A couple days back, the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino has announced their nominees for best local films of 2011, with almost all nominations going to independent features. Which nods surprised me and which films do I think were intriguingly snubbed? Which do I believe are the leading contenders in each category and which do I predict to eventually emerge triumphant come June 14?
Nominees: Amok, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, Bisperas, Boundary, Busong, Ka Oryang, Niño, Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay, The Natural Phenomenon of Madness
Surprises: After getting the top Cinemalaya prize in July, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank has been collecting Best Film trophies from a couple of awards-giving bodies (Golden Screen and Gawad Tanglaw), but I thought the Manunuri would at most nominate it only for Best Actress and a few more technical categories but would consider the material too lightweight for a Best Film nod. They obviously appreciated the movie’s tongue-in-cheek parody of poverty porn, showering the film with 9 nominations.
The Madness recognition was also surprising. I thought the film was nicely photographed and was well-acted but ultimately felt too insular and alienating. Obviously, the Manunuri saw something in the film that I didn’t.
I was also a little surprised, albeit delightfully, about the love for Amok. The film leads the field with 11 nominations. I loved the film myself, although I have a feeling it won’t get the top prize because as much as it is technically polished, it lacks gravitas compared to some of the nominees.
Another delightful surprise is Boundary, Benito Bautista’s noir thriller in the vein of Collateral. It is one of my runners-up for Best Films of 2011 and I’m glad that it is recognized here.
Snubs: The most notable omissions are two films by previous Urian winners: Mes de Guzman’s Sa Kanto ng Ulap at Lupa and Lav Diaz’s Siglo ng Pagluluwal. Urian chair Rolando Tolentino was vocal in his support for Kanto, but apparently was outvoted by the group.
I’m not really sure why Siglo was shut out in all categories. My hunch is the members could not find a common time to have a group screening of the six-hour film, and were too busy to view it individually. For me, that’s the most plausible explanation for the snub because the group has been a champion for Lav Diaz’s films since his Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion, and Siglo is one of his better works.
Other films snubbed are the entrancing Lawas Kan Pinabli and Young Critics Circle favorites Haruo, Bahay Bata, and Señorita. Historically though, YCC and Urian have rarely agreed on their choices. Throughout YCC’s 22-year history, there have only been five Best Film winners that also won Best Picture in Urian: Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal (1992), Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? (1998), Bayaning Third World (1999/2000), Dekada ’70 (2002), and Babae sa Breakwater (2003).
Leading contenders: Amok (11 noms), Ka Oryang (9 noms), Niño (9 noms)
Bet to win: Ka Oryang struck a nerve with the mostly progressive Manunuri and will bag the top prize.
Nominees: Loy Arcenas (Niño), Benito Bautista (Boundary), Sari Lluch Dalena (Ka Oryang), Lawrence Fajardo (Amok), Antoinette Jadaone (Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay), Jeffrey Jeturian (Bisperas), Marlon Rivera (Ang Babae sa Septic Tank), Auraeus Solito (Busong), Alvin Yapan (Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa)
Surprises: As I said, I loved Boundary (even if I admit that there were some directorial lapses towards the end of the film) so I was happy that Benito Bautista is recognized here.
Snubs: The most obvious are Mes de Guzman (Sa Kanto ng Ulap at Lupa) and Lav Diaz (Siglo ng Pagluluwal), both of whom have previously won in this category. Of the Best Picture nominees, only Charliebebs Gohetia was not nominated for Best Director. That only means that Madness has the least chances of garnering the top prize.
Leading contenders: Loy Arcenas, Sari Lluch Dalena, Lawrence Fajardo
Bet to win: Lawrence Fajardo’s deft handling of this multi-narrative actioner will be rewarded with a Best Director Urian.
Nominees: Amok (John Bedia), Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (Chris Martinez), Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (Alvin Yapan), Bisperas (Paul Sta. Ana), Deadline (Bonifacio P. Ilagan), Ka Oryang (Sari Lluch Dalena and Keith Sicat), Niño (Rody Vera), Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay (Antoinette Jadaone), The Natural Phenomenon of Madness (Charliebebs Gohetia)
Surprises: Deadline, The Natural Phenomenon of Madness
Snubs: Siglo ng Pagluluwal, Sa Kanto ng Ulap at Lupa, Señorita
Leading contenders: Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, Niño
Bet to win: Niño contains the years most delicious lines (“Modern naman tayo, di ba?”, “Paabot nga ng patis.”, among others) and it will get the Best Screenplay trophy.
Nominees: Paulo Avelino (Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa), Raymond Bagatsing (Boundary), Bong Cabrera (Sa Ilalim ng Tulay), Kean Cipriano (Ang Babae sa Septic Tank), Tirso Cruz III (Bisperas), JM de Guzman (Ang Babae sa Septic Tank), Martin Escudero (Zombadings), Ronnie Lazaro (Boundary), Jess Mendoza (The Natural Phenomenon of Madness), TJ Trinidad (Deadline), Alfred Vargas (Teoriya)
Surprises: Septic Tank guys, TJ Trinidad
Snubs: Edgar Allan Guzman (Ligo na U, Lapit na Me), Rocco Nacino (Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa), Vincent Sandoval (Señorita), Sid Lucero (Paglipad ng Anghel)
Leading contenders: Raymond Bagatsing, Ronnie Lazaro, Tirso Cruz III
Bet to win: Urian favorite Raymond Bagatsing will bag his third Best Actor trophy for his terrific portrayal of a victim turned villain in Boundary.
