The First Grand Slam Best Actress in the Philippines

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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).

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 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

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All about awards

AWARDS 4

First of all, I would like to welcome you all to our first e-groups newsletter. This project is dedicated to our one and only idol, Ms. Vilma Santos Recto and to all Vilmanians around the globe. Our maiden issue is about “Awards.” it is very timely since its still award season in our country. We are very hopeful that ate Vi will reaped more awards due to her impressive performance in MP3.

The ultimate win – For all Vilmanians, who can forget 1983? It’s the ultimate win for our idol. 1982 ended with Nora Aunor winning the December film festival for Himala. Everyone are predicting about her winning all the awards for that year. But Vilma is Nora’s true tormentor because as the award season in 1983 begins (remember they honoring the films from the previous year), all award giving bodies lined up and unanimously gave the best actress awards to Vilma! Bernal may have been a true actor’s director but without ate Vi’s maturing talent, no one can perform as effective as Malou in Relasyon! And FAMAS, CMMA, URIAN & FAP, all agreed resulting a true Grand Slam! Impressive indeed. This is a vindication of all the heartaches she suffered in the 70s.

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The Milestone Move – No longer a sweet teenager, Vilma’s milestone, career move was through Burlesk Queen. By 1977, Vilma’s reinvention of her image began with her feminist look at her personal life. She no longer care about the gossip and bad publicity that her relationship with Romeo Vasquez has created. Concentrating with her movies, Vilma accepted daring roles like “Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon,” “Nag-aapoy Na Damdamin,” “Tagulan sa Tag-araw.” And also as producer, she created some of the best films of that decade, like “Mga Rosas Sa Putikan,” “Halik sa Paa, Halik sa Kamay,” and the ultimate, “Pagputi Ng Uwak, PagItim ng Tagak” (an almost grand slam winner for best picture). She is one of the very first independent producer in the country. But the most daring of them all was Burlesk Queen. Ian films bet all of its money to this project and it paid off because not only it is the top grosser of the film festival it also reaped almost all of the festival’s awards! Sourgraping, the Nora Aunor camp complained but to no avail, All awards were never returned as what the news said few days after it was given. Burlesk Queen established Vilma Santos name as the number one actress in the Philippines. She was featured in Times Magazine in its coverage of the news around the globe.

The hurtful Lost – Ironically, the following year Ian films went to the other camp and produced one of the most stereotypical film of all times, Atsay. Directed by Eddie Garcia, Nora Aunor gave her most over rated performance of all time. Avoiding the scandal of the previous years and aim at vindicating Nora Aunor, the festival judges gave her the Best Performer award over Vilma Santos’ impressive performance in Rubia Servios. Isagani Cruz, a well respected critics during that time emphasized the hardship and delicate direction of Lino Brocka that is being the total craftsmanship of the Rubia was far more superior than Atsay. Cruz even pointed out that although Nora and Vilma both gave splendid performances, Vilma’s role was far more demanding and difficult. And everyone agreed including all Noranians. And so, as history will tell, it was the sweetest victory of Nora and Noranians over us. It was also hurtful because as the victory spread around the archipelago, the news about Ate Vi committing suicide came out. True it was a big disappointment and Marichu Vera Perez attested, she and Vilma cried all night after the awards night but the suicide rumor was just a myth. Vilma will learned from this lost and as we all remember, a lesson learned, she will never expect to win. She’ll do her job and let them decide if she is deserving of their accolades. The 80’s will proves to be more fruitful, kind and respectful of her effort to give her fans and movie aficionados every cent of their movie ticket.

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From fantasy to reality – As the 70’s box office queen, Vilma reinvent herself so many times. She was the disco queen, the action hero (darna, vivian volta, wonder vi), physically disabled bell ringer (kampanerang kuba), a mermaid (dyesebel) to name a few. But in order to transform herself into a maturing actor and get notice for her acting talent, Vilma accepted daring roles which gave her so many awards (almost 70 to this date!) but the most revealing thing about this reinventions was the intrinsic value of all this important roles. The feminism, activism and social issues tackled and explored in these films are the most important contribution to the real world and the real human condition in our country. From the ill fated dancer in Burlesk Queen, to the liberal minded, suicidal designer in Ikaw Ay Akin to a desperate lover to Tag-ulan sa Tag Araw to a more rebellious wife in Broken Marriage, Vilma gave us a true to life picture of what are the most common sufferings of Filipinos. What are the real conditions that most of us cant voice out. True to its form, her films current as we still continue to experience all this social issues. Poverty and helplessness among the common Filipino problems. She also affected us with her tour de force portrayal of a modern mistress in Relasyon, an activist nun in SSL, a dying cancer stricken career woman in Pahiram, a mother of autistic child in Ipagpatawad, an AIDS patient in Dolzura, an awaken mother to an activist rebel in Dekada and just recently a modern crime crusader torn between two lovers in Mano Po 3! From fantasy to reality, her filmography deserve the most important awards in Philippine movie history – the National Artist honor.

