bodies in that they honor a director or performer not for just a single work or performance in one movie but for a body of outstanding works or performances shown during the said fiscal year. This is in line with the show’s aim to help uplift local movies. To qualify, a nominee should have at least two significant contributions. Nominees for…best actress…are Gina Alajar (Init o Lamig, Pusong Uhaw), Nora Aunor (Uod at Rosa, T-bird, Rock ‘n Roll, Palengke Queen), Amy Austria (Katas ng Langis, Waywaya, Pusong Uhaw), Vilma Santos (Karma, Relasyon, T-bird, Sinasamba Kita, Never Ever Say Goodbye) and Maricel Soriano (Galawgaw, Mother Dear, Schoolgirls)…An award for best producer will be given to the company which has produced the most number of outstanding films during the year. Special citations will be given to movie personnel who made worthy contributions to the industry during the year…”

While Vilmanians celebrated their idol’s historical win, Nora Aunor redeemed their broken ego by lining up to the 1983 Manila International Film Festival on June 24th, Himala was chosen as the opening gala film together with Hollywood film, Gandhi as the closing.

After the awards season of 1983, Vilma Santos released three more films after the disappointment, Ayaw Kong Maging Kerida.

On June 9th, Viva Films released Paano Ba ang Mangarap? that turned out to be another box office hit. Few months afterwards, Regal films released Bernal’s Broken Marriage, the follow-up film after the successful grand slam film, Relasyon.

Finally, four days after Vi’s birthday, Viva Films released Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s drama, Minsan pa Natin Hagkan Ang Nakaraan, another box office hit. This film plus the two films mentioned above confirmed her bankable status. Not to be outshine again, “Himala” continued its relentless fight for recognition, winning the bronze prize at the 1983 Chicago International Film Festival on November of 1983 (Nov 4-18 1983).

Vilma Santos made history. The first grand slam win of Vilma Santos was repeatedly analyzed over and over again. Mostly to give accolade to Nora Aunor.

Joel David, in his article titled “Performances of the Age” wrote: “…the outstanding performance of the period belongs to that of Nora Aunor in Himala, which was honoured only by the MMFF….In Himala the director and writer seemed to have agreed to a mutual stand-off, thus amplifying the theatrical potential of an expansive locale with a protracted takes; stage-trained talents ensured the competent execution of histrionic stylizations, with the climax set on an open-air platform before a hysterical audience. It was a truly great actress’ opportunity of a lifetime, and Nora Aunor seized it and made it not just her role, but her film as well. Not since Anita Linda in Gerardo de Leon’s Sisa (circa the first Golden Age) had there been such a felicitous exploitation by a performer of ideal filmmaking conditions – and in this instance, Himala has the decided advantage of being major-league and universal….”

Arnel Resma Ramos’ article titled “Himala Revisited” praised Nora’s complex role: “…we believe that Nora Aunor should have swept all the best actress awards for that particular year…Aunor had the more complex role and only an actress of her calibre can pull off the part with much persuasion. It calls for a restrained, self-effacing acting style. And Aunor, the consummate actress that she was…strikes not a false note in her performance. It is, in one word, mesmerizing. And Himala is without a scintilla of a doubt the pinnacle of her cinematic achievements.”

In recent years, Himala was recognized in many film exhibitions around the world. Even international television network fell on the prey and held an international internet poll, raising Himala to its highest glory, proclaiming the film as one of Asia’s best film. They hail, finally, Aunor were given the citations its truly deserved!

Again, never mind that Vilma Santos gave the most effective performance in the history of local movie screen. The fact is, no matter what they do or say they can’t change history. Vilma Santos was the very first “grand slam” best actress winner.

The history continues – Three years after Vilma Santos registered the very first grand slam win, Philip Salvador replicated the honours by winning all the best actor in 1985 via Lino Brocka’s political drama, ‘Bayan Ko kapit sa Patalim.’ Salvador won five majors as Star Awards were added to the four. The next year, 1986, Nida Blanca followed suit with a best supporting actress grand slam for her outstanding performance in the film, “Magdusa Ka.” Then four years after Blanca’s came the most awaited turn for Vilma’s rival.

Noranians were ecstatic as their idol claimed all the best actress hardwares of 1990 for “Andrea Paano Ba Ang Maging Isang Ina.” A deserving consolation as the film bombed at the box office. Nora’s stiffest competition came from Vilma’s two films, Lino Brocka’s “Hahamakin Lahat,” and Laurice Guillen’s “Kapag Langit ang Humatol.” But the table was turned and Nora claimed almost all of the major awards except from CMMA where she was declared runner up to Gina Alajar.

By 1990, CMMA was relegated into the minor league of award giving bodies replaced by much more popular Star Awards. Two years after Nora Aunor claimed the honour as grand slam winner, Lorna Tolentino took the crown for her effective performance in 1992′s “Narito Ang Puso Ko.”

Then back to Vilma again. – In 1993, Vilma Santos successfully relived the life of the first PWA in Laurence Guillen’s “Dahil Mahal Kita: Dolzura Cortez Story.” Not only the film recorded the second grand slam win for Vilma as best actress of 1993, the film was also a smashed hit. The two years intervals prove to be a normal pattern as Vilma’s closest rival took all the trophies again in 1995.

Nora Aunor hit the jackpot via true to life film, the “Flor Contemplacion Story.” And not only did she won the grand slams, she added an international recognition winning the best actress at Cairo International Film Festival. In addition to the majors, Aunor also received the best performer from YCC and the box office queen title from the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation, Inc. (GMMSFI).

The next years, two actresses claimed the grand slam honours. Sharon Cuneta as best actress for her effective performance in “Madrasta (the Stepmother)” and the best supporting actress awards for Gina Alajar in “Mulanay, Sa Pusod Ng Paraiso.”

Then back to Vilma Santos again after two years for the third time. Vilma Santos won all the best actress awards for 1998′s “Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa (Lea’s Story)”. Then like Aunor in 1995, she added an international recognition with her grand slam win. Vilma was cited as the best actress at the Brussels International Film Festival. And also received the YCC-Film Desk’s best performer award.

By 1999, the grand slams wins were alive and kicking. Elizabeth Oropeza won all the best actress hardwares for her very intense performance as a prostitute in 1998′s “Bulaklak Ng Maynila.” The same year, an unknown actress Glydel Mercado, surprised everyone as she won all the best supporting actress awards coincidentally from a Nora Aunor comeback vehicle, “Sidhi.”

Then in 2002, Vilma Santos for the fourth time claimed the grand slam title by winning all the best actress awards for her superb performance in the film, “Dekada 70 (the seventies).” At the same time, Vilma’s co-star, Piolo Pascual declared his arrival to the big league of fine acting by winning all the best supporting actor awards. The film also gave Vilma her second international recognition winning the best actress from Cinemanila International Film Festival. In addition, she also received hardwares from PASADO (Pampelikulang Samahan ng mga Dalubguro) and YCC-Film Desk in its annual Circle Citations.

In Conclusion – For Noranians, Nora Aunor should be given the honour as the very first grand slam win in 1976 as they argued Aunor won the best actress from FAMAS and Gawad Urian, the only major award giving bodies back then. Unfortunately, this wins didn’t create the tag line, grand slam. Also, Vilma Santos, as film producer won all the best picture award in 1978 for Pagputi ng Uwak Pagitim ng Tagak from FAMAS and Gawad Urian, still the only major award giving bodies. Unfortunately, no one said this is a grand slam win.

It was only when Vilma Santos won four majors in 1983 did the tag line “grand slam” came to its birth at least in Philippine award giving film history. And so, history will record Vilma’s achievements as the very first actress who claimed all four major best actresses in one calendar year based on the true meaning of the word “grand slam.” She is also the current record holder of the most grand slam wins, four [Relasyon (1982); Dahil Mahal Kita – The Dulzora Cortez Story (1993); Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? (1998); and “Dekada 70” (2002)]. – Florencio “Rendt” Viray, V Magazine 2007, (READ MORE)

Related Reading:

#FirstGrandSlamBestActressPhilippines, #VilmaSantos, #GrandSlam, #BestActress, #Philippines, #Relasyon, #Himala, #FAMAS, #GawadUrian, #FAP, #LunaAwards, #CMMA

FAP – Luna Recognition

Vilma Santos’ Film Academy of the Philippines (Luna Awards) Recognitions
(12 nominations, 4 wins, one lifetime achievement)

Highlights: From Wikipedia: In 1981, President Ferdinand Marcos passed Executive Order 640-A, which established the Film Academy of the Philippines, the Philippines’ official counterpart of the United States’ Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The very first Film Academy of the Philippines’ best actress winner was Vilma Santos in 1982, for Relasyon. Also, two Vilma Santos movies, Sinasamba Kita and Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan won technical awards for sound, original score, cinematography, and adapted screenplay.

Paano Ba ang Mangarap, a Vilma Santos movie won best cinematography for Romy Vitug the following year.

The third FAP confirmed the arrival of Sharon Cuneta, as she was adjudged by the guilds, their best actress in 1984 beating Vilma and Nora for Sa Hirap At Ginhawa. Vilma’s Sister Stella L director, Mike De Leon won the best director. Vilma’s other film, Alyas Baby Tsina won best in musical score and production design.

