Despite being officially nominated for Best Actress at the 6th Asian Film Awards, Eugene Domingo’s name was not mentioned when the nominees for the category was announced on Monday, March 19, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.
The Filipino actress was nominated for her performance in The Woman in the Septic Tank (Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank).
The award went to Hong Kong actress Deanie Ip for A Simple Life.
The other nominees were Michelle Chen of You Are the Apple of My Eye (Taiwan), Vidya Balan of The Dirty Picture (India), and Leila Hatami of Nader and Simin, A Separation (Iran).
Nonetheless, Eugene did not go home empty-handed as she picked up the trophy as People’s Choice for Favorite Actress
Also bagging a trophy for the Philippines is thespian Shamaine Buencamino, who won the Best Supporting Actress award for Niño.
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Eugene and Shamaine, both theater and film actresses, also won Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, in the New Breed category of the 7th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival last year.
EUGENE’S SPEECH. When the winner of the People’s Choice for Favorite Actress was finally announced, Eugene’s acceptance speech elicited boisterous laughter from the audience, which includes some of the biggest names in Asian cinema.
Standing next to People’s Choice for Favorite Actor Andy Lau on stage, the candid Eugene demanded that the audience wait for her to deliver her speech until she gets a shot of her and the Hong Kong actor in her cell phone’s camera.
"Of course you can wait, okay? I waited 25 years for this," Eugene told the audience.
Over the microphone, the actress turned to Andy, saying, "Mr. Andy Lau, you know I have to tell you something... Where’s my trophy?"
As the actor handed the trophy to her, Eugene demanded in jest, "Now you have to kiss me because I won!"
Playing along the hilarity of the moment, Andy granted the actress her request and planted a kiss on Eugene’s cheek to the amusement of the audience.
Finally delivering her speech, Eugene initially acknowledged the presence of her fellow Filipinos at the awards night.
"Thank you very much for this, Asian Film Awards. I am very honored.
"I am with other talented Filipino artists here. Can you please applaud them, too.
"I am with Shamaine Centenera, Mr. Nonie Buencamino, Ms. Cai Cortez; and my best friend, nominated as Best Screenwriter, Chris Martinez; our producer Atty. Joji Alonso and our music designer Joseph."
Scriptwriter and filmmaker Chris Martinez was also nominated for Best Screenwriter at the Asian "Oscars" for The Woman in the Septic Tank.
To make her speech even more side-splitting, the actress added: "Again, my name is Eugene Domino. Yes, I am very famous!
"I would like to please ask you, all of you, to tweet this. Tweet it right now!
"I am with Mr. Andy Lau. But seriously... Oh my god!"
She turns back to Andy to share a funny anecdote: "I have to tell you something, okay?
"One of the best talents of the Filipinos is texting. Yeah, that’s why I won, okay?
"So, I won and then they asked me, ’Who do we vote for best actor? We don’t know anyone from Hong Kong.’
"So I said, ’Why don’t you vote for Andy Lau?’"
Seeing the actor amused, Eugene remarked, "Oh my God, let’s make a movie!"
Ending her speech, she honored her countrymen back home: "This is not for me alone because before becoming an actor, of course, I am first a Filipino.
"This is for my country, the Philippines. Mabuhay! Salamat!"
BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW. Immediately after winning People’s Choice for Favorite Actress, Eugene was interviewed by the international media at the backstage.
Eugene was asked how does it feel being everybody’s favorite actress.
"It’s unbelievable. I really did not expect this," she said.
Then Eugene talked about how she felt when her name was not mentioned as one of the Best Actress nominees.
Eugene said, "A little while ago, I was here and I think they forgot to call my name as a nominee for Best Actress. And so I was a little sad because they forgot about me."
Later on, she invited the media to wach their film, The Woman in the Septic Tank, which is being exhibited at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
Eugene also was asked to give a message to the Filipinos whom she dedicated her award to.
She said, in Filipino: "Para sa aking mga kababayan sa Pilipinas, napakagandang inspirasyon nito na ibinabahagi ko sa inyo. Nagsisimula pa lamang po tayo.
"Sa lahat ng may pangarap sa industriya ng pelikulang Pilipino, malapit na malapit na nating matupad ito.
"Para sa inyo ito."