As if the annually increasing number of nominees per category is not enough signal that the Manunuri likes to reward as many indie films as they can, the country’s premier film critics group evenly spread its trophies in last night’s awarding ceremony, with 13 different films winning in 14 categories (with only Thy Womb winning more than one)!
This is unprecedented in Urian history and it shows that the nine critics who voted this year (tenth member Lito Zulueta is on leave) fell in love with a lot more films than they normally do each year. Last night’s ceremony sure felt like a filmfest awards show, where awards are normally distributed to different films. Nominations and awards are confidence-boosters, and, as I’ve said in my predictions post, this is the reason why the Gawad Urian is the most popular film awards-giving body in the country among discerning filmmakers today: aside from the spotless credentials of its members, it is very generous in recognizing talent. (Certainly more generous than that other, more snobbish, academe-based critics group which tends to have very few nominees per year.)
I correctly predicted a mere 6 of the 14 categories (actress, supporting actress, production design, music, documentary, and short film), but it’s a slight improvement from my last year’s 5. I’m pleased to note, though, that three of my “should wins” actually prevailed (director, supporting actor, and screenplay).
No win was very surprising for me. Even if I did not see the wins of Florentina Hubaldo for sound and Kalayaan for editing coming, I can understand why they won. And I’m happy that Colossal won for cinematography. It’s my favorite film of all the nominated films and I’m glad director and cinematographer Whammy Alcazaren was recognized in some way for his bold first feature.
I say most of those who were surprised by Jericho Rosales’ win have not seen Alagwa. The guy was terrific in it. Whether he was better than Eddie Garcia is always a subjective thing, and Garcia already winning previously in 2000 for Deathrow may have hurt his chances of repeating. Rosales has been previously nominated twice and lost for best supporting actor (for Tanging Yaman and Noon at Ngayon). And as I’ve said last year, young mainstream actors who choose roles based on the thespic challenge posed rather than the size of the paycheck will find themselves rewarded.