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The Future – As we all know Vilma has surpassed all of her contemporaries, including Nora Aunor. The future for our idol has become more exciting than ever. Vilma admittedly said that she wanted to stay in show business for as long as she still enjoys it, just like her idol, Gloria Romero, playing grandmother roles. But that’s not gonna happen right now, Vilma still commands the leading roles. She can still carry a film and portray roles that’s younger than her real age (Thanks to her youthful looks and clean lifestyles). Projects are still pouring in. And again, unlike her contemporaries, she remained choosy and committed, to do “never been done” projects, a well known secret of her longevity. Indeed, her future remained bright and truly exciting! – RV, V Magazine, April – May 2005 (READ MORE)

1978 FAMAS

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An All-Bold FAMAS: Untold Tales Behind The Scenes! This year’s FAMAS affair is the most orderly. Ang dahilan? Isa na ang kawalan ng admission tickets. Sold out! Nagtataka ang ibang movie companies, participating or not, kung bakit hindi nangyari ang customary practice na pagpapadala ng bilang ng mga tickets sa kanila. Isa lang ang VS Films sa nagtataka kung bakit limang piraso ng tickets lang ang naipadala sa kanila gayong higit na nakararami ang bilang ng nominasyon ng entry nilang “Pag-puti ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak.” Ticket ang naging pangunahing problema sa pagtatanghal. Ang mga portera ng Metropolitan Theatre, pati ng mga security guards followed instruction to the letter. Basta walang tiket, huwag papasukin. Kaya kahit na artista ka, kung wala kang tiket, bawal pumasok! Sina Al Tantay at Tet Antiquiera ay mga presentors. Pagpasok sa gate ay hinanapan sila ng ticket. Napakamot na lang ng ulo kapuwa ang dalawa nang mabatid na wala nga pala silang mga dalang tickets dahil sinabihan lang sila bilang mga presentors. Naayos din naman. Bagaman may numro ang mga tickets with corresponding seats ay hindi rin nasunod ang seating arrangements. Umupo ka kung saan mo gusto. Going to the comfort room was even worst. Papayagan kang lumabas ng portera. Pagpasok mo uli, hahanapan ka ng kaputol ng ticket mo. Ang awardee na si Director Armando Garces na bago pa lamang gumagaling sa matagal na naging karamdaman at iika-ika pang lumakad ay naisipan munang tumayo at magtungo sa CR. Pagbalik, one rude usher asked for his ticket. He was even pushed back raw nang walang maipakitang kaputol na ticket.

Paistaran sa costumes! – Anuman ang maging impression sa FAMAS, its being infamous, biased and all the bad things one could think of, still namumukod-tangi pa rin ito at siyang tanging grandiose affair na sadyang pinaghahandaan ng movie industry as one affair that shouldn’t be missed. Costumes purposely ordered for the occassion cost thousands of pesos more than whan an ordinary starlet would earn in one movie. One bold star reportedly ordered a gown worth P10,000.00 hoping her husband would win sa “Best Actor,” but he lost! Sa lahat ng okasyon, expect the unexpected from Ellen Esguerra. Dumating siyang daig pa si Queen Juliana o si Princess Grace o si Jacqueline Kennedy sa pagkabonggadera. She arrived in a carriage na parang galing sa pamamasyal sa Central Park ng New York in white gown complete with boa feather, bra-less and panty-less. Saan galing ang karwahe? “Kasalanan ko ba kung ipahiram sa akin ni Maria Montelibano?,” tanong pa niya. Her hair was done in braids, Negro-style with feathers inset, by Budjiwara. Doing it took all of four hours! Vilma Santos drew the biggest commotion. Tilian, reminiscent of the early 70’s heralded her dramatic entrance with singer-actor Junior. She was wearing an all-brown gown fresh from a fashion center of Paris with a cape and dangling ostrich feathers in the arms. Timing na timing ang pagdating ni Vi. Nagsisimula pa lang ang television coverage ng proceedings. Sinundin ni Vi ang firest interviewee na si Pilar Pilapil. Pag-entra, ang bida ulit ay ang mga portera, “Ticket n’yo ho?”

