Garnering nine trophies from the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC), the period film Baler took home the lion's share of the honors given out last night, May 28, during the silver anniversary of the Star Awards for Movies.
In this battle for recognition, the love story set during the Philippine-Spanish war received major awards such as Movie of the Year, Movie Director of the Year (for Mark Meily), and Movie Actor of the Year (for Jericho Rosales).
Echo, who arrived at around 11:30 p.m. last night, was just in time to receive his acting award for playing the role of a soldier in love with Feliza (played by Anne Curtis).
"I don't know what to say... Jaded na ako," said Echo during his acceptance speech. "Medyo sa isip ko, malabo. Natatakot na ako pumunta sa awards night... Last year sa MMFF [Metro Manila Film Festival], lahat ng tao sa Baler nanalo except me. Umiyak talaga ako nun."
This time, the actor will be shedding tears of joy for his triumph.
Sharon Cuneta was hailed as the Movie Actress of the Year for her performance in Caregiver, but she was unable to attend the awarding ceremony held at the Henry Lee Irwin theater of the Ateneo de Manila University.
Two stars tied for the Movie Supporting Actor of the Year category: Emilio Garcia for Walang Kawala and German Moreno for Paupahan.
This is the second year in a row that Emilio has been named Movie Supporting Actor of the Year by the PMPC. Last year, he was recognized for his supporting role in Selda.
Master Showman German Moreno was very grateful to be given an acting award after a long time. "Twenty-five years na ang PMPC at mahigit 25 years na ko nasa industriya. Salamat kay Allen Dizon, sa producer ng Paupahan.
"Kinakabahan nga sila kung tatanggapin ko yung role kasi gay-themed siya. Ngayon ko napatunayan na ang mga artista gumagawa ng pelikula hindi dahil sa pera kung hindi dahil sa puso. Salamat sa PMPC at pinapahalagahan n'yo pa rin ang isang Kuya Germs," says the Master Showman.
Kuya Germs's co-star Snooky Serna bagged the award for Movie Supporting Actress of the Year.
For the digital film category, the big winner was the Cinema One Originals entry Yanggaw, with its four trophies: Digital Movie of the Year, Digital Movie Director of the Year (for Richard Somes), Digital Movie Production Designer of the Year, and Digital Movie Cinematographer of the Year.
SPECIAL AWARDS. One of the most highly-anticipated segments was the Ulirang Artista Award conferred to Batangas Governor Vilma Santos. In the middle of the program, the Star for all Seasons entered the venue, causing a flurry of excitement among the fans.
After a few minutes, her co-star John Lloyd Cruz arrived and sat down with the actress-politician. JLC introduced Ms. Vilma as a person who crossed over from the world of entertainment to the world of politics and is much admired in both realms.
When Ate Vi went up the stage to accept her award, she emphasized her love for acting even though she already holds public office.
"Eleven years na akong public servant. May purpose talaga ang Panginoon...I'm just doing my best and God will take care of the rest. Utang na loob ko sa industriya kung nasan ako ngayon. At nananalaytay pa rin sa dugo ko ang pag-aartista!"
Later on, a special award was also given to the people involved in Himala, the Filipino film that won in the CNN poll for Best Asian Film of All Time. Ricky Lee, scriptwriter of Himala, admitted onstage, "Masarap tumanggap ng karangalan para sa pelikulang sinulat mo 26 years ago."
German Moreno also went up the stage to accept the award in behalf of Nora Aunor. "Lahat ng tao nagkakamali pero ganun pa man, hindi maikakaila na ang nag-iisang Superstar ay malaki ang naging contribution sa pelikulang Pilipino," he declared.
Nora Aunor's big crowd of fans cheered as they agreed with Kuya Germs. They started chanting "Nora! Nora! Nora!" while the Vilmanians shouted "Vilma! Vilma! Vilma!"
Hosting the event were Ai-Ai delas Alas, Maricel Soriano, and Cesar Montano. Some of the presenters that night were Richard Gomez (who announced Sharon Cuneta as the Movie Star of the Year), Helen Gamboa, Yul Servo, and Baron Geisler, among others.
Special guests who performed at the Ateneo were Toni Gonzaga, Ronnie Liang, and Jay-R Siaboc, as well as Christopher de Leon who sang "Sinasamba Kita" for his perennial leading lady Vilma Santos. Sarah Geronimo, who was wearing a light purple gown by Rhett Eala, gave her passionate rendition of "Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan."
Here are the other winners of the 25th edition of the Star Awards for Movies:
Movie Child Performer of the Year: Julian Duque of Boses
New Movie Actress of the Year: KC Concepcion of For the First Time
New Movie Actor of the Year: Sherwin Ordonez of Kurap
Movie Editor of the Year: Danny Anonuevo of Baler
Digital Movie Editor of the Year: Francis Xavier Pasion, Kats Serraon, and Chuck Gutierrez of Jay
Movie Original Screenplay of the Year: Roy Iglesias of Baler
Digital Movie Original Screenplay of the Year: Dennis Evangelista of Paupahan
Movie Cinematographer of the Year: Lee Meily of Baler
Movie Musical Scorer of the Year: Jessie Lasaten of Ploning
Digital Movie Musical Scorer of the Year: Jourdann Petalver of Boses
Movie Sound Engineer of the Year: Ditoy Aguila of Baler
Digital Movie Sound Engineer of the Year: Jethro Joaquin and Ronald de Asis of Concerto
Movie Original Theme Song of the Year: "Ngayon, Bukas at Kailanman" from Baler
Digital Movie Theme Song of the Year: "Sangandaan" from Paupahan
Newsmaker of the Year: Manny Pacquiao
Darling of the Press: Herbert Bautista
Award for Cinematic Excellence in Filipino Animation: Dayo (Cutting Edge Productions) & Urduja (APT Entertainment)
Male Star of the Night: John Lloyd Cruz
Female Star of the Night: Sarah Geronimo