Wasn’t just between Nora and Vilma, after all
- Ricky L. Calderon (The Freeman) - June 20, 2014 - 12:00am

Indie films once again reigned supreme as the four-hour Lav Diaz film “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” bagged the Best Picture trophy at the 37th Gawad Urian held Tuesday night, June 17, at the Dolphy Theater located at the ABS-CBN compound.

The movie also won the Best Screenplay award for Diaz and Rody Vera as well as the award for Best Cinematography for Lauro Manda.

Talented theater and indie film actress Angeli Bayani was named Best Actress for her role in “Norte,” beating an elite field that included Superstar Nora Aunor (“Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti”) and Star for All Season’s Vilma Santos (“Ekstra”).

Other contenders for best actress were Cherie Gil (“Sonata”), Eugene Domingo (“Instant Mommy”), Agot Isidro (“Mga Anino ng Kahapon”), Rustica Carpio (“Ano ang Kulay ng mga Nakalimutang Pangarap”), Lorna Tolentino (“Burgos”) and Teri Malvar (“Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita”).

Angeli was at a loss for words when she went onstage to accept her first Urian trophy. She said her nomination at the Gawad Urian is important for her.

“I just want to say that the reason I am overwhelmed is because first of all, I would like to share this honor with everyone who is nominated. It was an honor to be nominated alongside such honorable actresses, such brilliant actresses. I feel like this is not happening right now,” she said in her speech.

“And I am feeling that I need to hide because…the Noranians and Vilmanians, we hope we are okay? I am also a fan,” Angeli jokingly said in Tagalog.

Newbie director Hannah Espia also pulled a surprise by winning the Best Director award for her work in “Transit,” an entry in the 2013 Cinemalaya indie film festival. She is the only third female director in the history of Gawad Urian to win the Best Director trophy, following in the footsteps of Laurice Guillen who earned three and the late Marilou Diaz Abaya who won two.

Joel Torre nabbed his second Urian Best Actor trophy for Erik Matti’s “On The Job” where he played a convict-turned-assassin. He previously won for “Batang West Side” in 2001. The actor dedicated his award to his director, as well as to his wife, whom he said understands that his career is his “mistress.”

“Before, when I used to get an award, I’d say I am very proud. Now I am very humbled. It is a very, very humbling experience,” Joel said.

Joel was also a recipient of an Urian award for best supporting actor for the movie “Bayaning Third World” in 1999.

First time winners in the Urian were Angel Aquino, who received the Best Supporting Actress trophy for her role in “Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita” and Jun-Jun Quintana who was named Best Supporting Actor for his work in “A Philippino Story.”

Angel’s award was first to be given out that night. She was also nominated for “Porno” and she said it felt surreal that she was competing against herself. “I’d like to thank my directors for trusting me with roles that I never thought I could do,” said the actress who also won the same accolade from Gawad Tanglaw and Star Awards for Movies early this year.

Jun-Jun Quintana, who is only on his fourth year in his acting career, expressed hope that his winning will inspire young actors and newbie directors to do even better in their craft.

In his acceptance speech, Jun-Jun said, “Gusto ko rin ibahagi ang parangal na ito, sa mga baguhang direktor at aktor na patuloy na pinagbubuti ang kanilang mga gawain, hindi lamang para makilala o mabigyan ng parangal, kung hindi higit na makapagbigay ng marami pang inspirasyon at makapagbukas ng kaisipan. Maraming salamat po sa mga manunuri at sa lahat ng bumubuo ng Gawad Urian. Mabuhay po kayo. Mabuhay ang pelikulang Pilipino!”

“I also hope that winning the Gawad Urian will open doors for me to get more projects and acting assignments,” he added.

This year’s Urian paid special tribute to the late director Gerardo “Gerry” de Leon who is celebrating his centennial year and was graced with the rare appearance of Amalia Fuentes.

The 37th Gawad Urian was presented by the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, Cinema One, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines and was shown live over Cinema One (Skycable Channel 56) at 8 p.m. It was hosted by Piolo Pascual, Bianca Gonzales, Ai Ai delas Alas and Manunuri member Butch Francisco. Replay telecasts of the 37th Gawad Urian will air on June 21 and June 26 at 7 p.m., and on June 29 at 2 p.m. on Cinema One.

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