Nilapitan kami ni Rudy Fernandez. Anong feeling niya sincerely afternoon pa lang ay rumored na siyang mananalo? “Wala, okey lang, medyo kabado.” Paghawak sa kamay niya, daig pa nito ang ibinabad sa yelo sa lamig at pinapawisan gayung air-conditioned ang buong thetre. Maging and nominee at finalist for “Best Actor na si Boyet de Leon ay binabati na in advance. “No, alam kong hindi ko gabi ngayon.” As usual, Boyet came in his casual self. Nagpunta siya sa backstage. When he found out na hindi siya presentor balik siya sa may likuran ng teatro, umupo sa isang sulok at nakipaghuntahan na lang kina Rez Cortez at Lloyd Samartino. Halos magkasabay na pumasok si Nora Aunor at ilang alalay, Llyod Samartino and Jacqui Lou Blaco. “Kami,” sagot naman ni Lloyd. You mean triangle ang gabing ito? Oo lang ang sagot, ni Lloyd. Tumuloy na sa may harapan si Aunor para maupo. Mayamaya, heto na si Carmen Soriano at tinawag ang anak. Pinaupo nila si Jacqui Lou sa tabi nila ni Eddie Rodriguez. Tense ang Inday Badiday. Nakipagpustahan siya ng sinundang gabi na mananalo si Vilma. Ang five hundred niya ay mananalo ng isang libo. Dumaan ang pangulo ng FAMAS, Mario Cabling. “Balita ko ay may sariling set ka ng winners na ini-annouced sa radio program mo,” tanong ng Cabling kay Inday. “May tumawag kasi sa akin, sina Rudy Fernandez at Chanda Romero raw as Best Actor and Actress with Amy Austria for Supporting,” sagot naman ni Inday. “Tignan natin kung tama ang hula mo,” medyo may pagka-sarcastic na wika ni Mang Mario.

Ang first portion ng programa ay isang comedy of errors. Ang mga tinatawag ng presentors ay hindi umaakyat o lumalabas sa entablado. Bagkus, sa halip na ang tinawag, ibang tao ang lumalabas. Lumabas si Ruby Anna na walang plaque at ni hindi alam ang gagawin. Si Tina Monasterio ay mistulang isang fashion model sa gitna ng stage na wala rign ginawa. Tinawag si Tina Monasterio nina Amalia Fuentes at Carlos Salazar. Ang lumabas ay iba, si Josephine Garcia. Lumabas si Tito Nards bilang escort ng isang artista pero wala silang nai-prisintang plaque. Balik sila sa loob. Tawag uli kay Tito Nards. Ang lumabas ay si Rudy Gernaskey. Tawanan ang tao. Kasama ni Rio Locsin sa backstage ang tunay niyang ama, si Mr. Sta, Ana. Ninerbiyos si Rio dahil naduon daw ang nanay niya at balak siyang iuwi sa bahay nila. Lumayas pala at kumuha ng sariling bahay niyang titirhan si Rio. When it was time for her to mount the stage, biglang may nagbiro, “Andiyan na ang nanay mo, Ogie!” Takbo kaagad si Rio kung saan at ibinalot ang sarili sa kurtina ng entablado para makapagtago! Maugong pa rin ang balita na si Chanda Romero ang siyang “Best Actress” awardee. Wala si Chanda, nasa ospital daw at nagkasalit bigla. Insecure sa suot niyang fishnet-mini si Tet Antiquiera. Patalikod kasi ay litaw ang puwit niya dahil wala siyang panty! na-at-home lang siya nang dumating din sina Aurora Salve na bukas ang tagiliran ng gown, pati si Deborah Sun na laylay nga hanggang likod ang gown pero kita naman ang parang panty niya sa harapan na kulay silver.

Kurtina lang ang pagitan nina Deborah Sun at Al Tantay, reported to be feuding. Nawala bigla sa entablado si Al dahil to his right was Deborah and to his left was Rio Locsin naman, his rumored sweetheart at the moment. And in front of hims is partner Tet Antiquiera. Bumalik lang sa stage si Al nang wala na sina Deborah at Tet. Ngayon ay kausap naman niya si Rio, sa harapan ng nanay ni Mat Ranillo na si Gloria Sevilla. Sa umpukan nina Tony Santos, Sr., Amado Cortez at Leroy Salvador, isang tao raw ang kulang si Eddie Rodriguez. Tinawag. Kumpleto na raw ang casting. All three raw have one thing in common. Amalia Fuentes, finally realizing na tila they have been calling the wrong persons on stage decided: “Ako na lang ang magsasabi ng pangalan kung sinuman ang lalabas” dahil nga sa maling mga cue sheets. Di okey naman. Kaso, lumabas uli ang isang FAMAS member na ineskotan ang isang baguhan. “Sino naman ito?” tanong uli ni Amalia. Sa labas, pinapawisang maige si Johnny Litton sa pagmo-monitor sa mga celebrities na dumarating. Tagaktak ang pawis sa noo niya habang buong kapakumbabaang panay naman ang pahid ng napkin ni Frankie Clemente sa noo at mukha ni Litton. Namamayani ang taginting ng halakhak ni Elvira Manahan sa buong teatro sa bawat pagkakamali. “I’m used to it already, siya hindi pa kasi,” depensa ni Nestor Torre Jr na co-host ng “Two for the Road.”