Nida Blanca won best actress for Miguelito and Lino Brocka best director for Kapit sa Patalim in 1985.

Vilma’s Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig won best director for Eddie Garcia and best cinematography for Romy Vitug in 1987. Lorna Tolentino won the best actress for Maging Akin Ka Lamang. Tagos Ng Dugo, Vilma’s winning film at the FAMAS won, best musical score. Veteran actress, Mary Walter received the lifetime achievement award.

Amy Austria and Philip Salvador was the big winner in 1988, for surprisingly for forgettable films, Boy Negro and Celestina Sanchez aka Bubbles respectively.

As both Vilma and Nora shared the best actress at the URIAN, FAP gave the best actress solely to Nora Aunor in 1989. Her film Bilangin Mo Ang Bituin Sa Langit, won best actor, best director as well. Vilma’s film, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga won two, best production design and best sound. Director Lamberto Avellana received the posthumous recognition award and veteran actors, Leopoldo Salcedo and Bella Flores, the lifetime achievement awards. Leopoldo did the memorable film Burlesk Queen with Vilma while Bella Flores was Vilma’s torturer in her very first film as a child actress in Trudis Liit.

As Vilma Santos won three times in rival award giving bodies, URIAN, Nora Aunor did the same with her three consecutive best actress in 89, 90, and 91. Both Vilma and Nora have four Lunas.

Vilma’s Kapag Langit ang Humatol won best story and cinematography and Joseph Estrada received the lifetime achievement award in 1990. Also, this year, the Lamberto Avellana Memorial Award was given to Lino Brocka.

Vilma’s Ipagpatawad Mo won best child performer for Terence Baylon and best Editing while the lifetime achievement award went to Fernando Poe Jr in 1991.

Nora’s three-year feat ends when Lorna Tolentino won the best actress in 1992 for Narito ang Puso Ko.

Vilma won her second best actress after seven nominations in 1993 for Dolzura Cortez Story. The film also won best adaptation story and musical score. Lifetime achievement awards went to Espiridion Laxa and Nora Aunor. Laxa was Vilma’s film producer of so many memorable films like, Dama De Noche and Lipad Darna Lipad.

Nora won her fourth best actress in 1995 for The Flor Contemplacion Story and Sharon Cuneta in 1996 for Madrasta. The 1996 lifetime achievement award went to Anita Linda.

Maricel Soriano’s turn to receive the best actress happened in 1997. She won for Nasaan ang Puso. Also, this year, Vilma Santos received the lifetime achievement award and the posthumous recognition award to Charito Solis.

Vilma Santos won her third best actress in 1998 for Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa, her co-stars, child actors, Carlo Aquino and Serena Dalrymple won the supporting acting trophies. The film also won best in production design. Vilma’s director in box office hits like Sinasamba Kita and Imortal, Eddie Garcia, received the lifetime achievement award.

Bulaklak ng Maynila win big in 1999, best director (Joel Lamangan), best actor (Christopher de Leon) and best actress (Elizabeth Oropesa). Vilma’s blockbuster movie, Anak won two trophies in 2000: best supporting actress for Amy Austria and best screenplay for Ricardo Lee. Gloria Romero won the best actress for Tanging Yaman. Vilma’s director and co-star in memorable films Nakakahiya and sequeal, Hindi Nakakahiya, Eddie Rodriguez received the lifetime achievement award.

Lorna Tolentino reclaimed her spot in FAP history when she won the following year her second best actress for Abakada Ina.

Vilma won her fourth best actress in 2002 via Chito Rono’s Dekada ’70. Her co-star, Piolo Pascual won the best supporting and the film also won best production design.

Maricel Soriano won again in 2003 for Filipinas while Susan Roces received the lifetime achievement award. The next year, Claudine Barretto won her very first academy award for her film, Milan.

In 2005, the FAP award became, the “Luna Awards.”

In 2006, Nida Blanca and George Canseco received the posthumous recognition award. Nida Blanca co-starred with Vilma in 1988’s Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos. George Canseco created so many memorable songs for films starring Vilma Santos. In 2007, the special posthumous award was given to Armando Garces and Fernando Poe Jr.

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MMFF AND MFF Recognition

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Aside from Gawad Urian, Star Awards, Film Academy Awards and FAMAS, the annual local festival, called MMFF or Metro Manila Film Festival has become a part of Vilma Santos’ film career. From the 70s to the new millennium, Vilma Santos was able to entered memorable films that earned her awards, record-breaking ticket revenues, career breakthrough performances and even some memorable heartache. Spanning four decades, the MMFF earned Vilma 7 acting nominations with four wins.

Here are the highlights: The Martial Law established the amalgamation of the surrounding cities in Manila. Prior to 1975, three local film festivals showcase Filipino films, Quezon City and Manila each has their own festivities and another one in Southern part of the country, Bacolod City. The local festivals started the acting competition between rival, Vilma Santos and Nora Aunor. In 1970 Manila Film Festival, Nora’s Nora in Wonderland and Young Heart compete with Vilma’s sole entry, Love Letters. Two years afterwards, the acting race will heat up in Quezon City Film Festival when the two collided with Nora’s And God Smiled at Me and Vilma’s Dama De Noche. After the Martial Law, cities were amalgamated with Manila. And the Quezon City Film Festival and the Manila Film Festival ends creating the December festival in 1975. Occasionally, Manila will have their own festival every summer in connection to city’s “Araw Ng Manila” celebration. Tthe last time Vilma entered a film at MFF was in 1993 via Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story where she won the best actress. Meanwhile, Nora Aunor’s last venture to MFF was in 2004’s Naglalayag where like Vilma, she won the best actress too.

The Metropolitan Manila Film Festival, now simply called, MMFF, (the “politan” was dropped eventually) or Metro Manila Film Festival exhibits only local films in all its theatres from Christmas Eve to the first week of the following New Year. The festival has its street parade at the eve of Christmas Day and each films contesting for best float. The festival has its awards night at the third or fourth nights.

Not surprisingly, both Nora and Vilma have competed in the first MMFF. Nora’s entry was her self-produced film directed by Luciano B. Carlos, Batu-Bato sa Langit and Vilma’s entry was the melodrama, Karugtong ang Kahapon. The big winner was the pre-presidential, Joseph Estrada. Directed by Augosto Bunaventura, Estrada’s Diligin Mo ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa won the major awards: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. Best Actress went to Charito Solis for Araw-Araw, Gabi-Gabi.

The second year, the festival was noticeably the precursor to the awards race. It was a showcase of who’s who in the local film industry. Lino Brocka, Eddie Romero, Lupita Concio were among the big name directors competing. Romero’s Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon dominated the awards night winning the best director and Christopher de Leon the best actor. Hilda Koronel was proclaimed the best actress for her impressive performance in Insiang. Concio’s Minsa’y Isang Gamo-gamo, Brocka’s Insiang and Romero’s Ganito will be the top films competing for the first Gawad Urian.

The third MMFF, brought controversy to Vilma Santos. Now starting to accept offbeat roles and learning to adopt versatility to her arsenal, she bravely entered the festival with Celso Ad Castillo’s Burlesk Queen. The gamble paid off as the film became the top grosser and won eight awards out of ten. Burlesk won best picture and best in direction, lead actor, actress, screenplay, supporting actress/actor and cinematography.

Burlesk defeated Lino Brocka’s Inay, Mario O’Hara and Romy Suzara’s Mga Bilanggong Birhen, Mike de Leon’s Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising, Eddie Romero’s Banta ng Kahapon, Ishmael Bernal’s Walang Katapusang Tag-araw, Joey Gosiengfiao’s Babae, Ngayon at Kailanman, Gil Portes’ Sa Piling ng mga Sugapa. A very impressive list, no wonder some critics loudly complained about the awards results. And according to Armida Sigueon Reyna, in her newspaper column, Brocka walked out the awards night in protest and even cursed the juror on the way out ot the auditorium. It was also reported that the organizer asked the winners to return their medals (they hand out medals that year) but no such things happened, Vilma still has her medal in her fully loaded cabinet of hardwares.

The success of Burlesk Queen commercially and critically brought down some senses to some Nora Aunor followers. Clearly, Vilma Santos’ willingness to accept mature and offbeat roles became a threat to Nora Aunor’s standing as the number one actress. Vilma Santos’ entry was Lino Brocka’s true to life film about rape victim, Rubia Servios. Critics and media have predicted Vilma was dead lock for the best actress. Come awards night, the juries’ award Nora’s film about a maid abused by her employer, Atsay won the major awards including best picture and best director for Eddie Garcia. The top acting award was changed to best performer that Nora Aunor won. A vindication from last year’s result? Wait, there wasn’t even an Aunor film last year. For some consolation, Rubia won two technical awards, one for editing and screenplay for Mario O’Harra. The film also became the top grosser of the festival even with the lost to Aunor. According to Isagani Cruz on his TV Times article in 1979: “…Nora does an excellent acting job; but so does Vilma Santos, and Rubia is a much more demanding and difficult role….Overall, Atsay may be much more impressive than Rubia Servios. In terms of challenging our moral and legal convictions, however, Rubia Servios is much more significant.”

