My predictions were out of whack, only getting 3 of the 12 categories correct (5 of 14 if we include the short film and documentary categories), but I can’t say I’m disappointed with the results. I loved Sayaw myself but I had no inkling that most of the Manunuri would fall in love with it, too. I should have seen it coming. It’s such a teacher-friendly film and all the Manunuri members (except for Butch Francisco) are teachers. That’s why the Gawad Pasado members made it their best film, and YCC shortlisted and nominated it in several categories.
As usual, there’s always a couple of surprises, and this year, it came in the form of the best lead performers, Maja Salvador (for Thelma) and Paulo Avelino (for Sayaw). Salvador was the lone nominee from Thelma, which received fairly good reviews when it came out (with most reviewers noticing its crisp photography) but did not do well at the box office. But it’s such a character-driven film that required a lot of physical and mental preparation on Salvador’s part.
The buzz about Avelino’s win is not so much on whether he is good in the film or not (he is) but on the fact that he is singled out and Rocco Nacino (who some argue is as good, if not better) is mysteriously left out. Oh, if only we can get hold of the minutes of the Urian deliberations, it would be a good tool for film literacy.
My take on the two actors’ win is this: as with Rafael Rosell’s Best Supporting Actor win in Rome and Juliet, this is Urian sending a message to good-looking mainstream actors to be bolder and more discerning in choosing roles to play. If you train hard and push yourself to your physical limits and run barefoot in the rice paddies of Ilocos (like Salvador did) and play a sexually ambiguous person in a literary film even if your marketability is hinged on your matinee idol looks (like Avelino did), you will be rewarded.