Nora Aunor made the mvoe para lapitan si Inday Badiday. Kaso mo ay alert naman pala itong si Badiday. Nagkunwa itong may kinakausap nang palapit si Aunor. Saka lumakad palayo si Inday nang malapit na sa kanya si Aunor. Snob! Break na kami, si Azenith Briones na ngayon ang asawa ko,” ani Elizabeth Oropeza nang may magtanong sa kanya kung nasaan si Ingrid Salas. Kinakantiyawan ni Amalia Fuentes si Aurora Salve. “Bah, ang isusuot ba naman e ‘yong long sleeves niyang gown na closed neck pa mandin! Wala kang karapatang magsuot ng ganoon. Bakit, si Susan Roces ka ba? Si Susan lang ang puwedeng magsuot ng ganoon1″ Tawanan. Sumama ka sa akin, mag-Joanne Drew tayo,” yaya ni Nena kay Divina Valencia na medyo tumaba nang husto. “Mahal naman doon, four thousand!” tanggi ng nanay ni Dranreb. “Bembol Roco and Rita Gomez!” tawag ng monitor girl sa dalawa, na siyang mag-e-emcee sa next portion ng affair. Both mounted the stairs na siyang magluluwa sa kanila sa entablado. “Siguruhin mo lang na ang mga tatawagin kong pangalana ay siyang lalabas sa stage,” warning ni Ms. Gomez. Tumagal nang konti bago pa lumabas sina Bembol at Ms. Gomez. “Sabihin mo naman na dalian na, humuhulas na ang make-up ko,” ani Ms. Gomez sa monitor-girl. “Okey na ho,” sagot pa nito. Maya-maya ay nag-dim ang mga ilaw. “Hoy, bakit namatay ang mga ilaw?” naiinip na tanong ni Ms. Gomez. Commercial pa muna! “Punyeta,” inis na sagot ni Mother Rita. “Wala bang may lipstick at compact? Ihiram mo naman ako,” pakiusap ni Manay Ichu. Nakahagilap kami kay Ellen Esguerra. Very ironic naman. Ini-announce ni Ms. Gomez ang susunod na parangal ay para sa “Dr. Jose R. Perez Memorial Award” at ang magpi-present ng award ay si Marichu Vera-Perez-Maceda! Di Ba starwars sila since “Eva Fonda?”

Hinila ni Liza Lorena si Dante Rivero sa isang tabi. Ang bulong nito: “Dante, ipinagpalit mo na raw ako sa iba?” “Wala ‘yun, ‘Perfect Mother,” sagot naman ni Dante. Umakyat sa stage si Alma Moreno at siyang magpi-present together with Dondon Nakar and Raul Aragon ng award for “Best Actor.” Ah, tiyak na si Rudy Fernandez na, hula ng marami. Ugong naman ang bulungan na si Mat Ranillo III na. Ayaw maniwala ni Gloria Sevilla. Imposible raw. Kahit si Mat daw ang winner, “If I know si Rudy pa rin ang babasahing pangalan,” biro ni Nene Riego. At nang si Mat nga ang tinawag, napa-kurus bigla si Gloria at umiyak sa halip na maglulundag sa tuwa! Five minutes bago i-announce ang winner for “Best Actor,” alam na pala ni Alma na matatalo ang mister niya kaya gusto nang umuwi. Pero pinigil lang ng PRO niyang si Nene Riego para nga naman makaakyat din sa stage at mai-display ang sinasabing P10,000.00 gown. Gusto ko, si Aurora Salve ang partner ko,” pagpipilit ni Dondon Nakar sa monitor girl. “Wala nang changes, last few awards na,” say naman sa kanya. All throughout the proceedings, lanta at mukhang matamlay si Nora Aunor. Wala ni kapiranggot na award kasing natamo ang kanyang “Atsay.” When Celso Ad Castillo won the “Best Director” award, pumuwesto siya sa tabi ng pitno. Mahaba ang kanyang ceremonial walk patungo sa stage. Pero panay jogging ang ginawa. “I’m glad I didn’t win,” say ni Eddie Garcia kay Celso Kid. “Marami ka na raw award kaya sa akin na ibinigay,” sey naman ni Celso kay Eddie.