1979 brought the tandem of Charito Solis & Vilma Santos versus Lolita Rodrigues and Nora Aunor. The clear winner was the latter team. Although Solis and Santos film did much better at the box office. Ina Ka Ng Anak Mo, a much better film, directed by Lino Brocka won the major awards, best picture, director and acting awards for Raul Aragon and Nora Aunor. For film aficionado, the scene where Solis slapped Santos in Modelong Tanso was memorable. Many reprised that scene, Vilma did it in Anak (with Claudine) and recently Sharon Cuneta with Heart Evangelist in the recent Mano Po.

By 1980, Nora Aunor kept on pushing for festival supremacy and like last year, she entered two films. This time, with Lino Brocka’s Bona and Laurice Guillen’s Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo. Vilma’s lone entry was Danny Zialcita’s Langis at Tubig. Nora came up short, as both of her film missed the major awards. The big winner was Christopher De Leon and Bembol Roco’s film Taga Sa Panahon. Taga won the top awards while Marilou Diaz Abaya’s film Brutal won directing and best actress for Amy Austria. Langis At Tubig won best actor Dindo Fernando.

After winning in 1977 and a big loss in 1978, Vilma’s enthusiasm in winning at the MMFF subsided significantly. Her film entries were now focused on entertainment value aimed at getting commercial success instead of awards. 1980 and 1981 was a big example. Danny Zialcita’s Langis At Tubig did very well at the box office in ’80 and her entry the following year was a glossy production, Karma. Karma was a big hit and earned nominations but one film dominated all the 1981’s MMFF, Kisap Mata, directed by Mike De Leon won eight out of ten awards except for best actress, that award went to Vilma Santos. Vilma didn’t attend the ceremony, her co-star, Chanda Romero, accepted the award.

Nora’s absence in 1981 add motivation to her camp, she entered the festival with the epic film, directed by Ishmael Bernal, Himala, now considered by many as one of the best Filipino film of all time. Himala won seven major awards including best picture, director, screenplay and actress. Vilma’s entry Haplos was a distant third, with a win for lead actor, Christopher De Leon. The following year, Himala harvested nominations from four award-giving bodies particularly the best actress nominations for Nora but failed to win any, all the trophies went to Vilma, earning her first grand slam best actress. The next six years, no film by Vilma Santos in the festival. The big winners during these years are: 1983 – Karnal, 1984 – Bulaklak ng City Jail, 1985 – Paradise Inn, 1986 – Halimaw sa Banga, 1987 – Olongapo, 1988 – Patrolman.

The 1989 MMFF brought back the team of Vilma Santos and Christopher De Leon. Viva film’s Immortal directed by Eddie Garcia won major awards including best picture, director and the acting for Christopher and Vilma. Not to be undone, Nora Aunor entered the race the following year via Elwood Perez’ Andrea Paano ba ang Maging Isang Ina. The film won best picture, director and actress for Nora. Best actor went to Dolphy for Espadang Patpat. Then 1991 was a repeat for Nora as her film, again directed by Perez, Ang Totoong Buhay ni Pacita M. won major awards.

The next twelve years seems to be non-existent for Vilma followers as there were no entries from Vilma Santos in these years. There were no films that stands out compare to the high caliber films entered during the peak of the Vilma-Nora rivalry. There are six films that were praised by the critics though, Chito Rono‘s films Nasaan ang Puso (1997) and Bagong Buwan (2001), Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s Jose Rizal (1998) and Muro-ami (1999) and Laurice Guillen’s Tanging Yaman (2000). In the acting category, only Elizabeth Oropesa win in 1999 for Bulaklak ng Maynila and Gloria Romero’s win in 2000 for Tanging Yaman stands out.

By 2002, it was déjà vu all over again, Vilma Santos convinced by many as a sure bet for the best actress lost again for her festival entry, Dekada 70. The award was given to Ara Mina for her supposed to be supporting role in the very first Mano Po. Dekada will dominate the awards race the following year, Vilma will win several best actress awards. Vilma’s co-star, Piolo Pascual will win all the best supporting actor making him a grand slam winner. The next year, Crying Ladies, starring Sharon Cuneta, Hilda Koronel and Angel Aquino won the best picture, best actor for Eric Quizon, best supporting actress for Hilda while Maricel Soriano snatched the best actress for Filipinas. The next year, Vilma came back again with Regal’s third installment to the Mano Po series. Titled, Mano Po 3: My Love and directed by Joel Lamangan, the film won best picture and the lead acting for Vilma and Christopher De Leon. Cesar Montano’s self-produced and directed film, Panaghoy sa Suba won best actor.

No Vilma Santos or Nora Aunor films the next five years. Vilma visibly concentrated with her political career and Nora retired in the United States. The film festival continued its annual fan fare with some memorable films. Zsazsa Padilla and Cherry Pie Picache continued the Mano Po series with a comedy, Ako Legal Wife, Mano Po 4 won the female acting awards in 2005. Judy Ann Santos comedy film, directed Joey Reyes, Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo top the 2006 festival. Maricel Soriano received another best actress the following year for Bahay Kubo, The Pinoy Mano Po. Anne Curtis arrived in the big league as she wins best actress for Baler in 2008 and then this year, Bong Revilla won best actor for Ang Panday and Sharon Cuneta best actor for Mano Po 6: A Mother’s Love, both first time winner.

Vilma Santos’ Manila Film Festival and Metro Manila Film Festival Entries and Recognitions
(2 nominations, 5 wins)

For some, Vilma Santos MMFF recognitions in terms of awards wasn’t as significant compare to lets say, her number of URIAN or FAMAS awards but all the shortcomings were forgotten when you think about the successful revenue of her film entries recorded. From Burlesk Queen, Rubia Servios, Karma, Langis at Tubig to her last one, Mano Po 3, all of her films did very well. At the end of the day, producers would still prefer a little profit than trophies that will just eat dusts in the attic. – RV

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Manunuri Ng Pelikulang Pilipino Recognition


On May 1, 1976, ten Filipino critics agreed to discuss the annual award-giving situation in the local industry. All in agreement that there must be an alternative to FAMAS, the only award giving body in the Philippines. The ten critics, mostly academics, were Pio de Castro, Behn Cervantes, Pete Daroy, Mario Hernando, Bien Lumbera, Doy del Mundo, Manny Pichel, Nick Tiongson, Gino Dormiendo, and Nestor Torre. Most of them were part of FAMAS roster of judges. Most, questioned the recent years winners. According to the website, Wikepedia: “The 1972 Best Actress tie that materialized between major star Boots Anson-Roa and then-rising star Vilma Santos” was a good example of the disillusionments experience by the academics. “…the tie was unheard of at that time, which resulted in accusations of lessening prestige on the part of FAMAS.” Ironically, Gawad will have numerous ‘tie” winners in their future set of winners, including a string of ‘tie” involving their early favorite, Nora Aunor. Headed by Nestor Torre, the nine critics agreed to review films and release quarterly citations of best films with the final nominations and winners announce at the end of the year.

Over the years, the Manunuri Ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Filipino Film Critics) considered the equivalent of the United States’ New York Film Critics Circle, established themselves as the most credible award giving bodies in the Philippines. They are known for having a long discussion for each of their award categories resulting sometimes in heated debate and unfortunately the unavoidable “tie” between nominees. Since 1976, the group has eluded controversies that rival groups endured. The oldest award, FAMAS has experienced two renegade or break away groups resulting in costly legal battles and low television ratings. Another group, the Philippine Movie Press Club is considered second to Gawad Urian, Star Awards had experience a similar fate, they also had a break away group, creating their own awards, the Golden Screen Awards. With the advent of new awards, now ten, and still counting. Gawad Urian remained strong and the most sought after. Currently, the Manunuri are consists of: Rolando B. Tolentino, Grace Javier Alfonso, Butch Francisco, Mario A. Hernando, Bienvenido Lumbera, Miguel Q. Rapatan, Benilda S. Santos, Dr. Nicanor G. Tiongson, Tito Genova Valiente and Lito B. Zulueta

Vilma Santos has become a big part of Gawad Urian. Although she wasn’t considered their early favourite, they developed a long fondness to the actress, many considered as the Meryl Streep of the Philippines cinema. Fourteen best actress nominations spanning three decades and eight wins: 1982’s Relasyon, 1983’s Broken Marriage, 1984’s – Sister Stella L; 1989’s – Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga; 1991’s Ipagpatawad Mo; 1993’s Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story; 1998’s – Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa; and 2002’s Dekada 70. Most of these films were cited when Vilma received the University of the Philippines’ highest honours, the Gawad Plaridel in 2005. Vilma also won two Gawad Urian special awards as the Actress of the Decade, for her body of work and Gawad Urian wins for the 1980s and 1990s. She also recieved a Gawad Urian best picture award in 1978, as film producer for the film, Pagputi Ng Uwak Pagitim Ng Tagak.

