MANILA, Philippines - The historical/period film Heneral Luna scored four wins at the recently-concluded 39th Gawad Urian. The Artikulo Uno Productions movie gave Jerrold Tarog the Best Director and Best Editing awards (a double victory!), Pong Ignacio and Mikko Quizon the Best Cinematography and Best Sound trophies, respectively.
In spite of its dominance in the technical categories, Heneral Luna lost the Best Picture award to Brillante Mendoza’s Taklub, a gritty and affecting tale about the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.
“The people I’ve worked with know how I value collaboration when making movies. So this trophy really means that I have the best team working with me,” said direk Jerrold. “This award I actually accept in behalf of the entire team of Heneral Luna, and the actors, and of course, the producers.”
As for the acting derby, John Lloyd Cruz of Honor Thy Father and LJ Reyes of Anino sa Likod ng Buwan secured their first Best Actor and Best Actress Urian.
“Hindi po ako naniniwala sa awards. Pero naniniwala ako na there’s honor in hardwork, patience, perseverance and timing,” said John Lloyd in his acceptance speech, also thanking the Manunuri “for this exceptional honor.” Also nominated for A Second Chance, John Lloyd added that the Erik Matti film “gave me the opportunity to be enlightened by my own choices. This film taught me how to better understand (my work) as an actor. (It) taught me that it’s OK to be different. In case you find my first sentence rather puzzling, I also came here tonight as an actor to give honor and celebrate my pure love for cinema.”
John Lloyd was the Urian choice, as Manunuri Dr. Grace Javier Alfonso explained, because he was able to show the silent pessimism in his character though he had faith in God and he carried the narrative of the film. It was also worthy to note how he handled the situation when his character Edgar was fighting for his life and the life of his family.
“Nananaba po yung puso ko sa tuwa na na-recognize po ako at ang buong team ko,” said LJ while holding tightly the Urian trophy. “Hindi lang po ito para sa akin, pero para sa buong Anino sa Likod ng Buwan.” She also expressed her gratitude to direk Jun Lana for including her in the film and entrusting to her the role Emma, and also to screenwriter Perci Intalan.
According to Manunuri Javier Alfonso, “Siya (LJ) ay may asawang rebelde at may kalaguyong sundalo dito. Napaka-complex ng role.” The Kapuso actress was able to sustain the interest of moviegoers and needed to memorize all the lines for a mastery of “tuloy, tuloy na performance mula umpisa hanggang dulo, one long take.” LJ’s performance was fluid.
Another story of sweet victory was that of Bernardo Bernardo, Urian Best Supporting Actor for Imbisibol. He played a caring friend living in Japan.
The best in acting: Bernardo Bernardo, John Lloyd, LJ and Ana
“I waited for 36 years para magkaroon ng kasunod,” said Bernardo Bernardo, who snagged his first Urian (Best Actor) award for City After Dark. “It only means: Never too old, never too late, may priority lane ang mga senior.” Bernardo Bernardo acknowledged Virgin Lab Fest, where Imbisibol originated, and offered his win to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), the subject of the film.
“Inaalay ko din ito sa mga OFW,” he shared. “Ang puso ng pelikulang ito ay para sa mga mamamayan na patuloy na nagsusumikap at nagsasakripisyo upang pagandahin ang buhay ng kanilang mga kapamilya.”
From last year’s tribute to Nora Aunor’s sterling performances, this year’s Natatanging Urian went to cinematographer Romy Vitug, who started a career in photojournalism before venturing into movies. He has won six Urian and his filmography includes Kapag Langit Ang Humatol, Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit, Ikaw Pa Lamang Ang Minahal and Saan Ka Man Naroroon.
Given the number of nominations and wins by the independent movies, the Gawad Urian was a big night for indies.
Here’s the honor roll:
•Best Picture — Taklub, Centerstage Productions
•Best Director — Jerrold Tarog (Heneral Luna)
•Best Actor — John Lloyd Cruz (Honor Thy Father)
•Best Actress — LJ Reyes (Anino sa Likod ng Buwan)
•Best Supporting Actor — Bernardo Bernardo (Imbisibol)
•Best Supporting Actress — Ana Abad Santos (Apocalypse Child)
•Best Screenplay — Robby Tantingco (ARI: My Life with a King)
•Best Cinematography — Pong Ignacio (Heneral Luna)
•Best Production Design — Ben Payumo (Water Lemon)
•Best Editing — Jerrold Tarog (Heneral Luna)
•Best Music — Jake Abella (ARI: My Life with a King)
•Best Sound — Mikko Quizon (Heneral Luna)
•Best Short Film — Wawa (directed by Angeline Macalanda)
•Best Documentary — The Crescent Rising (Sheron Dayoc)
•Natatanging Gawad Urian — Romy Vitug