2004 Stars Awards

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Trouble in the Stars – “Former Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) President Ernie Pecho is convinced that the media group’s incumbent head, Joe Barameda, was “not aware” of the alleged vote-buying during the recent 21st Star Awards ceremony. The very first Star Awards for movies were given out during Pecho’s term. “I know Joebar (Barrameda’s nickname). He’s a good person,” Pecho told Inquirer Entertainment in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Had he known, I’m sure he would have done something about it. He’s not like some of our colleagues na matindi ang pangangailangan (who are desperate). He would never accept money and ruin his image.” Quoting reports in the tabloids Pecho said 13 PMPC members, all part of the 24-man voting committee, received P5,000 each from “a woman from ABS-CBN.” This waa to ensure that the Best Actor award would go to Piolo Pascual (for “Milan”) and the Best Actress award to Kris Aquino (for “Feng Shui”). “They claimed Joebar was behind the “switching” of the awards,”said Pecho. The payoff might have happened, in fact, he said, but he reiterated his comfidence in Barrameda. Star Cinema, movie arm of ABS-CBN, produced both “Milan” and “Feng Shui.” “One story even said writer Allan Diones has admitted receiving money from the woman,” Pecho noted. Rumors that Kris and Piolo would win the top acting awards has started circulating days before the awards rites last Saturday.

Several people who turned up for the program at the Cinema 5 of the Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City and sported the two nominees commented: “They probably know that they would win. Why else would they be here?” But it was, Vilma Santos who took the Best Actres trophy for “Mano Po 3: My Love,” and Dennis Trillo was named Best Actor and Best New Movie Actor for “Aishite Imasu 1941.” Inquirer Entertainement called Barrameda also on Wednesday, but he would not pick up. Instead, he sent this text message: “The PMPC will issue an official statement hopefully tomorrow.” Several write-ups identified the “woman” as Star Magic PR head Rikka Dylim, who denied the accusation. In a statement sent to Inquirer, Dylim said she had “nothing to do with the alleged vote-buying for (ABS-CBN Star Magic) contract artist Mr. Piolo Pascual.” Dylim added: “The network accepts the fact that another actor won the Best Actor award. We never question or protest the decision of the club.” Pecho said there could be several reasons that Kris and Piolo did not win, “despite all the efforts experted by ABS-CBN.” “Some members could have taken the money but felt guilty and voted for other nominees,” Pecho said. “Or maybe these members got somethng bigger from someone else.” Of the controversy, he could only say: “This is really humiliating. The PMPC used to pride itself in its integrity and unquestioned choices. It used to be the most credible awards-giving body.

Now, can we say the same?” In October 2003, Pecho and two other former PMPC presidents questioned the process of selecting the winners for the 17th Star Awards for Television, citing “glaring disparities.” Pecho said some artists who won could “hardly carry a tune,” and shows that bagged the trophies in spite of “consistently poor production quality.” Billy Balbastro, 1984 PMPC president, complained about the alleged of winners during that awards show. He said he received text messages the day before, saying ABS-CBN would win by a lanslide. Of the same ceremony, Veronica Samio, PMPC president from 1991 to 1993, said she heard talk that certain individuals had paid several club offiicials to win certain awards. Pecho, PMPC president from 1985 to 1987, saidl all past PMPC presidents should meet to discuss the situation. “I think there should be a “general cleaning” within the PMPC.” Saturday’s ceremony was well attended by both celebrities and fans. This could explain why the 700 seater venue looked so chaotic. Before entering the theater, Inquirer Entertainement encountered a throng of fans screamign to catch their idols attntion. A group of ushers refused to let in guests – not even those with invitations – who were not in formal attire. Inside, people kept walking around even as the cameras rolled. These people included cameramen and guests in blue jeans and casual shirts.