Vilma Santos did ten films in 1976, mostly for commercial release. The only serious contenders for award derby were the dramedy directed by Eddie Rodriguez, Hindi Nakakahiya, and Emmanuel Borlaza’s drama, Mga Rosas sa Putikan. Clearly, Vilma Santos wasn’t ready for the big league drama competition. Ganito Kami Noon…Paano Kayo Ngayon dominated the very first URIAN awards with nominations for several major categories and winning best picture, best director (Eddie Romero) and best screenplay (Eddie Romero and Roy Iglesias). Romero defeated a worthy bunch of directors, Bernal for Nunal Sa Tubig, Brocka for Insiang, Mike De Leon for Itim and lupita Concio for Minsa’y Isang Gamogamo. The acting awards went to Vic Silayan for Ligaw na Bulaklak and Nora Aunor for Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos. Vic Silayan’s stiff competition was from the very young Christopher De Leon in Ganito Kami while Nora’s four other competitors were Charo Santos (Itim), Daria Ramirez (Nunal sa Tubig), Hilda Koronel (Insiang), Lolita Rodriguez (Lunes, Martes …), and Mona Lisa (Insiang). Supporting actor went to Ruel Vernal for Insiang while Maya Valdez (Lunes, Martes …) and Yvonne (Ligaw na Bulaklak) were tie for supporting actress.

The next year, Vilma Santos were more equipped with three films: Castillo’s festival entry, Burlesk Queen; Bernal’s Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon and Elwood Perez’ Masarap Masakit ang Umibig. The Manunuri took noticed and cited the three films in several categories, including best actress. Hubad Na Bayani was acclaimed as the best picture of 1977. Compensated for the noticeable absence on their very first award ceremony, Vilma Santos’ films Burlesk Queen and Dalawang pugad…Isang Ibon gave Hubad na Bayani a stiff competitions. Ishmael Bernal, the director of Dalawang Pugad snatched the best director award from remarkable nominees, Lino Brocka for Tahan na Empoy Tahan, Celso Ad. Castillo for Burlesk Queen, Mike De Leon for Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising, Eddie Romero for Banta ng Kahapon, and Hubad Na Bayani’s director, Robert Ylagan. The acting went toBembol Roco for Sa Piling ng Mga Sugapa (he was using the screen name, Rafael Roco Jr. back then) and Daria Ramirez for Sino’ng Kapiling, Sino’ng Kasiping. Aunor wasn’t even nominated, Vilma was nominated for her breakthrough film, Burlesk Queen and Hilda Koronel for the slick and glossy film, Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising. For the supporting categories, Vilma’s co-stars, Mat Ranillo III (Dalawang pugad… Isang Ibon) and Rolly Quizon (Burlesk Queen) were nominated for best supporting actor that went to Lito Legaspi for Sino’ng Kapiling, Sino’ng Kasiping. The best supporting actress went to Armida Siguion-Reyna for Tahan na Empoy, Tahan. Rosemarie Gil was nominated for Burlesk Queen.

Then in 1978, the Manunuri cited only three films for their top awards. Hindi Sa Iyo Ang Mundo Baby Porcuna, Ikaw ay akin and Pagputi ng Uwak Pagitim ng Tagak duke it out with Vilma Santos self produced Film winning. Pagputi won four awards including best director for Celso Ad Castillo; best screenplay for Castillo, Ishko Lopez, Lando Perez Jacob and Ruben Arthur Nicdao; best supporting actor for Joone Gamboa; and best sound for Gaudencio Barredo. Castillo’s main competitor for the best director award were Ishmael Bernal for Ikaw ay akin, a Vilma Santos-Nora Aunor starrer, Lino Brocka for Mananayaw, Eddie Garcia for the controversial local festival entry, Atsay and Danny Zialcita for Baby Porcuna. For acting categories, Christopher De Leon received her very first URIAN for Ikaw ay akin, defeating Dolphy in Ang Tatay Kong Nanay and Bembol Roco for Boy Pana. Vilma Santos wasn’t nominated for Pagputi or for her Brocka film, Rubia Servious instead she was cited together with he co-star Nora Aunor in Bernal’s Ikaw Ay Akin. Both lost to Beth Bautista for Hindi Sa Iyo Ang Mundo, Baby Porcuna. The supporting actor nod went to Joone Gamboa for Pagputi and Chanda Romero for Boy Pana.

Like the previous year, URIAN nominated only three films for their best picture award, Berbal’s Aliw, Zialcita’s Ikaw at ang Gabi and Brocka’s Jaguar fight it out with Jaguar claiming victory. The three directors also fought for the best director together with Maryo J. De Los Reyes who were nominated for High School Circa ’65. Jaguar also won the writing category for Jose Lacaba and Ricardo Lee. From last year’s big win as film producer and nomination for Ikaw Ay Akin, Vilma wasn’t even nominated for any of her films in 1979, particularly, Halik sa Kamay Halik sa Paa or Pinay, American Style. The female lead role award went to Charito Solis for Ina, Kapatid, Anak. Her stiff competition were Lolita Rodriguez and Nora Aunor both for Ina Ka ng Anak Mo. While Jaguar dominated the supporting acting categories, won by Menggie Cobarrubias and Amy Austria, the film’s lead, Philip Salvador failed to grab the best actor. The award went to Dindo Fernando for Ikaw…at ang Gabi.

1980 produced five high quality films. Eddie Romero’s Aguila; Brocka’s Bona; Abaya’s Brutal; Bernal’s City After Dark, Kakabakaba ka ba got the best picture nominations with Bernal’s film taking the top prize. All of these directors were nominated for best director together with Laurice Guillen for Kasal with Mike De Leon edging them out. Kakabakaba kaba will also win the best supporting actor for Johnny Delgado. In addition to the top prize, City After Dark received the best screenplay for Ishmael Bernal and the best actor for Bernardo Bernardo, a surprise winner against Dindo Fernando (Langis at Tubig) and Phillip Salvador (Bona). For the best supporting actress, Daria Ramirez won her second URIAN for Aguila. Like the previous year, Vilma was not nominated for any of her efforts, Langis at Tubig or Miss X. The best actress were a tie. Gina Alajar (Brutal) and Nora Aunor (Bona) were declared the co winners.

For their 6th year, the 1981 Gawad Urian cited four films for their best picture category: Romy Suzara’s Pepeng Shotgun, Mel Chionglo’s Playgirl, Mike de Leon’s Kisap Mata and Laurice Guillen’s Salome. Salome was the winner. The four directors were also nominated for best director together with Ishmael Bernal for Pabling. Guillen was also the winner for Salome. In addition to picture and director awards, Salome also won the best screenplay for Ricardo Lee and the best actress award for Gina Alajar. Alajar’s strong competitors were Charito Solis for Playgirl and Nora Aunor for the forgettable Bakit Bughaw ang Langit. Vilma Santos were again got the cold shoulder from the Manunuri as she wasn’t even cited for any of her films: Pakawalan Mo Ako (where she won a FAMAS), Hiwalay, Karma (where she won the best actress from Metro Manila Film Festival) or Ex-Wife. For male acting categories, Vic Silayan received his second best actor defeating the late Johny Delgado, nominated for Salome. Charito Solis received her second URIAN, this time for the supporting role.

1982 harvested a string of high quality films: Batch ’81, Himala, Moral, Oro Plata Mata and Relasyon, all vying for the best pictures Urian. Oro Plata Mata edged out the other four. It also won the best director honour for Peque Gallaga. Gallaga defeated Marilou Diaz-Abaya (Moral), Ishmael Bernal (Himala and Relasyon), Lino Brocka (Cain at Abel) and Mike de Leon (Batch ’81). The writing category went to Clodualdo del Mundo, Raquel Villavecencio at Mike de Leon for Batch ’81.

Noticeably ignored many times by the Manunuri, Vilma Santos was nominated for her sympathetic mistress role in Relasyon. She is up against Nora Aunor’s epical role for Himala, Gina Alajar and Lorna Tolentino’s feminist film Moral. The Manunuri surprised everyone by declaring Vilma Santos as their 7th best actress winner. The other award giving bodies (FAMAS, Film Academy of the Philippines, CMMA) also declared Vilma Santos as their best actress and the term “grand slam” were born in local entertainment industry. As for the other acting categories, Philip Salvador won the lead actor and Baby Delgado, supporting actress both for Cain At Abel, and Mark Gil won the supporting actor for Palipat-lipat, Papalit-palit. The Manunuri gave the Natatanging Gawad Urian to veteran actress, Anita Linda, who is still very active today. She starred in this year’s Venice Film Festival entry, Lola.