Hindi na tinapos ni Aunor ang buong programa. Umalis kaagad siya. Pero bago ‘yon, nauna nang umiskapo si Boyet de Leon. Amy Austria took everything in good stride. She’s great sport at kalmanteng-kalmante hanggang sa huli. High nang gabing iyon si Anthony Alonzo. Kabado nga raw siya pero hindi tense. Naka-diyes litros kasi. Hindi na namain siya namataan after the announcement of the winner for Supporting Actor. Nagpakuha ng larawan magkasama sina Imelda Papin, Eva Eugenio at Claire ang pictorial nilang tatlo ay for the benefit ng magasign ito laman. Lorna Tolentino was stunning in her sequined-fitting pants, kumpleto sa naghahabaang feathers sa ulo niya. Hindi pa rin nagbabati sa mga nasa paligid, Tinaasan namin siya ng kilay. Dinilaan lang kami! “Tito Leroy, pagsabihan mo naman siya,” daing na pakiusap ni Rio Locsin kay Leroy Salvador. Kung si Rey dela Cruz o si Charito Garcia ang isinusumbong ni Rio, hindi namin nabatid. Si Pete ang naiwan ngayon sa Barnyard (restaurant nila),” ani Boots Anson-Roa who came with her dad, Oscar Moreno, now staying here and is managing the resto. “Are you sure na hindi nangungu-Pete sa kaha si Pete?” question ng isang punny ones. “Wala ‘yung nangungu – Pete Lang,” was Boots witty remark too. “Wala bang softdrinks man lang dito o anumang makakain?” ask ng isang presentor na hindi pa yat naghahapunan. “Wala, poor kasi ang FAMAS,” paliwanag ng isang miyembro-opisyal. Si Beth Bautista ay naka-gown na ang slit o biyak ay abot hanggang balakang. Nang makita ang mga matang nakapako sa kanya, sabay ang mga kilay na nagtaasang nagtatanong na nawika nitong: “Bakit, wala ba akong karapatang magsuot nang ganito?” to the amusement of Cheng Muhlach walking behind her.

Ninety percent of the women were dressed in black formal evening gowns. The rest were either in white or brown…and minis, too! “Why do you tolerate Llyod in courting Nora, Lorna and other girls? Tipo bang pa-martir ka nga ba?” was asked of Jacqui Lou Blanco. “That’s what you think,” sagot ng tisay na anak ni Pilita who also wore a smashing gown that evening. Pitong awards ang nakopo ng “Pagputi ng Uwak…” ni Vilma. Nag-blow-out ang VS Films sa coffee shop ng Manila Hotel. Nagtungo rin doon ang grupo nina Alma Moreno pero nang makitang maraming tao sa lobby ng hotel ay bigla nilang inilikong paalis ang kotse nila. sa 1571 na lang daw sila. Sa Manila Hotel, nasa isang hapag sina Amalia Fuentes and company. Sa isang mesa naman, iyong grupo ni Marissa Delgado at Imelda Ilanan. Sa isang mesa ay ang grupo ni Dorothy Laforteza, Tony Bernal at Rudy Genaskey. At doon sa isa pa ring mesa, grupo naman nina Elvira Manahan at Nestor Torre, all out for an early breakfast. The rest of the tables were occupied by VS Films and well wishers. Nandoon sina Manay Ichu, Celso Castillo, Romy Vitug, Junior and others to help celebrate VS Films’ Triumph. Naguwian ang barkada bandang alas-kuwatro na. Hindi rin gaanong nagpaumaga sina Eddie Rodriguez, Carmen Soriano, Lloyed Samartino at Jacqui Lour dahil may curfew raw itong huli sa kanila. Umalis sila bandang alas-dos nang umaga. Nilapitan ni Vilma ang grupo. Binati niya isa-isa. Tanging si Eddie R. ang hinalikan sa pisngi ni Vi. Kinamayan lang sina Mameng, Jackie at Lloyd.

Ineskortan nanan ni Joey Gosiengfiao ang magka-date na Greg Liwag at Deborah Sun sa isang mesa. Umalis din sila kaagad without joining the VS camp. Kinilig at halos himatayin sa upuan niya si Gil Villasana nang magpaalam sa kanya si Eddie Garcia with a flying kiss! Ang pinakamalaki raw boner noon ay ang pagkakabasa sa sulat ni Angie Ferro sent in advance saying: “In case na manalo” siya. The valedictory address should have been done away with. Naghinala tuloy ang marami na sadyang may leakage na ang mga winners bago pa man mabuksan ang envelope! Hindi umakyat ng entablado si Vilma Santos to pose with the winners of the four major categories. She was an attraction sa ibaba with congratulations being raised on her left and right kaya hindi na ito nakaakyat to pose beside Susan Roces. Dalawang ulit daw nanalo nang magkasunod na FAMAS si Susan. Sadya nga raw kayang when it rains, it pours? Pareho raw temang horror ang mga roles na napanalunan ni Swanie. Next year daw ay nakakasiguro nang gagawa uli ng horror movie si Suisan upang ipanlaban sa next FAMAS derby. Maging si Mat Ranillo III ay winner last year. For “Best Supporting Actor,” he won in “Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig” and this year, he won for “Isang Ama, Dalawang Ina” for Best Actor award. Pelikulang hawig sa tunay na buhay: “Isang Ina, Dalawang Ama!” Ngayon lamang nakakuha ng award buhat sa FAMAS si Celso Ad.