Nominees: Lilia Cuntapay (Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay), Fides Cuyugan (Niño), Alessandra de Rossi (Ka Oryang), Eugene Domingo (Ang Babae sa Septic Tank), Ma. Isabel Lopez (Cuchera), Cherry Pie Picache (Isda), Maja Salvador (Thelma), Opaline Santos (The Natural Phenomenon of Madness), Raquel Villavicencio (Bisperas), Diana Zubiri (Bahay Bata)
Snubs: Shamaine Buencamino (Maskara), Maricar Reyes (Anatomiya ng Korupsiyon), Glaiza de Castro (I-Libings), Sarah Geronimo (Won’t Last a Day without You), Angel Locsin (In the Name of Love), KC Concepcion (Forever and a Day)
Leading contenders: Fides Cuyugan, Raquel Villavicencio, Eugene Domingo
Bet to win: Eugene Domingo’s performance will be too hard to resist and she will finally get her first Urian.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Art Acuña (Niño), Marvin Agustin (Patikul), Joem Bascon (Ka Oryang), Jake Cuenca (In The Name of Love), Dido dela Paz (Amok), Mark Gil (Amok), Ronnie Lazaro (Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story), Garry Lim (Amok), Jojit Lorenzo (Anatomiya ng Korupsyon), John Regala (Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story), Bembol Roco (Isda)
Surprises: Marvin Agustin, Jake Cuenca
Snubs: Joel Torre and Soliman Cruz (Siglo ng Pagluluwal), Earl Ignacio (I-Libings), JM de Guzman (Pintakasi)
Leading contenders: Dido dela Paz, Art Acuña, John Regala
Bet to win: Dido dela Paz is at turns funny, scary, and most importantly, believable, as an ex-cop who runs amok. The Manunuri has a history of not thinking twice in rewarding lesser known character actors in the supporting acting categories, so there’s no reason why they won’t hesitate giving him the award.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Angeli Bayani (Ka Oryang), Shamaine Buencamino (Niño), Julia Clarete (Bisperas), Jean Garcia (Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa), Solenn Heussaff (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow)
Surprises: Angeli Bayani (I didn’t think she was a standout in Ka Oryang, but I guess the Manunuri decided to reward her boldness in shedding everything for the brutal torture scenes), Solenn Heusaff (She’s always been a natural in the roles she has portrayed so far, but YTT was such a giant mess of a movie for me that I could not bring myself to remember a morsel of gem in a big pile of dreck.)
Snubs: Lovi Poe (Temptation Island), Geraldine Villamil (Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay), Raquel Villavicencio (Niño), Ina Feleo (Maskara), Mercedes Cabral (Ligo na U, Lapit na Me)
Leading contenders: Shamaine Buencamino, Jean Garcia
Bet to win: Jean Garcia is grace personified in Sayaw, but Shamaine Buencamino’s performance as the silently suffering daughter in Niño is exceptional, and she will earn her first Urian.
Nominees: Amok (Lawrence Fajardo), Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (Ike Veneracion), Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (Mai Dionisio), Busong (Chuck Gutierrez), Ka Oryang (Keith Sicat), Niño (Danny Añonuevo), Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay (Leo Valencia and Glenn Ituriaga)
Snubs: Bisperas, In the Name of Love, Won’t Last a Day without You, Señorita
Top contenders: Amok, Ka Oryang, Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay
Bet to win: Amok
Nominees: Amok (Louie Quirino), Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (Arvin Viola), Bisperas (Roberto Yniquez), Busong (Louie Quirino), Ka Oryang (Neil Daza and Kiri Dalena), Liberacion (Albert Banzon), Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story (Carlo Mendoza), Sakay sa Hangin (Regiben Romana)
Surprises: Liberacion (I thought Banzon’s work in Haruo was better), Bisperas
Snubs: Lawas Kan Pinabli, The Road, Sa Kanto ng Ulap at Lupa, Teoriya, Haruo, Thelma, Siglo ng Pagluluwal, Big Boy, The Natural Phenomenon of Madness, Bahay Bata, Di Ingon Nato
Top contenders: Busong, Ka Oryang, Manila Kingpin
Bet to win: Ka Oryang
Best Production Design
Nominees: Amok (Lawrence Fajardo), Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (Reji Regalado), Bisperas (Rodrigo Ricio), Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story (Fritz Silorio), Niño (Laida Lim), Sakay sa Hangin (Regiben Romana), Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay (Rodrigo Ricio), The Natural Phenomenon of Madness (Maulen Fadul)
Surprises: Madness, Sakay sa Hangin, Six Degrees
Snubs: Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, Anatomiya ng Korupsiyon, Parola, Ang Panday 2, Enteng ng Ina Mo, Pintakasi, Aswang, Zombadings, Big Boy, My Paranormal Romance, Haruo
Top contenders: Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, Manila Kingpin, Niño
Bet to win: Manila Kingpin
Nominees: Amok (Von de Guzman), Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (Christine Muyco and Jema Pamintuan), Busong (Diwa de Leon), Ka Oryang (Teresa Barrozo), Niño (Jerrold Tarog), Sakay sa Hangin (Waway Linsahay Saway)
Snubs: Boundary, Zombadings, Señorita, Aswang, Pahinga, Rakenrol, Bahay Bata
Top contenders: Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, Busong, Sakay sa Hangin
Bet to win: Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa
Nominees: Amok (Albert Michael Idioma and Addiss Tabong), Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (Albert Michael Idioma and Addiss Tabong), Bisperas (Albert Michael Idioma and Alex Tomboc), Boundary (Raffy Magsaysay), Liberacion (Aguila, Junel Valencia and Mark Locsin), Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story (Albert Michael Idioma)
Surprises: Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, Bisperas, Liberacion
Snubs: Rain, Rain, Go Away; Aswang; The Road; Buenas Noches, España; Parola; Ang Panday 2; Busong; Segunda Mano; Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa
Top contenders: Amok, Boundary, Manila Kingpin
Bet to win: Amok