The following year, the Manunuri nominated only two films for their best picture, a quick turn around from a very promising 1982. Regal Films’ Broken Marriage joined Cine Suerte’s Karnal in a two way run for each categories. Broken Marriage won the top award for Mother Lily Monteverde of Regal and best director for Ishmael Bernal. Bernal defeated four worthy competitor: Maryo J. De Los Reyes for Saan Darating ang Umaga, Lino Brocka for Hot Property; Marilou Diaz-Abaya for Karnal and Laurice Guillen for Init sa Magdamag. In addition to best picture and director, Broken Marriage also win best screenplay for Jose Carreon, Bing Caballero and Bernal; Best Editing for Jesus Navarro; Best Sound for Rudy Baldovino as well Vilma Santos’ second best actress award. Proving that her win for Relasyon from last year wasn’t just a fluke, Vilma handedly won the trophy without much competition, literally. She won only up against one competitor, Cecille Castillo for Karnal. The best actor went to Phillip Salvador for Karnal, which just like the best actress category was up against one competitor, Vilma’s co-star, Christopher De Leon. The supporting categories were much more competitive, veteran Actor Vic Silayan won her third URIAN for Karnal (he already won for best actor for Ligaw Na Bulaklak and supporting for Kisap Mata). He defeated Joel Torre (Karnal), Len Santos (Broken Marriage), Rey Ventura (Broken Marriage). Notice the four actors were from the two films, Broken and Karnal. Just like Vic Silayan, Charito Solis received her third URIAN, also for Karnal besting out co-star, Grace Amilbangsa and a surprise nominee, Liza Lorena for the melodrama, Don’t Cry For Me Papa.

Vilma Santos dominated the URIAN for the past two years, with the initial grand slam feat in 1982 for Relasyon and the dominance of Broken Marriage the following year. Her string of hits, like Gaano Gadalas Ang Minsan, Sinasamba Kita, and Paano Ba Ang Mangarap established her as the most bankable stars of the 80s. In the mixed of these glossy, commercial projects were quality films like Relasyon and Broken Marriage. Both films fared well at the box office and award. Would three in row be possible? Vilma’s 1984 film projects consists of: Lino Brocka’s Adultery, Marilou Diaz Abaya’s Alyas Baby Tsina and Mke De Leon’s Sister Stella L. The first two, managed to do well at the box office, but the last wasn’t lucky enough. It did poorly against Sharon Cuneta’s film, Bukas Luluhod Ang Mga Tala. Vilma’s dominance in the last two years revamped the interest for her rival, Nora Aunor to come up with more serious projects. And this year proved to be a good match, mano a mano. Nora came up also with three films: Gil Portes’ ‘Merika; Mario O’Hara’s Bulaklak sa City Jail and Condemned.

Come URIAN, Vilma and Nora received the attention their fans has been craving for since the mid 70s. The arrival of Sharon Cuneta as a threat to Vilma Santos’ supremacy at the box office and the impossibility that the Manunuri will give Vilma a third consecutive best actress put high hope to many Nora Aunor fans. They are all in high spirits as two Nora Aunor films were nominated for the best picture Bulaklak sa City Jail and ‘Merika against only one for Vilma, the box office flop, Sister Stella L. Another Regal Film, Sinner or Saint, completed the four nominated best picture films. Sadly, the Manunuri can’t ignore the quality of Mike De Leon’s film. Sister Stella L won best picture, director, screenplay (Jose F. Lacaba, Jose Almojuela and Mike de Leon), actor (Jay Ilagan), supporting actor (Tony Santos, Sr.), supporting actress (Laurice Guillen), editing (Jesus Navarro), music (Ding Achacoso), sound (Ramon Reyes) and the best actress to Vilma Santos! Vilma won three consecutive best actress, a feat at that time. She defeated Claudia Zobel for Sinner or Saint, Gina Pareño for Working Girls, Sarsi Emmanuelle for Boatman and two nominations for rival, Nora Aunor, ‘Merika and Bulaklak sa City Jail.

Meanwhile, De Leon defeated a bunch of good directors, Marilou Diaz-Abaya for Vilma’s Baby Tsina, Tikoy Aguiluz for Boatman, Pio de Castro III for Soltero, Mel Chionglo for Sinner or Saint and the two Aunor films, Mario O’Hara for Bulaklak sa City Jail and Gil Portes for ‘Merika. In the lead actor, Jay Ilagan who is also nominated in his other film, Soltero defeated, Tommy Abuel for Bukas May Pangarap, Ronnie Lazaro for Boatman and Phillip Salvador for Baby Tsina. In the supporting actor, Tony Santos Sr, Ka Dencio in SSL, defeated unknown actors Alfredo Salanga for Boatman and Cesar Aliparo for ‘Merika and two actor for Baby Tsina, Len Santos and the late Dindo Fernando. And in the supporting actress, Laurice Guillen defeated co-stars in SSL, Gina Alajar and Liza Lorena and for Bulaklak sa City Jail, Celia Rodriguez Perla Bautista.

Vilma Santos did two films in 1985, the comedy Doctor Doctor We Are Sick and the melodrama, Muling Buksan ang Puso both were deservingly ignored by the Manunuri. The critics refocused their attention to the comeback works of their favorite directors Bernal, Brocka, Castillo and Gallaga. The five best picture bets were Bernal’s Hinugot sa Langit, Brocka’s Kapit sa Patalim and Miguelito Ang Batang Rebelde, Peque Gallaga’s Virgin Forest and Celso Ad. Castillo’s Paradise Inn. Brocka’s Bayan Ko won the top award but the best director went to his rival, Ishmael Bernal for Hinugot sa Langit. Kapit also won writing for Jose Lacaba, and lead actor for Phillip Salvador. The lead actress went to a tie between, Gina Alajar for Kapit sa Patalim and the late, Nida Blanca for Miguelito, Ang Batang Rebelde. And the supporting acting categories went to Lito Anzures for Paradise Inn and Liza Lorena for Miguelito.

The start of mid 80s wasn’t as promising for the film critics, as happened in late 70s only three films were cited for the top award, Bagong Hari, Takaw Tukso and Unfaithful Wife. Takaw Tukso won. Takaw’s director, William Pascual won the best director and its lead role, Jacklyn Jose won the best actress, co-sharing the honour with Pilar Pilapil for Napakasakit Kuya Eddie. In another tie, Anita Linda for Takaw Tukso and Nida Blanca for Magdusa Ka were declared co-winners in supporting actress as well. The best actor went to Unfaithful Wife’s Michael de Mesa and supporting actor went to Napakasakit Kuya Eddie’s Aga Muhlach. As for Vilma, she did three box office hits in 1986, Asawa ko Huwag Mong Agawin, Palimos Ng Pag-ibig and Yesterday Today & Tomorrow. All three were commercial success but was ignored by the Manunuri. The following year, 1987, the Manunuri decided not to hand out any awards.

For the 1988 awards, the Manunuri rewarded four films with best picture nominations: Anak ng Cabron, Itanong Mo Sa Buwan, Kapag Napagod ang Puso, and Misis mo Misis Ko. Itanong Mo Sa Buwan, a Chito Rono film won the top honours as well as best director for himself. The acting categories went to Ace Vergel (Anak ng Cabron) and Jaclyn Jose (Itanong Mo Sa Buwan) for leading roles. The supporting went to Lito Pimentel (Kapag Napagod ang Puso) and Perla Bautista (Anak ng Cabron). Vilma did one film this year, Elwood Perez’ Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos that the Manunuri ignored.

By the end of 80s, Vilma Santos has curved her mark in the URIAN history. Three remarkable wins (1982, 83, 84), Could 1989 be added to the three year feat? The shortage of quality films were noticeable in the later part of the 80s. 1989 was an exemption. The Manunuri generously nominated five films: Willie Milan’s Ang Pumatay ng Dahil Sayo, Elwood Perez’ Bilangin ang Bituin Sa Langit, Augusto Salvador’s Joe Pring, Brocka’s Macho Dancer, Bernal’s Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga. Ishmael Bernal’s film about life and death, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga won him the best director award, best picture for Regal, best screenplay for Jose Javier Reyes, and best cinematography for Manolo Abaya, Eduardo Jacinto at Nonong Rasca. For the acting categories: Christopher De Leon for another Vilma Santos starrer Imortal and Gabby Concepcion for Pahiram were nominated for lead actor but both failed to win as Daniel Fernando claimed his very first URIAN for Macho Dancer. As Vilma’s best friend who took care of her finances in Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga, Vicky Suba was cited in the supporting actress but it wasn’t enough to dethrone Jaclyn Jose. Jose won the best supporting actress award, also for Macho Dancer. In the supporting actor, Eric Quizon, claimed his first URIAN as the volatile painter in Pahiram. Then the best actress, went to: IT’S A TIE! Again! Beating Helen Gamboa for Kailan Mahuhugasan Ang Kasalanan and a very strong performance from post child actress, Janice de Belen for Rosenda, Nora Aunor (Bilangin ang Bituin Sa Langit) and Vilma Santos (Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga) were declared co winners!