At ngayon lamang nagtally ang mga awards ng URIAN at FAMAS. This year ay nanalo rin si Celso at ang “Pagputi ng Uwak…” ng Best Director at Best Picture award sa Urian. Baka raw may bawian na naman sa award ni Celso Kid, tulad nang manalo siya for “Burlesk Queen.” Ang speech niya noon ay handog at alay di sa Pangulo at Unang Ginang. Pero binawi ang award! Si George Estregan ay nanalo muna bilang “Best Actor” in 1972 for “Sukdulan” bago siya nagwagi uli this time ng “Best Supporting Actor” award. Pagganito ang trend, ibig sabihin kaya nito ay pababa na ang rating ni George, from leading to supporting role na lang ba, ha Jesse? Ayon sa balita, isang boto lang daw ang inilamang ni Susan Roces kay Vilma Santos. Pero lagi yatang “isa ang lamang” ang katuwiran para sa mga natalo. Ngayon kami naniniwala na hindi nagkamali si Ronnie Poe nang payagan niya uling mag-comeback sa pelikula si Susan. She kept on trying till she won the FAMAS. Ngayon naman ay pinagsunud-sunod na ang panalo. Talbog ang Amalia Fuentes! “Nang matanong si Amalia kung muli pa itong gagawa ng pelikula…”Stop na muna ako, bankrupt na kasi ako,” sey niya in all candor. Kasi raw ay naniniwala raw ang BIR sa mga nababasa nila tungkol sa pasobrang kita ng mga PRO. Bunga tuloy nito ay hinahabol ng BIR ang malalaking taxes na due sa huge earnings ng mga artista.

“Bah, ako man ay nalulugi rin. Lahat ng pelukula ko, in fact, ay pawang lugi,” sey na rin ni Leroy Salvador. Paging BIR then! Kawawa naman pala itong si Leroy, buong pagaakala pa naman namin e blockbuster ang mga movies niya! “Alam n’yo ba na may isang actress-singer dito na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa binabayaran ang utang niya sa madyungan after twenty years?” tanong ng isang veteran actress-awardee. “Nakakatakot palang manalo!” Buti na lang at hindi ako candidate. Ayoko nang mawalan uli ng pelikula,” say ni Daria Ramirez na ngayon ay muling nagka-comeback sa pelikula. Tanong ni Carmen Soriano: “Tell me honestly, do you think na may lakaran ngayon sa FAMAS?” Kung anong dami ng mga policemen at mga cadets present bago simulan ang palatuntunan, wala isa mang secutiry sa gate noong matapos ang show. Dinumog tuloy nang husto ang mga artista paglabas. The colros of the ngith were red, black and white to the fullest. Although medyo nakalamang ang itim sa mga damit nina Nora Aunor, Boots Anson Roa, Gloria Sevilla, Leila Hermosa, Aurora Salve, Tet Antiquiera, (siya ang pinaka-star nang gabing yaon dahil sa kanyang suot na black body net with nothing underneath to cover her delicate parts), Julie Ann Fortich (na ang costume ay lift-up mula sa isang Barbara Cartland novel), Rio Locsin, Veronica Jones and others whose name in black escaped us for the moment. Kung sinumang paboritong artista na hindi nabangit sa black list ay siugradong dumating na ang kulay ng damit ay pula o di kaya’y ibang kulay. Amalia Fuentes was ravishing in a beige from Rome. – Alfie Lorenzo and Joey de Castro, Jingle Extra Hot Magazine, December 10, 1979 (READ MORE)