In one corner, performers Sandara Park, Hero Angeles and the Speed Dancers rehearsed their dance steps while the program was ongoing and presenters like Ciara Sotto, Anna Larucea and Baron Geisler took last-minute instructions from the stage manager. Vilmanians and Noranians, as well as fans of young stars Sandara, Hero, Jennylyn Mercado and Mark Herras, screamed at every mention of their idols’ name and movies. What supposed to be a “formal” ceremony instead looked and sounded like any noontime program, with spectator’s hollering, “Laban!” or “Bawi!” at the top of their lungs. Kris arrived at about the same time as Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award for his father, former president Joseph Estrada. A swarm of photographers jostled for the best shots. Kris is the daughter of another former president, Corazon Aquino. Only SVP for Drama Production and Star Cinema Malou Santos was around to accept the Best Picture award for “Milan.” One member of the audience noted that Charo Santos-Concio, ABS-CBN’s EVP for Entertainment, was conspicuosly absent, fuelling rumors that she had quit working for the network on account of differences with its chair, Gabby Lopez. Pops Fernandez shared hosting chores with Vilma, and Martin Nievera was anchor man. The Golden Screen Awards show on March 5 had only two production numbers; Star Awards had four. Pops and The CompanY did the opening number. Star Circle questors Sandara and Hero performed in a “dance showdowns” with Starstruck ultimate survivors Jennylyn and Mark Young performers Mark Bautista, Erik Santos and Rachelle Ann Go did a medley of Filipino songs hafway into the program. Karylle, Keempe de Leon, Jamie Rivera and Franco Laurel sang Broadway tunes in the latter part. The Speed Dancers worked the hardest, performing in all the production numbers.” – Marinel R. Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Mar 18, 2005 (READ MORE)

Star Awards to be probed – “Officers of the Philippine Movie Press Club will form a committee to investigate the alleged vote-buying during the recent 21st Star Awards, according to Veronica Samio, head of the club’s grievance committee. “A deceitful act like this should not go unpunished,” said Samio, who was president of the PMPC from 1991 to 1993. “Its not right to cheat. We will see to it that PMPC members involved in this will be expelled. Post-show reports alleged that 13 PMPC members, all part of the 24-man voting committee, received money from ABS-CBN Star Magic PR head Rikka Dylim several days before the ceremony. This was to ensure that Piolo Pascual would be named Best Actor for “Milan” and the Best Actress award would go to Kris Aquino for “Feng Shui.” The accused members included writer Allan Diones, who admitted to received P5,000 from Dyllim, Samio also identified former PMPC president Julie Bonifacio-Gaspar, incumbent vice president Jimi Escala and member Ador Saluta as among thosed involved. Star Cinema, movie arm of ABS-CBN, produced both “Milan” and “Feng Shui.” But Vilma Santos (“Mano Po 3: My Love”) took home the Best Actress trophy and Dennis Trillo (“Aishite Imasu 1941”) was named Best Actress and Best New Movie Actor. Samio said Diones confessed to the vote-buying on the day the committee members were to cast their vote. “The first reaction of our president (Joe Barrameda) was to strike Piolo’s name from the list of nominees.

But we dissuaded him because it would not be fair to Piolo, who actually did well in “Milan,” Samio told Inquirer Entertainment last Friday. “Piolo probably didn’t even know what these people did for him.” According to Samio, writer-TV host Cristy Fermin was also seen reportedly handing out P3,000 to 12 PMPC members a few days before the PMPC was to announce the winners at the Cinema 5 of the Gateway Mall in Quezon City last March 12. Fermin had been campaigning for Piolo and Kris – praising them in her columns in the tabloids Bandera, Pilipino Star Ngayon and Bulgar, and on her radio program on dzMM. But Samio said only eight members actually voted for Piolo. “I know, because I’ve seen the summary of votes that the PMPC submitted to the show’s producer, Airtime Marketing,” she pointed out. “This means some of the members who accepted the bribe did not vote for Piolo.” PMPC chair Fernand de Guzman, Barrameda and two accountants signed the summary of votes handed to Airtime Marketing, said Samio. “You see, walang dayaaan sa PMPC,” she declared. “People tried to cheat but they did not succeed.” Asked for her reaction, Fermin said: “I do not wish to comment to anyone about the issue because what I think and feel about it are all written in my colums.”