The new decade brought two worthy films from Vilma Santos: Laurice Guillen’s Kapag Langit Ang Humatol and Lino Brocka’s Hahamakin Lahat. The Manunuri took noticed and rewarded the films with nominations. Brocka did the Vilma starrer, Hahamakin Lahat for Regal and Gumapang Ka Sa Lusak for Viva Films, a Dina Bonevie drama. Gumapang proved to be the better of the two as it won the best picture and best director nominations. But Hahamakin earned best actor nomination for Gabby Concepcion. Meanwhile Guillen’s Kapag Langit earned the best picture nomination together with Andrea Paano Ba Ang Maging Isang Ina, My Other Woman and Gumapang. Surprisingly, Guillen won the best director defeating Lino Brocka, Maryo J. De Los Reyes (My Other Woman) and Chito Roño (Kasalanan Bang Sambahin Ka). Kapag Langit also earned nominations for writing, Emmanuel Borlaza and Salvador Royales; actress, Vilma Santos; supporting actress, Carmina Villaroel and Kristine Garcia; production design, Edgar Martin Littaua. It won two technical awards in addition to Guillen’s best director: cinematography for Romeo Vitug and editing for Efren Jarlego. The leading actor went to Christopher De Leon for My Other Woman and leading actress, to Nora Aunor for Andrea Paano Ba Ang Maging Isang Ina. The supporting awards went to Michael de Mesa (Ikasa Mo, Ipuputok Ko) and Gina Alajar (Biktima). Despite losing the best actress award, Vilma did not went home empty handed, she received the highest award as one of three top actress of the past decade (1980s). the other actress were Nora Aunor and Gina Alajar. Philip Salvador received the male category.

Vilma Santos did only one film in 1991. In comparison to two the previous year. Guillen’s follow-up film from last year’s Kapag Langit ang Humatol was Ipagpatawad Mo, a family drama about an autistic child. Laurice’s second film with Vilma as director proves to be a memorable one for Viva Films, known for their slick, glossy films. Guillen secured the best picture award for Viva defeating Lino Brocka’s Sa Kabila ng Lahat and a strong film from Carlos Siguion-Reyna’s Hihintayin Kita sa Langit. Last year’s best director Guillen missed this time. The best director went to Siguion-Reyna. Over all, Ipagpatawad mo earned nominations for best director for Laurice Guillen; best actor for Christopher De Leon; best supporting actor for Terence Baylon; best production design for Edgar Martin Littaua; best cinematography for Eduardo Jacinto; and best editing for Efren Jarlego. And won best picture for Viva films, best screenplay for Olive M. Lamasan and best actress for Vilma Santos. She defeated four of the most in-demand actress of the early 1990s: Dawn Zulueta for Hihintayin Kita sa Langit; Dina Bonnevie for Sa Kabila ng Lahat; Lorna Tolentino for Kislap sa Dilim and Nora Aunor for Ang Totong Buhay ni Pacita M. The other acting trophies went to: Richard Gomez, best actor for Hihintayin Kita sa Langit; Gabby Concepcion best supporting for Makiusap Ka sa Diyos; and Nanette Medved, best supporting actress for Sa Kabila ng Lahat.

Like the previous year, Vilma did one film, Maryo De Los Reyes’s Sinungaling Mong Puso. Although not nominated for best picture, Sinungaling won nominations for acting and other categories in 1992’s Gawad Urian. The Manunuri gave two films: Ikaw ang Lahat sa Akin of Regal Films and a co production of Regal and Reyna Films, Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal their best picture nominations. Ikaw Pa lang won the best picture together with best director for Carlos Siguion-Reyna. Sinungaling Mong Puso was nominated for best director, Maryo J. De Los Reyes; best supporting actor, Gabby Concepcion and best actress for Vilma. Three of the acting awards went to Narito Ang Puso Ko: lead actors to Gaby Concepcion and Lorna Tolentino; and supporting to Amy Austria while the supporting actor went to Tirso Cruz III for Kahit Buhay Ko. The Natatanging Gawad Urian was given to Mary Walter, the veteran actress who co-starred with Vilma in memorable films like Baby Tsina (1984), Dalawang pugad, isang ibon (1977), Lipad, Darna, lipad! (1973) and Edgar Loves Vilma (1972).

The following year, Vilma did two films, Guillen’s Dahil Mahal Kita The Dolzura Cortez Story and Chito Rono’s Ikaw Lang. Both did well at the box office and earned nominations from the Manunuri. Dahil Mahal Kita was cited for best picture and best director but lost to Jose Javier Reyes film, Makati Ave. Office Girls produced by Regal films. For acting categories: Saan Ka Man Naroroon won best actor for Richard Gomezand best supporting actress for Sharmaine Arnaiz. The best supporting actor went to Ronaldo Valdez for May Minamahal. Finally, the best actress went to Vilma Santos for Dolzura.

Vilma Santos did three films in 1994, all were commercial success: Nag-iisang Bituin, Relaks ka Lang Sagot Kita and Lipa: Arandia Massacre. The last two won awards at FAMAS including best picture for Lipa. However, the Manunuri deservingly ignored these films. Their top films were Regal films’ The Fatima Buen Story and The Secrets of Sarah Jane Salazar and Maq’s Wating. Fatima Buen, Kris Aquino’s first attempt to big league acting was the big winner with its director, Mario O’Hara defeating notable directors, Ishmael Bernal for Wating, Maryo J. De Los Reyes for Sarah Jane, Laurice Guillen for Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang. For the acting categories: Richard Gomez won best Actor for Wating, John Regala won supporting actor for The Fatima Buen Story and Chin-Chin Gutierrez won supporting actress for Maalaala Mo Kaya. For the best actress, the Manunuri decided to give their best actress to Gelli de Belen for The Secrets of Sarah Jane Salazar instead of Carmina Villaroel for Wating or Kris Aquino for Fatima. The only notable citation that was related to Vilma Santos was the best screenplay nomination Jose Javier Reyes earned for Nag-iisang Bituin. Lastly, the Natatanging Gawad Urian went to Leopoldo Salcedo, the character actor who co-starred with Vilma Santos in her breakthrough film Burlesk Queen in 1977. Also, Happy Days Are Here Again (1975), Darna and the Giants (1974), Biktima (1974), Anak ng aswang (1973), De colores (1968).

No Vilma Santos film in 1995. The big winner in URIAN was Star Cinema’s Sana Maulit Muli. The film won best picture defeating The Flor Contemplacion Story, a Nora Aunor starrer. Despite the failure of Flor to win the top award, the film won best director for Joel Lamangan and best actress to Nora. Nora shared the award with co-winner, Helen Gamboa for Bagong Bayani. Best Actor went to Aga Muhlach for Sana Maulit Muli. Supportings went to Ricky Davao for Ipaglaban Mo, The Movie and Jaclyn Jose for Flor. The next year, Vilma Santos did Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko, with the late Fernando Poe Jr. The forgettable film did poorly at the box office and was automatically ignored by the Manunuri. Six citations were given to six films this year, noticeably plentiful for the top honour in URIAN’s standard. Bakit May Kahapon Pa?, Istokwa, Madrasta, Mulanay, Radio Romance, and Segurista were all nominated with the last declared the winner. The film’s director, Tikoy Aguiluz also won the best director. For the best actress, Nora Aunor, again share the honour with another actress. She won for Bakit May Kahapon Pa, with Sharon Cuneta for Madrasta. Sharon will record a grand slam this year, winning the best actress in the other award giving bodies. The following year, 1997, Vilma Santos’ only film was with Christopher De Leon. This was their 20th film. Hanggang Ngayon Ika’y Minamahal, directed by Ike Jarlego Jr was a commercial success but was ignored by the Manunuri. Just like last year, six films were cited for the top honour, Batang PX, Damong Ligaw, Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin, Milagros, Minsan Lamang Magmamahal and Nang Iniwan Mo Ako. Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s Milagros won best picture and best director for herself. Best actress went to Zsa Zsa Padilla for Batang PX.

Vilma Santos did another breakthrough performance in 1998. Her performance earned her several Best actress trophies locally. Star Cinema won top honours from the URIAN in their 22nd ceremony for Chito Roño’s Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa defeating Marilou Diaz Abaya’s two important films, Jose Rizal and Sa Pusod ng Dagat both produced by rival company GMA films. The other competitions were both from Good Harvest films, Jeffrey Jeturian’s Sana Pag-ibig Na and Lav Diaz’s Serafin Geronimo, Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion. All the above directors were nominated for best director that Abaya won for Jose Rizal. Bata Bata nominations for best editing for Jaime Davila; best music for Jesse Lasaten; best sound for Michael Albert Idioma and best supporting for Raymond Bagatsing. Despite losing in supporting category, Jaime Fabregas was declared the winner for Jose Rizal, Bagatsing won in the male lead role for Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion. In addition to nominations and best picture win, Bata Bata won three more: best screenplay for Lualhati Bautista, best supporting actress for child star, Serena Dalrymple and best actress for Vilma Santos. The Natatanging Gawad Urian was given to comedian, Dolphy. Vilma and Dolphy did one film together, 1979’s Buhay Artista Ngayon. There is no Vilma Santos film in 1999. Despite this, Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa, now re-titled Lea’s Story continued its winning streak. Touring the festival circuit, the film earned Vilma, her first international best actress at a festival in Brussels. The film was also exhibited in different cities in Canada and the USA. The Manunuri awarded their top honours of 1999, Bayaning 3rd World including best director to Mike De Leon. Best Actress went to Elizabeth Oropesa for Bulaklak ng Maynila defeatingNora Aunor for her comeback film, Sidhi.