Sweetest Partners of teh Night: Llyod Samartino and Jackie Lou Blanco na magkahawak kamay nang pumasok sa bulwagan. (Who sez na nagkakalabuan ang dalawang ito?) Marahil ay gutom na si Lloyd noon, we caught him religiously muching a sandwich na tangan ni Jacki Lur. Pinaka-self-confident ng gabi: Celso Ad Castillo who declared na “I’m expecting seven to eight awards, kaya’t steady lamang ako rito.” (Baby…”Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak” got the lion’s share totalling seven awards.) Gesture of the Night: George Estregan bussing Baby Delgado heavily bago umakyat at tanggapin ang kanyang tropeo. Runner-upL Alma Moreno who kept pressing Rudy Fernandez’ hands upang maibsan ang pagka-tense ng asawa. (Rudy Fernandez was resting heavily on the hope of winning that night. He lost.) Comment of the nightL “Nasaan ang mga cue cards namin?” mararay na wika ni Mother Rita Gomez pagpasok sa podium. Runner-up: Gloria Sevilla checking on daughter Bebeth: :Sabi ko naman sa’yo huwag kang iiyak…” Mommy Gloria was howling backstage upon learning na Archie won. Costume of the Night: Tet Antiquiera who stoel the show on stage and backstage dahil sa kanyang revealing otufit, reminding us of Marilyn Monroe at Jean harlow. Very sexy! Runner-up: Aurora Salve’s gown na may malaking slit sa side pababa at alam mong walang suot na underwear dahil paano? Sans-Vicks-Vaporub-Eye-Mo of the Night: Julie Vega who romped onstage blinded with tears dahil sa pagkapanalo niya. Biggest disappointment of the Night: Vilma Santos hellbent in winning the Best Actress, ’cause prior to that, nanalo na ang “Pagputi ng Uwak…” ng Best Picture at Best Director. Susan Roces queenly grabbed the coveted award for “Gumising Ka, Maruja.” Runner-up: The whole of Metropolitan Theater when Rudy Fernandez’ fine and exquisite performance in “Anak sa Una, Kasal sa Ina” failed to bring him the bacon. “We were expecting Rudy Boy to win…” comment Auggie Cordero. “Bakit naman ganoon? Sayang!” wika ni Claire. “Nang pumasok si Alma Moreno para mag-abot ng trophy for Best Actor, sigurado kong panalo na si Rudy,” wika ni Philip Salvador, nang magkita-kita kami sa Manila Peninsula. Great Escape of the Night: Rio Locsin making a dash with Al Tantay upon learning na hinahanap siya ng kanyang mama. Runner-up: Singer Eva Eugenio na biglang nawala nang malamang sa Seq. 5 ng script siya dapat kumanta, mahuhuli sina Claire at Imelda Papin. So, from Seq 28, lipat si Claire sa Seq. 5, Pagkatapos ng kanta ni Claire, lumitaw ang eva Eugenio: “Bakit hindi ninyo ako tinawag, ako pala ang kakanta…” dialogue niya. – Joey de Castro, Jingle Extra Hot Magazine, December 10, 1979 (READ MORE)

FAMAS: Gabi ng Mga Cliche: – Ano ang kahulugan sa iyo ng FAMAS, tanong ko kay Elizabeth Oropesa sa lobby ng Metropolitan Theatre, November 21. “My only acting award came from the Famas.” “Prestige to a certain extent,” sagot ni Bembol Roco. “Next to the stars, the technical men in the industry expect much from it,” chirped Marichu Maceda. “Disappointed sila nang early this year ay kumalat ang tsismis na hindi magbibigay ng parangal ang Famas for reasons other than professional.” Nakakalungkot, di ba? Papatayin nang gayon na lamang ang 28 taong institusyon na tanging witness ng rise and fall and rise of Philippine movies. Ang mas malungkot nito’y hindi naman sa mga dahilang propesyonal papatayin ang Famas. Mga personal daw na dahilan. Nag-resign si Lilia Andolong nang hindi man lang tumawag ng isang eleksyon. Ang nangyari’y naglakas-loob na lang ang natirang mga miyembro upang itaguyod ang Famas. Tradisyon, tradisyon. Kaalakbay na ng karangalang Famas ang intriga, controversy. Halos taun-taon, pagkatapos parangalan ang mga aktor at aktress, may mga kilay na hindi mapigil ang pagtaas, nagtatanong. Bakit? Bakit halimbawa nanalo si Mat Ranillo III ng best actor award gayong hindi naman siya ang lead sa “Isang Ama Dalawang Ina?” Ganoon ba ang standard na gustong ipahatid ng mga hurado – ang acting na kasing-putla ng sukang Baliuag? Does Mat Ranillo deserve that trophy? I doubt very much. Hindi sa gusto kong i-put-down si Ranillo. He’s fine young gentleman but a lousy actor. He has yet to internalize, to let go. Mababaw and kanyang facial expression. Walang substance. And to use a movie cliche, walang depth. Walang relevance, say ng swardspeak. Kung sa palagay ng Famas judges, talagang kapuri-puri ang acting ni Ranillo sa nasabing pelikula, makatotohanan siguro kung ang aktor ay na-nominate sa best supporting actor category.

