GAWAD URIAN AWARDS, A NIGHT TO REMEMBERManila, May 20, 2003 -- For the first time in the history of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino's Gawad Urian Awards and probably in any national award giving ceremony, for that matter a tie was announced in the Best Film category. Star Cinema's Dekada '70 and Gil Portes and Ray Cuerdo's Munting Tinig were declared as the best of the 2002 produced films. The Urian is known as the award-giving body that has most often declared ties. Allow me to explain why. A certain standard of excellence in every category has been set by the critics. In the case of the best film, it has to be one that is technically proficient in all aspects such as sound, music, production design, editing and cinematography. Beyond technical excellence and artistic sense in storytelling, it must always have a theme that is not pretentious. The film should successfully capture that "truth" grounded on the Filipino experience. Based on these, it is, thus, possible to have more than two films hitting the grade. Declaring ties, therefore, is only tantamount to saying that there may be more than one film which deserved to be called excellent. It certainly happened this year for Dekada '70 and Mga Munting Tinig. Both hit that mark of excellence. Congratulations to all those who contributed to the creation of these two momentous films. The Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino has always dedicated itself to selecting and recognizing the best films. When the group was created in May 1, 1976, it declared itself as an alliance of consumer activists who write articles, not for PR, but as independent reviews that give citations and awards. The present group has never deviated from the same objectives and values as that of the first group. Three members who were part of the original one are still with the present crop of critics. They aim to continue awarding the best works and performances; encouraging continuous dialogue on film; and exploring and redefining the responsibilities of the industry practitioners and filmmakers to the public. The Gawad Urian recently held at the AFP theater started with a production number featuring Regine Velasquez, who was draped with filmstrips. She changed into two elegant gowns during the opening salvo. The other artists who participated in the production were Janno Gibbs, Anna Fegi, JR, Jose Illana, Arni Hidalgo, Rufa Mae Quinto, Marissa Sanchez with the Sex Bomb dancers, and video assists by Michael V and Ogie Alcasid. Capping the evening was a musical number by Aiza Seguerra, 1728, 604 and Ciara Sotto. The presentors were Richard Gomez, Lucy Torres, Assunta de Rossi, Cherrie Gil, Rudy Fernanadez, Dingdong Dantes, Tanya Garcia, Jeffrey Quizon, Giselle Tongi, Judy Ann Santos, Maricel Soriano, Danica Sotto, James Blanco, Angelu de Leon, Vhong Navarro and Butch Francisco. Memorable "thank you" speeches started with Ricky Lee's, who praised film artists and producers with whom he has worked. He also expressed his appreciation to the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino for finally recognizing and presenting a Natatanging Gawad Urian to a scriptwriter. Piolo Pascual was in tears and had a litany of names to thank as he completed his grand slam for the Best Supporting Actor category with his Urian award. Elizabeth Oropesa earned a good round of applause as she thanked her "Honey" when she received her Best Supporting Actress award. Jay Manalo seemed rather touched by the Best Actor Award and thanked all his children quite a number, which did not escape the audience's interest. Gil Portes was in high spirits when he finally bagged the Best Director award, after numerous nominations from the Manu. Vilma, who won the Best Actress Award, thanked the special people in her life, including host, Edu Manzano, who was miming on the side, hoping Vilma would include him in her speech. He certainly got the crowd in the theater roaring with his antics when he embraced Piolo and declared that he was a long lost son. Here is a rundown of the best of last year's films. The nominees for best sound were: Noel Buencamino and Ari Trofeo for Mga Munting Tinig, Nestor Mutia for