For the first year of the new millennium, Vilma Santos did one film. Rory Quintos’ Anak. The film was a commercial succes and earned two citations from the Manunuri: best actress nomination for Vilma and best supporting actor nomination for Baron Geisler. The Manunuri gave the best picture to Regal’s Tuhog while Tanging Yaman received the other top honours for best director for Laurice Guillen and best actress for Gloria Romero. Another veteran, Eddie Garcia won best Actor for Deathrow. The Natatanging Gawad Urian was given to the late Nida Blanca. Vilma and Nida worked together in Elwood Perez’ Ibulong mo sa Diyos. The Manunuri also handed out their Actress of the Decade award. Vilma Santos shared the actress category with rival, Nora Aunor and Richard Gomez received the actor.

No Vilma Santos film the following year, 2001. The Manunuri, rewarded Lav Diaz the best director and JmCN Productions the best picture for Batang West Side respectively. Then on 2002, Vilma Santos did another memorable performance in another Lualhati Bautista novel, Dekada 70. Dekada earned nominations in several categories at the 26th Gawad Urian. It shared top honours with Mga Munting Tinig, both proclaimed as 2002’s best picture. Best Director went to Munting Tinig’s Gil Portes while the writing went to Lualhati Bautista for Dekada. Other nominations for dekada went to Manny Morfe for production design and Albert Michael Idioma for sound. Christopher De Leon earned nomination for best actor for Dekada but lost to Jay Manalo, the winner for Prosti. The other awards won by Dekada were for acting. Best Actress went to Vilma Santos and best supporting actor to Piolo Pascual. The supporting actress went to Elizabeth Oropesa for Laman. The Manunuri gave their Natatanging Gawad Urian to film legend, Fernando Poe Jr. FPJ and Vilma did three films together, Batya’t Palu-palo, Bato Sa Buhangin and Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko.

As expected, there’s no Vilma film in 2003. The Manunuri bestowed their accolades to Star Cinema’s Magnifico. Its director Maryo J. De Los Reyes, previously ignored by the Manunuri finally got the best director award. Three acting awards went to Magnifico: best actor to child star, Jiro Manio; best supporting actor to Albert Martinez and best supporting actress to Gloria Romero. The best actress went to Cherrie Pie Picache for Bridal Shower. For the Natatanging Gawad Urian, Ricardo Lee joined the prestigious lists that includes Manuel Conde, Lamberto Avellana and Gerardo De Leon. Some of the Vilma Santos films that Ricardo Lee wrote were: Anak (2000), Dahil mahal kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993), Hahamakin lahat (1990), Baby Tsina (1984), Haplos (1982), Relasyon (1982), and Miss X (1980).

The next year, 2004, Regal films asked Vilma to do the third installment to the Mano Po franchise. A Metro Manila Film Festival entry, MP3: My Love was a big hit and won awards. Despite a strong competition from Ebolusyong ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino, Milan and Sabel, Cesar Montano’s self-produced film, Panaghoy sa Suba dominated the 28th Gawad Urian. The film won three major awards for Cesar Montano: best picture, director, and actor. Sabel won two acting awards: Wendell Ramos won best supporting and lead star, Judy Ann Santos defeated contemporary, Claudine Barreto for Milan and the two veterans, Nora Aunor for Naglalayag and Vilma Santos for Mano Po 3: My Love. The Manunuri gave the Natatanging Gawad Urian to veteran actress, Gloria Romero. Vilma Santos and Gloria worked together in films like: Saan nagtatago ang pag-ibig? (1987), Makahiya at Talahib (1976), Karugtong ang kahapon (1975), Lipad, Darna, lipad! (1973), Anak ng aswang (1973), Pinagbuklod ng langit (1969), Iginuhit ng Tadhana (1965).

The next two years, she did guest appearance as herself in 2006’s D’Lucky Ones and some TV guest appearances. Meanwhile the Manunuri rewarded Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros as their top film for 2005 and its film director, Mes de Guzman the best director. Robin Padilla won best actor for La Visa Loca and Jaclyn Jose won best actress for Sarung Banggi. The next year, 2006, Kubrador won best picture and Jeff Jeturian the best director. For the top acting awards, Gina Pareno won best actress again for Jeturian’s Kubrador. And another Padilla won the best actor, this time Robin’s brother, Rustom won the best actor for his role as gay super hero, ZsaZsa Zaturnah. Eddie Garcia received the Natatanging Gawad Urian. Eddie Garcia’s most notable works with Vilma as an co-stars were: Mano Po III: My love (2004), Ibulong mo sa Diyos (1988), Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow (1986), Minsan pa nating hagkan ang nakaraan (1984) and Karugtong ng kahapon (1971). He also worked with Vilma as director in memorable films like: Imortal (1989), Palimos ng pag-ibig (1985); Sinasamba kita(1982); and Pinagbuklod ng langit (1969).

For the 31st Gawad Urian, Tirador was acclaimed as 2007 best film, and the film’s director, Brilliante Mendoza, pre-Cannes fame, won best director. Mendoza’s other film Foster Child gave Cherry Pie Picache the best actress. The Natatanging Gawad Urian went to Marichu Vera Perez Maceda, she produced several Vilma Santos starrer, most notably, Nakawin natin ang bawat sandali (1978), Pakawalan Mo Ako (1981) and Rubia Servios (1978).  Indie films dominated 2008 Urian with Mylene Dizon for “100” and Coco Martin for “Jay” received the acting awards.  Then the following year, veteran actresses Rustica Carpio and Anita Linda were the big winner, rewarded for their international film, “Lola.”  For 2010, non-mainstream films continued to dominate the Urian with unknown Fe Virtudazo-Hyde for “Sheika” winning the best actress trophy.  2011 brought new breed of serious actors, Maja Salvador who co-starred with Vilma in 2006 tele-movie of Maala-ala Mo Kaya titled “Regalo” won the best actress for her performance in “Thelma” and Paulo Avelino won the best actor for “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa.” – RV, December 2009; Additional Source info: Manunuri, Wikepedia

Vilma Santos Gawad Urian Recognitions:

RELATED READING:

FILM REVIEW: PAKAWALAN MO AKO

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The Plot: Namatay ang tatay ni Ana (Vilma Santos) at dahil rito’y naghirap sila. Napilitan siyang magtinda ng sabon at tumigil sa pag-aaral. Sa kabila nito hindi siya humingi ng tulong sa katipan na si Freddie Villasenor (Christopher DeLeon). Dahil sa hirap ay napilitang pumasok si Ana sa isang escort service sa tulong ng kanyang kaibigang si Bernadette Santos (Deborah Sun). Nakilala ni Ana si Bernard San Diego (Antony Castelo) sa kanyang trabaho bilang escort girl. Sa gabing iyon nakita siya ng kapatid na babae ni Freddy. Nang yayain ni Freddy si Ana para magpakasal pumayag na ito at pumunta siya sa bahay ni Freddy para makilala ang pamilya ni Freddy. Hindi nila alam ay inimbitahan ng kapatid ni Freddy si Bernard San Diego. At sa hapag ng kainan ay binisto nito ang tunay na trabaho ni Ana. Umalis nang umiiyak si Ana at nagkagalit sila ni Freddy. Pinuntahan ni Bernard si Ana para humingi ng paunmanhin ngunit naabutan sila ni Freddy at nag-away sila ni Bernard. Inakala ni Freddy na talagang may relasyon si Bernard at Ana kung kaya iniwanan niya ito. Nagbalik si Ana sa kanyang trabaho. Nagkaroon ng secret admirer ito. Yung pala ito ay si Bernard. Nalaman rin ni Ana na buntis siya at ang ama ng dinadala niya ay si Freddy. Inalok ni Bernard si Ana ng kasal at pumayag naman ito sa kabila ng pagtutol ng kanyang mayamang ama. Lumaki ang bata at apat na taon na ito nang magdesisyon ang ama ni Bernard na tigilan na ang pagsasama ng dalawa. Inalok si Ana ng malaking halaga ngunit tumutol ito. Nang umalis ang ama ni Bernard ay pinaiwan nito ang isa sa kanyang mga tauhan para gahasain si Ana. Dumating si Bernard at nagaway sila ng tauhan ng kanyang ama. Sa kaguluhan ay nabaril ng tauhan ng kanyang ama si Bernard mismo. Sinet-up ng ama ni Bernard si Ana. Pinakulong at kinuhang abogado si Freddy. Sa hukuman ay nakuhang magduda ni Freddy sa dating katipan. Nagpunta ito sa bahay ng ina ni Ana upang kausapin ang batang anak ni Ana. Natuklasan ni Freddy ang tutuong nangyari at ang testigo ay ang anak ni Ana. Sa closing ng kaso ay inihayag ni Freddy na walang kasalanan si Ana at ang pumatay kay Bernard ay ang tauhan ng sarili nitong ama. Napawalang sala si Ana at nalaman ni Freddy na ang bata’y ang sarili niyang anak.

