35th Gawad Urian winners honored; Maja Salvador and Paulo Avelino win top acting honors

Maja Salvador (left) cried as she received her first Best Actress trophy for Thelma during the 35th Gawad Urian. Paulo Avelino (middle) received the Best Actor trophy for Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa while Art Acuña earned the Best Supporting Actor plum for Niño.


The 35th Gawad Urian awards ceremony was held last June 13 at the AFP Theater, Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. It was a mix of indie and mainstream--indie films may have dominated the nominations, but mainstream actors took home some of the top awards.

The 35th Gawad Urian covered all movies released in the Philippines in the past year, whether indie or mainstream. Judging them is the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, a 10-member panel composed of film scholars, critics, and industry insiders.

The Manunuri gave indie film Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa seven awards out of 12 major awards, including Best Film.

Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa was part of the 2011 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival. The movie is about Marlon (Paulo Avelino) a college student who falls in love with Karen (Jean Garcia), his literature professor. Learning that Karen also heads a dance class, Marlon enlists the help of his classmate Dennis (Rocco Nacino) to teach him how to dance. Later on, Marlon gets attracted to Dennis.

Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa beat nine other movies for the Best Film plum. Also nominated for Best Film were 2011 Cinemalaya entries Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, Busong, Bisperas, Amok, Boundary, and Niño, 2011 Cinema One Originals entries Ka Oryang and Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay, and The Natural Phenomenon of Madness.

Aside from Best Film, Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa also reaped the Best Director and Best Screenplay awards for fictionist and director Alvin Yapan, Best Music for Christine Muyco and Jema Pamintuan, and Best Cinematography for Arvin Viola.

Two actors from the indie film also took home top acting awards. Best Supporting Actress went to Jean Garcia, while Best Actor went to Paulo Avelino. Both are more popular for their work in the mainstream.

Jean Garcia was not present in the AFP Theater when her name was called, and it was young actor Alwyn Uytingco who received her award. Alwyn, the boyfriend of Jean's daughter Jennica, told the audience that the actress was in a taping.

Paulo Avelino was a little surprised when his name was called. He even blurted a swear word once he got onstage. In his speech, the Kapamilya actor thanked the movie's cast and crew, and said the award will be an inspiration to him.

Maja Salvador, another Kapamilya personality, took home the Best Actress award for her performance as a young marathon runner in the indie film Thelma. She was emotional when she received her award.

"Ganito pala ang nararamdaman. Sampung taon na ako sa industriya, ngayon lang ako nanalo ng Best Actress award," Maja told the audience while shedding tears.

Jean, Paulo, and Maja were not the only mainstream actors who vied for top acting awards. Kapuso talent Solenn Heussaff, who was in the audience for most of the program, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Regal Films's 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

Similarly, actors from another 2011 MMFF entry, Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story--Ronnie Lazaro and John Regala--were nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Kapamilya actor Jake Cuenca was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the 2011 Star Cinema romantic movie In The Name of Love.

But it was indie and theater actor Art Acuña who took home the Best Supporting Actor tropy for his work in Niño.

Aside from the awards, the 35th Gawad Urian also featured musical performances from Frenchie Dy, Eric Santos, Kalila Aguilos, Bituin Escalante, Jed Madela, and all-female group Baihana.

Also there to present and hand out the awards were Kathryn Bernardo, Khalil Ramos, Ping Medina, Alex Medina, Rica Peralejo, Nikki Valdez, Lilia Cuntapay, Ketchup Eusebio, Shamaine Buencamino, Arron Villaflor, Kean Cipriano, Alessandra de Rossi, and Yul Servo.

Hosting the awards ceremony were Venus Raj, Angel Aquino, and showbiz talk show hosts Butch Francisco and Zoren Legaspi.

The awards night of the 35th Gawad Urian will be aired on Cinema One this Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 11:00 p.m. with replays on June 17 at 4:00 p.m. and on June 24 at 10:00 p.m.


LIST OF AWARDEES. Listed below are the full list of awardees.

Best Picture - Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (directed by Alvin Yapan)

Best Actress - Maja Salvador (Thelma)
Best Actor - Paulo Avelino (Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa)
Best Director - Alvin Yapan (Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa)
Best Supporting Actress - Jean Garcia (Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa)
Best Supporting Actor - Art Acuña (Niño)
Best Screenplay - Alvin Yapan (Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa)
Best Cinematography - Arvin Viola (Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa)
Best Production Design - Maulen Fadul (The Natural Phenomenon of Madness)
Best Editing - Lawrence Fajardo (Amok)
Best Music - Christine Muyco and Jema Pamintuan (Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa)
Best Sound - Albert Michael Idioma and Addiss Tabong (Amok)
Best Documentary - Tundong Magiliw (directed by Jewel Maranan)
Best Short Film - Sirip (directed by Kim Camelo)

Natatanging Gawad Urian award - veteran cinematographer Rody Lacap, for his work in Itim, Kisapmata, Oro Plata Mata, Muro Ami, Jose Rizal, and other movies.

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