In her “Most Wanted” column in Bulgar last Friday, Fermin referred to the controversy as “Isang bangungot para sa ilan at masamang panaginip para sa iba, hindi naman lahat ng panaginip ay maganda (a nightmare to some and a bad dream to others – not all dreams are good).” ABS-CBN’s Dylim also denied having anything to do with the alleged vote-buying. In a statement sent to Inquirer Entertainment Wednesday Dylim said: “The network accepts the fact that another actor won the Best Actor Award. We never question or protest the decision of the club.” In anotehr statement, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation said it was “saddened” by the alleged “vote-buying scam” and annouced that it “has not tolerated and will not tolerate such practice.” The statement added: “The network has always espoused the principles of professinalism and integrity and this extends to playing fair in any industry-related activity, including the PMPC’s Star Awards. “It is unfortunate that such allegation routinely surfaces after every awards ceremony regardless of parties, to the detriment of the industry.” PMPC officials and some members met last Thursday to discuss the controversy, said Samio. “It was during the meeting that we decided to expel members who would be proven guilty of accepting bribes,” added the former PMPC president. “How can the PMPC cleanse itself if it does not get rid of these people?” Incumbent president Barrameda said the PMPC “stands by the veracity of all of its winners” and “fins no errors in its tabulations.” – Marinel R. Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Mar 20, 2005 (READ MORE)

The Campaign Against Vilma

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First the news, a voting member of the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) reveals that some members of the group have reportedly approached Lorna Tolentino and Rudy Fernandez for the awards. When the controversy ove the best actress issue in tonight’s PMPC Star Awards started to rage early last month I opted to ignore it for two reasons. First, I thought it was petty, this business of comparing Vilma Santos’ acting (in Tagos ng Dugo) to Lorna Tolentino’s (in Maging Akin Ka Lamang). To begin with, how does one really measure acting? Second, the controversy was stirred by people behind the Star Awards so I figured it must have been a gimmick to drum up interest in the awards night, considering that the organizers had to sell the show. And what better way to do it than to fit two of the top contenders in the most popular and hotly contested category – best actress. Logically, those who thought up of building up Lorna’s chances at the expense of Vilma had made the right decision and got what they wanted. One only has to look at the media mileage that the constroversy had generated to realize how effective their strategy was. Had it been the other way around that is, had the Star Awards’ drumbeaters favored Vilma over Lorna – that is, would not have been as interesting. Or, it probably would not have been raised to the level of controversy that is had become. Let’s face it, Vilma is very much on top, and putting her at the forefront of the race is almost a froregone conclusion. So to stir up a hornets’ nest, so to speak, they had to put her down. And look what they’ve got: a potential hit show, thanks to Vilma. But granting that Lorna’s lobbyist in the Philippine Movie Press Club truly believed in her performance to win over Vilma’s, then there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s their right to express their own opinion as to who should win.

But the fact that they are the prime movers of the Star Awards any public declaration of their individual preferennces would only make the body’s final verdict suspect. Simply put, they should have inhibited themselves from issuing any statements that would in any way jeopardize the entire proceedings. Besided, the way they did it was not a simple statement of fact or belief; it was nothing but an open campaign to lobby for the one they have favored to win. Unfortunately, Lorna’s campaigners’ ploy has backfired; without their being aware of it, they have only placed the Star Awards in a no-win situation. If, on the one hand, Lorna wins it would only confirm the nagging suspicion that the Star Awars can be “bought.” If, on the other hand, Vilma wins the general conclusion would be: the Star Awards only wanted to prove its credibility. If it has any. Perhaps, the least that they can do is to let the two actresses win in a tie. That was the Star Awards will have finally exposed its real worth – that everything can be arranged. As I said, either way, it is no-win situation. Why I have decided to break the ice and, as they say, join the fray is because things have gone out of hand. Recently, somebody asked me about my opinion as regards the best actress issue, but I declined to give any comment. The question sounded rather rhetorical and, frankly, it was. I thought my silence would put the issue to rest, as far as I am concerned, but to my horror, it has triggered an unexpected reaction from some concerned quarters. “Mas mabuti na ngang hindi nag-comment si JC dahil talaga namang Vilmanian iyan.” The truth is, I don’t think Vilma, at this point, needs any more awards. She has proven herself many times over and if that is not yet enough to some people she can’t do anything about it. She has to accept the fact that there are those – especially in the PMPC – who simply do not believe in her.