The Reviews: Prinudyus ng Sampaguita Pictures, ang “Pakawalan Mo Ako” ay isa sa mga pruweba na nasa ikataas na puwesto si Vilma Santos nang bagong dekada otsenta. Mula umpisa hanggang sa huli’y umiikot ang istorya sa karakter ni Vilma bilang si Ana, isang escort girl. Markado ang papel ni Vilma at makikita ito sa mga eksena sa kulungan at hukuman. Ang Pakawalan Mo Ako ay mula sa panulat ni Pete Lacaba at iskrinplay nina Pete Lacaba, Mao Gia Samonte at Isko Lopez. Kung ikukumpara sa mga ibang pelikula ni Elwood Perez mas pulido at makatotohanan ang mga eksena’t dialouge ng pelikula. Tulad ng konprontahin nga ma ni Bernard si Ana sinabi nito na: “Puta, Puta! Puta! Hindi lang naman kayo ang unang nagparatang sa akin ng ganyan! Puta! Puta! Putang Ina n’yong lahat…” At nang unang dalhin ni Bernard si Ana sa bahay nito at pagtangkaang gahasain, pumiglas si Ana at sabay kuha sa pera at sabay sabing: “kukunin ko ang bayad sa halik may sukli ka pa!” At siyempre ang eksena sa hukom kung saan paulit ulit niyang sinasabi ang salitang: “Sinungaling!…” Ang musika ni Lutgardo Labad ay minsan nakakaabala sa tunay na eksena ngunit angkop na angkop ang theme song ng pelikula, ang “Dati” na kinanta mismo ni Antony Castelo. Merong mahahabang linya si Christopher DeLeon sa bandang huli at nakuha naman niyang bigyan ng buhay ang papel niya bilang abogado ng taga-usig kahit na parang pilit ang pagpapalit niya ng panig para sa tagapagtanggol sa bandang huli, sa kanyang closing remarks. Alam niya marahil na talagang pelikula ito ni Ate Vi. Mahusay rin ang pagganap ni Antony Castelo bilang isang matigas na ulong anak ng isang mayaman. Sa papel na ina ni Ana, nakaka-distract ang hindi tunay na boses ni Mila Ocampo. Bilang ama ni Bernard San Diego, very one-dimensional ang papel ni Subas Herrero. Ang pinakanakakatuwang papel ay ang papel na kaibigan ni Ana na ginampanan ni Deborah Sun. Meron siyan eksena sa hukuman kung saan tumistigo siya at natural na natural ang pagkababaeng bakla niya. Mabilis ang pacing ng pelikula at walang mahusay ang pagkakaedit nito. Hindi ako nagtaka kung bakit nanalo si Ate Vi para sa pelikulang ito mula sa Famas. Ito rin ang bale hudyat ng pagsibol ng bagong Vilma Santos pagpasok ng dekada otsenta dahil sa sumunod na taon ay nagkasunod sunod na ang parangal sa pagarte ni Ate Vi mula sa iba’t ibang award giving bodies. – RV (READ MORE)

“Dalawangpu’t Anim na taon na ang nakakalipas nang una nating napanood ang pelikulang Pakawalan Mo Ako (Now on 2012, PMA is 31 years old!) . Tumabo ito sa takilya at nagbunga ng pagkapanalo ni Ate Vi ng Best Actress mula sa Famas para sa taong ito. Prinudyus ng Sampaguita Pictures, ang “Pakawalan Mo Ako” ay isa sa mga pruweba na nasa ikataas na puwesto si Vilma Santos nang bagong dekada otsenta. Mula umpisa hanggang sa huli’y umiikot ang istorya sa karakter ni Vilma bilang si Ana, isang escort girl. Markado ang papel ni Vilma at makikita ito sa mga eksena sa kulungan at hukuman. Ang Pakawalan Mo Ako ay mula sa panulat ni Pete Lacaba at iskrinplay nina Pete Lacaba, Mao Gia Samonte at Isko Lopez. Kung ikukumpara sa mga ibang pelikula ni Elwood Perez mas pulido at makatotohanan ang mga eksena’t dialouge ng pelikula. Tulad ng konprontahin nga ma ni Bernard si Ana sinabi nito na: “Puta, Puta! Puta! Hindi lang naman kayo ang unang nagparatang sa akin ng ganyan! Puta! Puta! Putang Ina n’yong lahat…” At nang unang dalhin ni Bernard si Ana sa bahay nito at pagtangkaang gahasain, pumiglas si Ana at sabay kuha sa pera at sabay sabing: “kukunin ko ang bayad sa halik may sukli ka pa!” At siyempre ang eksena sa hukom kung saan paulit ulit niyang sinasabi ang salitang: “Sinungaling!…” Ang musika ni Lutgardo Labad ay minsan nakakaabala sa tunay na eksena ngunit angkop na angkop ang theme song ng pelikula, ang “Dati” na kinanta mismo ni Antony Castelo. Merong mahahabang linya si Christopher DeLeon sa bandang huli at nakuha naman niyang bigyan ng buhay ang papel niya bilang abogado ng taga-usig kahit na parang pilit ang pagpapalit niya ng panig para sa tagapagtanggol sa bandang huli, sa kanyang closing remarks. Alam niya marahil na talagang pelikula ito ni Ate Vi. Mahusay rin ang pagganap ni Antony Castelo bilang isang matigas na ulong anak ng isang mayaman. Sa papel na ina ni Ana, nakaka-distract ang hindi tunay na boses ni Mila Ocampo. Bilang ama ni Bernard San Diego, very one-dimensional ang papel ni Subas Herrero. Ang pinakanakakatuwang papel ay ang papel na kaibigan ni Ana na ginampanan ni Deborah Sun. Meron siyan eksena sa hukuman kung saan tumistigo siya at natural na natural ang pagkababaeng bakla niya. Mabilis ang pacing ng pelikula at walang mahusay ang pagkakaedit nito. Hindi ako nagtaka kung bakit nanalo si Ate Vi para sa pelikulang ito mula sa Famas. Ito rin ang bale hudyat ng pagsibol ng bagong Vilma Santos pagpasok ng dekada otsenta dahil sa sumunod na taon ay nagkasunod sunod na ang parangal sa pagarte ni Ate Vi mula sa iba’t ibang award giving bodies.” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Elwood Perez and Vilma Santos collaborated in seven films. The first one was the trilogy that he co-directed with two other director, Borlaza and Gosiengfiao (these three are the most underrated and under appreciated directors in the Philippines), the remake of Mars Ravelo comic super hero, Darna in Lipad Darna Lipad. The film was a record-breaking hit Box-office Film. They follow this up with a more mature projects as Vilma started to switched her image from sweet to a mature/versatile actress, pairing her with Christopher DeLeon in five films starting with Masarap Masakit Ang Umibig in 1977. The Perez-Santos-DeLeon team produced several blockbuster hits and also gave Vilma two FAMAS best actress awards.  Both wins contributed to her elevation to the FAMAS’ highest honour, the “Hall of Fame” award she received in 1989.  The wins were for Pakawalan Mo Ako (1979) and Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos (1988)…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…The second memorable film experience for me was during early 80s where I saw the free sneak preview of “Pakawalan Mo Ako” at Gotesco Theatre near University of the East. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to get in. My college mates weren’t. They got stocked in the pandemonium outside. I was worried sick as I took the long escalator and saw them being crashed by the crowd. The security guards have to closed the gate of the lobby. Fans became so restless and broke the glass windows (where they displayed posters and still photos) . Inside, It was crowded, hot and wild. We were seeing a more mature Vilma Santos.  The moviegoers reacts to every scenes from the very beginning up to the very end (the courtroom scene where Vilma cried and swear, “Liars!  Liars! You’re all Lying!”)…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Natatangi ang pelikulang Pakawalan Mo Ako (MVP Pictures, 1981) dahil sa matagumpay nitong pagtatangkang ilahad ang proseso tungkol sa pag-ibig at pagbabahagi ng sarili nang buo ang pagkatao. Nilinaw ng pelikula ang mga personal at pang-ekonomiyang salik na naghatid sa pangunahing tauhan tungo sa pagpuputa at inilalantad ang bunga nito gaya ng madamdaming pagsasadula ni Vilma Santos. Nang muli silang magkita ng kasintahan, ibang babae na ang kanyang nakatagpo, mas may tiwala sa sarili at mulat na sa kalakaran ng mundo. Nakakaantig ang transpormasyon ng kanyang karakter mula biktima ng nasawing pag-ibig at di-makalingang propesyon tungo sa pagbabago at paninindigan ng kanyang pagiging babae. Mapangumbinsi rin ang pagganap ni Christopher de Leon dahil sa kanyang sensitibong pagpasok sa katauhan ng isang abogadong makiling sa sistema ng batas. Sa unang tingin, tila makababae ang punto de bista ng Pakawalan Mo Ako dahil sa paglalahad ng babae bilang biktima pa rin ng ispontanyong reaksiyon ni Bernard, ang lalaking nagnanasa sa kanyang katawan. Subalit madulas ang daloy ng iskrip nina Pete Lacaba, Mao Gia Samonte at Iskho Lopez, konsistent ang disenyong biswal at sinematograpiya. Malinis ang editing at akmang-akma ang musika. Ngunit habang hinihimay ang naratibo, unti-unting natuklasan ang melodramatikong proposisyong ipinapakain ng pelikula. Isang proposisyong taliwas sa pagnanasang patuloy na makibaka, magmahal at mabuhay…” – Jojo Devera, Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)