The highly regarded film critics group, the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pelikula Pilipino, announced its nominees for the 2016 Gawad Urian, celebrating the biggest achievements in film.
Erik Matti’s Honor Thy Father, Ralston Jover’s Da Dog Show, Brillante Mendoza’s Taklub, Jerrold Tarog’s Heneral Luna and Jun Lana’s Anino sa Likod ng Buwan all appear to be in strong contention when the critics group hands out its trophies next month. These five films all scored at least nine nominations.
The Urian trophy is regarded as the most prestigious among all the local film awards, and the most difficult to snatch. Oftentimes, the winners’ circle is also the most difficult to predict.
This year there are a lot of first-time nominees in the acting categories.
RK Bagatsing was driving to his TV shoot location when he got news that he bagged a supporting actor nod. He said he had to pull over to process the good news. “It was something that I needed to digest. I’m both ecstatic and humbled by the recognition,” he told us.
When he reached his destination, Bagatsing posted on his social-media account: “One of my fervent dreams has come true today. Thank you to the Manunuri for the nomination. It is an honor to be given this kind of attention and recognition. I will be forever grateful.”
Bagatsing, who is a younger brother of multiple Urian winner Raymond, said good news like this Urian nod is a reminder that he made the right decision in leaving the corporate world to pursue a career as an actor. RK is currently in the main cast of the popular ABS-CBN morning series Be My Lady.
Annicka Dolonius is also a first-time Urian Best Actress nominee for her stirring performance in Apocalypse Child. The half Swede-half Filipino actress, who made quite a splash recently at the Udine International Film festival in Italy, already bagged an acting award at the QCinema Festival late last year for the same film.
“To be cited alongside our most respected actresses is already a big deal for a newcomer like me. It is such a feel-good recognition that I will always cherish.”
Dolonius is also elated that her boyfriend Sid Lucero scored another best actor nod. The two fell in love while working on the movie, shot entirely in the coastal town of Baler, Quezon. This is Sid’s fifth Urian nomination, and already has two Urian Best Actor trophies.
It is interesting to note that Sid’s ex-girlfriend and previous Urian winner Alessandra da Rossi also scored a double nomination—one for lead actress in Zig Dulay’s Bambanti and the other for music score for the Lem Lorca film Water Lemon.
Anthony Falcon is overwhelmed with his inclusion in the best actor category for his restrained, spotless performance in Jun Lana’s Anino sa Likod ng Buwan. “I’m in very good good company and I am simply overjoyed.” Many feel that Falcon is this year’s darkhorse.
Sexy actress LJ Reyes is also very happy for her best actress nomination for Anino sa Likod ng Buwan. The film already gave Reyes a best actress plum at the 2015 Pacific Meridien Film Festival in Valdivostok, Russia, last September.
Veteran actress Tessie Tomas bagged her fourth nomination from the Manunuri. “I hope to bring home the Urian trophy soon, sana very soon,” she said, adding, “Iba syempre ’pag Urian, hindi ba? Seriously, it is my longtime dream to bring home the Urian trophy.” Tomas earned acting nominations in 2007 (Rome & Juliet), 2008 (100) and 2009 (Sanglaan).
Liza Diño-Seguerra was surprised to find her name in the best supporting actress category. She earned her spot by way of her heartfelt performance in Paul Su’s Toto. Liza’s hubby Aiza was so proud of his wife that he immediately posted, “Nominated ang asawa ko sa Urian! Wow, so proud!”
2014 Urian Best Supporting Actor winner Jun-Jun Quintana is also very happy to get his first Best Actor nomination from the critics’ group for his brilliant take on a young man afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome in Water Lemon. “I’m simply grateful. It really means a lot, especially if it comes from the Manunuri.”
But just like in the past, this year’s nominees’ list also elicited a lot of raised eyebrows.
Many were shocked not to find the name of Meryll Soriano in the best supporting actress category. Prior to the announcement, Soriano was believed to be a shoo-in for her bravura performance in Erik Matti’s Honor Thy Father, having earned praise from critics and reviewers alike, and having already won several awards from other organizations.
Matti, obviously disappointed with the noninclusion of Soriano, posted this on his social-media account. “If it were up to me, I’d nominate Meryll for the best supporting actress, too. If it were just up to me, though.” Many agreed with Matti and his post earned more than 200 likes right away.
Manunuri members also did not include editor Lawrence Ang, who did exceptional work for the Mario Cornejo film Apocalypse Child. Although Ang scored an editing nomination for Anino sa Likod ng Buwan, many film experts reckon that his work in Apocalypse Child was much more fluid. We think Ang should have gotten a double nomination in the editing category.
Ang was bestowed the Jury Artistic Achievement award for Apocalypse Child at the last QCinema Film Festival for “having an undeniable skill in making the film float, glide and dance on waves in a frequently overlooked aspect of filmmaking, often dismissed as technical expertise rather than as art.”
Cornejo scored a best director nomination, but Apocalypse Child was conspicuously missing from the best film nominees. Kidlat Tahimik also got a surprising best directing nod for his Balikbayan#1: Memories of Overdevelopment Redux!
For some years now, the Urian has avoided declaring cowinners in the acting categories, but we have a very strong feeling that there will be actors sharing honors this year.