Here’s a rundown of the contenders and their current place in the race.
Eddie Garcia, Bwakaw
Esteemed actor/director Garcia gets the role of his life in Jun Lana’s endearing film about Rene, a solitary gay man who came out of the closet at 70 but finds he has nothing much to live for, until he falls in love. The role is really an awards bait but Garcia plays it with both understated grace and needed gravitas that it’s hard to think of any other actor that can pull off the role as well as he did. Potential wins from FAMAS, FAP, PMPC, Manunuri, and EnPress. Likely YCC nominee.
Rosales has always been a competent actor but he has not been given a role this juicy: a widowed father who loses his son to a human trafficking syndicate. He is magnetic here and he has such a believable rapport with Bugoy Cariño who plays his son. Possible nods from all awards bodies.
Alfred Vargas, Supremo
Vargas has played Bonifacio in Mario O’Hara’s Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio (2010) and while he was earnest and sympathetic in that film, the film’s limited milieu did not allow him to showcase a fuller range of emotions the way he does in Supremo. Here he is larger than life, imbuing the hero with equal parts bombast and finesse. He is in almost every scene of the film so the audience gets emotionally invested in him. When that inevitable execution scene comes, you will wish to change history and let him escape his captors because it’s just so heartbreaking to see him die. Possible noms from all award-giving bodies.
King has been known in the indie film circle as Coco Martin-lite: he’s Martin’s equal in terms of naturalistic acting, but, even if he entered the industry a little earlier than Martin (appearing in Mario O’Hara’s Babae sa Breakwater) he’s the less known of (and demands less pay than) the two. Oros should make him a star. In the film, he doesn’t play Makoy, an earnest saklaan (illegal gambling) operator, he IS Makoy. His magnetic screen presence and non-matinee idol good looks should serve him well in future projects. Potential nominations from all award groups except maybe FAMAS and FAP, which tend to nominate more established names.
Martin is arguably the most popular actor in the country today, and it’s hard to believe that just eight years ago, he was practically unheard of. But talent will out. After his lead performance debut in Brillante Mendoza’s Masahista (2005), he was cast in several award-winning indie films (e.g., Foster Child, Tirador, Jay) before ABS-CBN cast him as lead in the teleserye Tayong Dalawa and made him a star. In Santa Niña, he plays Pol, a father who accidentally unearths the remains of his 2-year old daughter from a lahar quarry, bringing back painful memories but also offering him a chance of redemption. Martin effectively conveys steely determination without resorting to the usual show of masculine physicality. He lets his eyes tell his story instead. His talent plus popularity will snag him nominations from most, if not all, awards bodies.
On the Bubble:
- Anthony Falcon, Requieme!
- E.R. Ejercito, El Presidente
- John Lloyd Cruz, Unofficially Yours
- JM de Guzman, Intoy Syokoy ng Kalye Marino
- Sam Concepcion, I Do Bidoo Bidoo
- Dennis Trillo, Ang Katiwala
- Arnold Reyes, Graceland
- Alex Vincent Medina, Palitan
- Archie Alemania, Slumber Party
- Yul Servo, Pusang Gala
- Kristoffer King, Ad Ignorantiam
- Pen Medina, Kamera Obskura
- Bembol Roco, Thy Womb
- Dominic Roco, Ang Nawawala
- Allan Paule, Gayak
- Dingdong Dantes, Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles
- Mon Confiado, Palitan
- Sef Cadayona, Gayak