And a Star Award won’t change it and, if I may add, add any luster to her career. However, it doesn’t mean that people have to disregard her performances. An actor does not prove her/his mettle and win awards only to be ignored later because she has already made it. Vilma continue to explore new horizons in honing her craft and this is what she has demonstrated in Maryo de los Reyes’ Tagos ng Dugo. As Gina Alajar once said, “Mahirap nang talunin ang ginawa ni Vi sa Tagos. Talagang ibang-iba siya at napakagaling.” When the Manila Standard celebrated its first anniversary last Feb. 11, the editorial staff had planned to give out best achievement awards in the different sections of the paper. In this section, among the various awards considered were those for film – the others were for recording, live entertainment, television etc. – and the consensus was to limit them to the acting category, since it has been agreed that there’s no best film. This paper’s resident reviewers were asked to submit their choices in the four contested categories (best actor, best actress, best supporting actor, best supporting actress) and all those who responded voted Vilma as best actress. Former Fine Arts instructor and longtime film critic Luciano E. Soriano singled out Vilma’s performance in Tagos ng Dugo for its credibility and sincerity. As he explained, “Vilma’s role and performance was more human, and whatever flaws of the movie, they weren’t her fault.” He did not cite Lorna’s Maging Akin Ka Lamang simply because, as he stressed, the role was “stupid and one-dimensional.” Besides, “Lorna hardly looked credible for the role even as Lino Brocka tried to control her acting failed.” Initially, Manunuri member Mike Feria chose Vilma for her subtle performance in Saan Nagtatago ang Pagibig?,” citing her for breathing life to an otherwise vapid role.

He did cite Lorna in Maging – but as he said, “Marami pa siyang kakaining bigas para mapantayan si Vilma.” However, the Manunuri’s present stand vis-a-vis this year’s awards has caused certain problems. Former tv man and stage director Henry C. Tejero was casual but at the same time sweepingly cocksure about it: “Last year was really Vilma’s year at talagang wala namang ibang pagpipilian.” Former Manunuri chairman Justino M. Dormiendo, in keeping with the film critics’ group’s decision no to give out any awards this year, abstained himself from the deliberation. But had he not abided by the Manunuri’s decision, it’s almost certain that he would not vote for Lorna whose acting in Maging… he panned in an earlier review. Wrote Dormiendo in the 19 May 1987 issue of Manila Standard: “…While we admit that Tolentino gets to show off her often concealed thespic skills here, it is, however, not sufficient to convince us of her so-called exemplary acting prowess. Tolentino is hampered by her youthful ways and costenance to pass herself off as a scheming woman suffering from a perverted obsession…” Certain circumtances, however, have prevented us from annoucing the awards in time for the anniversary celebration until we decided to shelve it for the time being. It even crossed my mind to cancel the awards together, considering that no matter that I did not participate at the individual choice of the four reviewer, the doubts that I, being their editor, have influenced their choices, one way or the other, could not be avoided. But I believe these people – and their reputation and writings can speak well enough for themselves, I don’t have to belabor the point. Actually, whether Vilma wins or not is beside the point. The thing is, people have manipulated the whole issue to the extent of discrediting what the actress had done in the film. And to top it all, the brouhaha has becouded the real issue that, sad to say, has appalled over to the more personal concerns.