Susan Roces makes for a more credible winner. And we’re not even saying this because we’re fans of hers. Kay Amalia Fuentes ako, kung itatanong mo. Ibig sabihin, mas kapani-paniwala ang pagkakapanalo ni Susan kaysa kay Mat. Sabihin nang mahigpit ang labanan sa best actress category, may laban naman kahit paano ang reyna. Susan’s role sa “Maruja” is one of her best, of not her best portrayal so far. Flaw, flaws. Ang pinakamasaya, magulong bahagi ng gabi ng Famas ay ang portion na pinamahalaan nina Amalia Fuentes at Carlos Padilla, Jr. Ito ay ang bahaging pinarangalan ng Famas ang kanyang sarili. Lahat na yata ng miyembro ng Famas ay pinarangalan, at sino pa’ng nagaabot sa kanila ng parangal kundi ang mga direktor mismo ng Famas. Ang saya! Mas masaya ang production flaws sa portion na ito, an unforgettable moment in Philippine television, if you ask me. Hayan si Amalia Fuentes, kuntodo paganda, mala-sutlang gown ang suot at glamorous talaga, star na star, subalit ano’ng nangyari sa hosting nila ni Padilla? A comedy of errors, as she herself pointed out. Ganito. So tinawag ni Amalia ang pangalan ni Ingrid Salas upang magpresent ng parangal. Ang lumabas sa backstage ay si Azenith Briones. Nagkatinginan sina Amalia at Carlos pero tuloy-tuloy lang ang show. Next, tinawag ang pangalan ni Janet Bordon, ang lumabas naman ay si Tina Monasterio. Nang tinawag naman ang pangalan ni Tina, si Josephine Garcia naman ang nag-abot ng tropeo. Ganito rin ang sitwasyon nina Deborah Sun at Baby Delgado. Later on, hindi na rin napigil nina Amalia ang kanilang sarili. Sila man ay hindi na nagseryoso sa kanilang trabaho. “Ano ba itong nangyayari sa atin?” tanong ng aktress. Nagmumukha kasi silang kuwan sa entablado. And the poor production staff did not come to their rescue. To save themselves from further shame and embarassment, sina Amalia man ay nagenjoy na sa mababaw na kaligayahan. Inaliw ang mga sarili sa kanilang mistakes.

Fashion and passion. Bakit ba sa tuwing dadalo ang ilang artista sa mga ganitong okasyon ay pilit silang nakikipagkumpetensiya kay Lady Famas sa pabonggang damit o kawalan nito? Aba’y maloloko ka sa suut-suot na headdress nitong si Ellen Esguerra. Saan ba siya pupunta’t nagkagasta pa siya nang malaki sa kanyang gown na sumisigaw, nang-aagaw ng eksena? Mainam sana kung nominee man lang ang actress. Did she lend glamour to the occassion? Mmmm. Kopya raw si Celia Rodriguez, kung bonggahan lang ang pinag-uusapan. Talaga? (This is one thing I hate about movie writing. I hate bitching around). I admire Rita Gomez. Prangka niyang sinabi sa kanyang co-host na si Bembol na “totoo, wala akong offers ngayon. Iyan ang katotohanan.” Ano pa, at sino? Iyak nang iyak si Julie Vega nang ideklara siyang best child actress. Cool na cool naman si Niño Muhlach nang manalo ito. Parang hindi bata, hindi yata excited. Kapansin-pansin na ang dalawang child stars na ito ay pawang lead roles ang ginampanan sa kanilang mga winning entries. Al Tantay and Tet Antiquiera, Llyod Samartino at Jacqui Lou Blanco. Nag-kiss sina Jacqui Lou at Oropesa. Malisya, malisya sa iyong mga mata. Si Ruby Anna sa isang mapang-akit na kasuotan, itim na blouse na pagkanipis-nipis, mababakas mo ang kanyang kinabukasan. Hu-huhhh. Iyon ba si Manding Garces, ang direktor ng maraming action pictures noong araw? Mukhang masasakitin si Garces. He walked with a limp as he received his award of recognition from the ever recognizing body. Sabi ni Mario Cabling, pangulo ng Famas, kailangan nating iligtas ang akademya. Kailangan ang koordinasyon. For once, mukhang nakinig sa Famas ang mga artista. Sa dami ng dumalo nang gabing yaon, hindi mapigil ni Johnny Litton ang malunod sa mga cliche. Ang buong gabi ay isang cliche. – N Miguel II, Jingle Extra Hot Magazine, December 10, 1979 (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)

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