Best Actress Nadine Lustre in a scene from Never Not Love You
A harvest of rich, strong films
Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - June 21, 2019 - 12:00am

The 42nd Gawad Urian

‘I think (it is) one of the better years,’ says Manunuri Grace Javier Alfonso, ‘…there are some allegedly called mainstream that we really thought (were) very good.’

MANILA, Philippines — “Varied, rich, strong films,” spoke Grace Javier Alfonso, critic-member of Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, about the Philippine cinema’s harvest for 2018 that made the elite cut of the 42nd Gawad Urian, in an interview (prior to the awards ceremony) with The STAR. “I think (it is) one of the better years,” she added. “What is good about it is that there are some allegedly called mainstream that we really thought (were) very good.”

Javier Alfonso shared that “when you look at it, it’s very deep and it has all the elements na pwede nating masabi na talagang kinilatis, and it has reached that bar of excellence.”

Erik Matti’s BuyBust was the night’s big winner. The Anne Curtis-Brandon Vera starrer scored four Urian trophies: Best Picture; Best Production Design for Michael Español and Roma Regala; Best Cinematography (Neil Bion); and Best Music (Erwin Romulo and Malek Lopez).

Meanwhile, Eddie Garcia, Nadine Lustre, Cherie Gil and Joel Lamangan reigned in the acting department.

Eddie Garcia is Best Actor for his performance in ML.

The Manunuri gave Garcia the Best Actor plum for his work in ML, directed by Benedict Mique Jr. “Makatotohanang pagganap sa kanyang karakter na sa una ay napaka-maamong lolo at ama (He realistically portrayed his character, who, at first, looked a very gentle grandfather and father),” Javier Alfonso said of the actor. “Na sa isang iglap magbabago at ilalantad ang kakilakilabot na katauhang likha ng Martial Law. (In an instant, he changed and revealed his horrible persona created by Martial Law).”

Accepting the Gawad Urian on behalf of Garcia was direk Mique Jr., who read the acceptance speech made by the veteran actor’s family. Garcia was the recipient of Urian Best Actor in 2000 for Deathrow and Natatanging Gawad Urian (Lifetime Achievement Award) in 2006. His director talked of Garcia’s unparalleled seven-decade-long career and service to the film industry as well as generosity, love for the craft and professionalism.

Lustre was Best Actress for Never Not Love You. The Manunuri, as Javier Alfonso explained, chose the actress for her deep understanding and portrayal of her character who temporarily put aside her dream and gave her time to a loved one “at mabigyan ng pagkakataon na maunawaan ang sarili at magpakatotoo sa dakong huli.” Receiving Lustre’s trophy was Viva executive Baby Gil. The actress is being managed by Viva.

Also scoring their first Urian Best Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor awards were Gil and Lamangan for Citizen Jake and School Service, respectively.

Cherie Gil, Best Supporting Actress.

“I’m so emotional because I waited, waited to hold this trophy since I began (my career),” said Gil, whose brother Mark Gil secured two Urian awards in 1982 and 2006 (as Best Supporting Actor for Palipat-Lipat, Papalit-palit and Best Actor for Rotonda) and nephew Sid Lucero also won twice in 2007 and 2010 (Best Actor for Selda and Muli). “…I’ve always dreamed (of having one) and I hope it’s not a sign that I should retire because I love what I do. Ito ang pinakaasam-asam naming artista nung araw pa.” She played the rich, heartless pimp Patti Medina in the film.

“This is my first-ever acting award,” said Lamangan, who contemplated on the status of the film industry in his speech by saying, “Kailangan po nating pag-aralan ang tunay na kalagayan ng ating industriya... Kailangan nating bigyan ng solusyon ang mga kinakaharap nito. Kailangan umupo, pagaralan at bigyan ng magandang direksyon para sa isang daang taon pa. (We need to study the real plight of the industry... we have to find solutions, we need to sit down, examine (it) and give it a better direction in the next 100 years.).” He portrayed an old gay man, who decided to kill his gold-digger lover to protect his family that made money out of kidnapping kids. Lamangan won his first Gawad Urian Best Director in 1995 for The Flor Contemplacion Story.

The Best Director award went to Denise O’Hara for Mamang. She is the niece of Mario O’Hara, Gawad Urian Best Director in 1994 for Fatima Buen Story.

“I didn’t prepare (an acceptance) speech. This was something I didn’t expect. When I was a kid, I was looking at Tito (Mario)’s trophy,” said the director, who shared her win with people who made the film possible, the supportive O’Hara family and her Tito Mario, who taught her to dream.

Recipient of the Natatanging Gawad Urian (Lifetime Achievement Award) was Gloria Sevilla, the Queen of Visayan Movies and a veteran movie actress.

Joel Lamangan, Best Supporting Actor.

Asked about the Manunuri’s cut-above-the-rest reputation, Javier Alfonso said, “We definitely have to watch all the films. That’s one. Then we cut it (the list of films) down to a short list... and how do we stay credible? Because there are no friendships, no fear of favor definitely. So we look at the work and it should be through merits that the works are the best... Ganun lahat  ang mga pelikulang makakapasok, hindi maaaring, kumbaga may grade ka na 100, kailangan maabot yun. There’s a ceiling grade, it’s a nearly perfect (grade), yun ang hinahanap.” Their goal is also to create a critical mass through films that make social commentaries.

Below is the list of honor roll:

• Best Picture — BuyBust

• Best Director — Denise O’Hara, Mamang

• Best Actress — Nadine Lustre, Never Not Love You

• Best Actor — Eddie Garcia, ML

• Best Supporting Actress — Cherie Gil, Citizen Jake

• Best Supporting Actor — Joel Lamangan, School Service

• Best Screenplay — Rody Vera, Signal Rock

• Best Cinematography — Neil Bion, BuyBust

• Best Production Design — Michael Español and Roma Regala, BuyBust

Natatanging Gawad Urian awardee Gloria Sevilla with Ivan Padilla (right) and Victor Neri (left, Best Actor nominee) — Awards night photos by FERDINAND EVANGELISTA

• Best Editing — May-i Guia Padilla, Tanabata’s Wife

• Best Sound — Jonathan Hee, Steff Dereja and Miguel Hernandez, Never Tear Us Apart

• Best Music ­— Erwin Romulo and Malek Lopez, BuyBust

• Best Documentary — Sa Palad ng Dantaong Kulang (Jewel Maranan)

• Best Short Film — Tembong (Shaira Advincula)

• Lifetime Achievement Award (Natatanging Gawad Urian) — Gloria Sevilla

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