Finally, the bad news, a PMPC insider says the Star Awards, like most other awards, is not for sale, but it can perhaps be negotiated. For inquiries please call former PMPC president (Ms) Nel Alehandrino of Tabloid, People’s Tonight. – JC Nigado, Manila Standard, Apr 20, 1988 (READ MORE)

Note: Lorna Tolentino won the 1987 Star Awards as well as the Film Academy of the Philippines. Vilma won the 1987 FAMAS and the CMMA. The Manunuri refused to hand out their Gawad on 1987. Vilma will not win the Star Awards despite several nominations until 1989 where she declared co-winner, together with Nora Aunor. Since then she had won several Star trophies.

PMPC STAR and Vilma Santos

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In 1985, the Philippine Movie Press Club initiated the Star Awards for Movies and Television, which is currently the Philippines’ Golden Globes’ counterpart. The very first recipient of Star best actress was Nora Aunor for Merika while Vilma’s movie Sister Stella L. received the movie of the year award. Vilma Santos was nominated for Palimos Ng Pag-ibig in 1986 but failed to win the best actress. Unfaithful Wife was judged the STAR best picture of this year. The next year, Vilma’s film, Saan nagtatago ang pag-ibig was proclaimed the movie of the year. Vilma received a best actress nomination for her FAMAS winning film, Tagos Ng Dugo. The fifth year, Vilma was nominated again, this time for Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos.

PMPC finally gave the trophy to Vilma in 1989 Star Awards. Vilma’s Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga four major awards: actress of the year for Vilma, supporting actor for Eric Quizon, director of the year for Ishmael Bernal, and Movie of the year for Regal films. Pahiram also won technical awards for cinematography, musical score, and production design. The following year, Snooky Serna won the supporting actress for Vilma’s “Hahamakin Ang Lahat.” Vilma was nominated for Hahamakin but the Star went to Nora Aunor for Andrea paano ba ang maging isang ina. Despite the lost, Vilma received a very special award from the PMPC, the “Darling of the Press” award. The next year, 1991, Nora Aunor again received the Star Award Actress of the Year for Ang totoong buhay ni Pacita M. Vilma was nominated for Ipagpatawad Mo.

In 1992, Vilma was nominated again, for Sinungaling Mong Puso that Lorna Tolentino won for Narito ang puso ko. After winning her first Star Award in 1989 and nominated three consecutive years, Vilma finally win her second Star in 1993 for Dahil mahal kita: Dolzura Cortez Story. The next year, Vilma was nominated for Nagiisang Bituin but Dawn Zulueta took home the trophy for Buhay ng buhay ko.

In 1995, Nora Aunor was the big winner again with her film, Flor Contemplacion Story. Then in 1996 was Sharon‘s grand slam year. She won the Star for Madrasta with co-star, Christopher De Leon taking the actor of the year. In 1997, Zsa Zsa Padilla defeated Nora, Vilma, Marecel and Sharon for actress of the year for Batang PX. Vilma was nominated for Hanggang Ngayon Ika’y Minamahal. Vilma was the big winner in ’98 for her film, Bata bata paano ka ginawa. She won actress of the year while co-star Serena Dalrymple won the supporting actress. Elizabeth Oropesa followed Vilma’s win the following year via Bulaklak ng Maynila. The new millennium brings another Star to Vilma as she claimed her fifth actress of the year for her film, Anak. The next year the Tuhog was the top film while Snooky Serna won the actress of the year for Habang kapiling ka.

Vilma won her sixth actress of the year from Star in 2002 for the film, Dekada ’70. She will win her seventh Star again in 2004 for Mano po III: My love in 2004. The next three years, Judy Ann Santos (Kasal, kasali, kasalo – 2006); Ai-Ai de las Alas (Ang cute ng ina mo! – 2007) and Sharon Cuneta (Caregiver – 2008) received the Star actress of the year. Vilma Santos received the lifetime achievement award in the 2008 Star Awards while Nora Aunor’s film Himala was given a special citation award. By 2010, Vilma received her 18th best actress nominations (surpasing Meryl Streep’s historical 17th OSCAR nominations) and won another STAR for her 2009 film, In My Life. – RV (READ MORE)