Diskarte, Albert Idioma and Alex Tomboc for Dekada '70, and Dan Ferat for American Adobo. Audio Media won the Pinakamahusay na Tunog Award. The nominees for best music were: Tony Cortes for Diskarte, Joy Marfil for Mga Munting Tinig, Jesse Lasaten for Kailangan Kita, Archie Castillo for Laman and Jesse Lucas for Jologs. Tony Cortes won the Pinakamahusay sa Musika award for Diskarte. Nominees for best production design were: Arthur Nicdao for Mga Munting Tinig, Manny Morfe for Dekada '70, Noel Naval for Kailangan Kita, Judy Lou de Pio for Laman and Jake de Asis for Paraisong Parisukat. Arthur Nicdao won the Pinakamahusay na Disenyong Pamproduksyon for Mga Munting Tinig. The nominees for best editing were: George Jarlego for Mga Munting Tinig, Tala Ellenbergher for Mano Po, Renewin Alano for Laman, Francis Vinarao for Diskate and Vito Cajili for Jologs. The Pinakamahusay na Editing went to Francis Vinarao for Diskarte. The nominees for best cinematography were: Eli Cruz for Mga Munting Tinig, Leslie Garchitorena for Mano Po, Shayne Clemente for Kailangan Kita, Richard Padernal for Agimat, Larry Manda for Utang ni Tatang, and Jorj Anthony Tadena for Prosti. Shayne Clemente went home with the Pinakamahusay na Sinematograpiya award for Kailangan Kita. The nominees for best screenplay were: Ned Trespeces for Jologs, Adolf Alix, Sennedy Que and Gil Portes for Mga Munting Tinig, Roy Iglesias for Mano Po, Lualhati Bautista for Dekada '70, Wali Ching for Laman and Roy Iglesias for Prosti. The winner for Pinakamahusay na Dulang Pampalekila was Lualhati Bautista for Dekada '70. The nominees for best direction were: Gil Portes for Mga Munting Tinig, Joel Lamangan for Mano Po, Chito Rono for Dekada 70, Rory Quintos for Kailangan Kita, Maryo de los Reyes for Laman and Laurice Guillen for American Adobo. Gil Portes for won the Pinakamahusay na Direksyon for Mga Munting Tinig. The nominees for best supporting actor were: Jay Manalo for Mano Po, Piolo Pascual for Dekada '70, Tirso Cruz for Mano Po, Johnny Delgado for Kailangan Kita and Jeffrey Quizon for Utang ni Tatang. Piolo Pascual won the Pinakamahusay na Pangalawang Aktor for Dekada 70. The nominees for best supporting actress were: Irma Adlawan for Mga Munting Tinig, Elizabeth Oropesa for Laman, Madeline Nicolas for Paraisong Parisukat, Dexter Doria in Mga Munting Tinig, Amy Austria for Mano Po, Judy Ann Santos for Magkapatid, Rachel Villavicencio for Prosti and Kris Aquino for Mano Po. Elizabeth Oropesa won the Pinakamahusay na Pagganap Bilang Pangalawang Aktres for Laman. The nominees for best actor were: Ricky Davao for American Adobo, Yul Servo for Laman, Aga Mulach for Kailangan Kita, Jay Manalo for Prosti, Vhong Navarro for Jologs, Albert Martinez for Laman, Christopher de Leon for Dekada '70, and Rudy Fernandez for Diskarte. The Pinakamahusay na Pagganap Bilang Pangunahing Aktor went to Jay Manalo for Prosti. The nominees for best actress were: Vilma Santos for Dekada 70, Dina Bonnevie for American Adobo, Ara Mina for Mano Po, Cherie Pie Picache for American Adobo, Alessandra de Rossi for Mga Munting Tinig and Claudine Baretto for Kailangan Kita. Vilma Santos won the Pinakamahusay na Pagganap Bilang Pangunahing Aktres for Dekada '70. The nominees for best film were: Mano Po, Dekada 70, Mga Munting Tinig and Laman. Dekada '70 and Mga Munting Tinig shared the award and, as the Manunuris would say, "it's a tie." The Pinakamahusay na Maikling Pelikula award went to Binyag by Miriami Tanangco, a University of the Philippines film graduate. The special award, Natatanging Gawad Urian, was presented to Ricky Lee for his numerous outstanding screenplays. A special reading was performed by Gina Alajar and Dina Bonnevie. Vilma Santos read the citation for the Ricky Lee's recognition. The Gawad Urian Night was not too overwhelming, but friendly and exciting. It was not glittering, but it was colorful. It was not ostentatious, but it was substantial. It was not huge, but it was meaningful. Also contributing significantly to the successful presentation this year was the masterful and witty hosting by Edu Manzano.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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