Two of the country’s finest actresses renew their storied rivalry as Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos lead the top nominees for the 37th Gawad Urian Awards. As announced by organizers Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino on Tuesday, Nora and Vilma are both nominated as Best Actress for their acclaimed performances in the independent films “Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti” and “Ekstra”, respectively. However, they will compete in a crowded 10-way race. The eight other contenders are Angeli Bayani (“Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan”), Cherie Gil (“Sonata”), Eugene Domingo (“ I n s t a n t Mommy”), Rustica Carpio (“Ano ang Kulay ng mga Nakalimutang Pangarap”), Vivian Velez (“Bendor”), Lorna Tolentino (“Burgos”), Agot Isidro (“Mga Anino ng Kahapon”) and Teri Malvar (“Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita”).
Vilma won Best Actress in the Cinemalaya Director’s Showcase last year as well as the Gawad Tanglaw award early this year for her compelling performance of a soap opera bit player in her indie debut, while La Aunor won the Gawad Pasado award for Best Actress (tied with Bangs Garcia for “Lauriana” and Alice Dixson for “When The Love is Gone”) for “Ang Kwento ni Mabuti” in which she portrays a faith healer who finds himself in a moral dilemma after discovering a bag full of cash.
Among the other nominees, Vivian Velez bagged the Cinema One Currents Best Actress award, Agot Isidro won the Best Actress New Wave award from the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival, while 13-year old Teri Malvar upset Nora for the Best Actress award at the 1st CineFilipino Film Festival last year.
All eyes, however, will be on Ate Guy and Gov. Vi as both are expected to be the frontrunners for the top award due to their particularly strong acting vehicles. The last time the two actresses competed for an Clrian was way back in 2006 for Nora’s “Naglalayag” and Vilma’s “Mano Po III: My Love”. They were nominated alongside Claudine Barretto for “Milan” and eventual winner Judy Ann Santos for “Sabel”.
Anticipating violent reactions from the rabid fans of Nora and Vilma should one of them prevail over the other, Manunuri member Mario Hernando appealed for respect whatever the outcome it may be. Although he insists that he has good relationship with both actresses, Hernando recalls an incident when he was berated by Noranians who also clashed with Vilmanians after Nora lost in the Best Actress award during an Urian awards ceremony held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Rather than react, Hernando said he chose to ignore the bickering of fans from both camps.
Along with fellow Manunuri members Grace Javier Alfonso and National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbrera, Hernando insists that all nominees in all categories have an equal chance of
winning. Once again, indie films dominate this year’s crop of nominees. Lav Diaz’s “Norte , Hangganan Kasaysayan” a n d Armando “Bing” Lao’s “Dukit” have the most nominations with 10 apiece. Adolfo Alix, Jr.’s “Porno” and Erik Matti’s “On The Job”, the lone mainstream contender, have nine each while “Transit” has eight. Jeffrey Jeturian’s “Ekstra” has six nominations along with Arnel Mardoquio’s “Riddles of my Homecoming”. Chito Roño’s “Badil” is tied with Mes de Guzman’s “Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti” with four nominations each.
In partnership with ABSCBN’s Cinema One channel, the awarding ceremonies will be held at Studio 9 and 10 of the network’s ELJ building on June 17. Hosted by Piolo Pascual and Bianca Gonzalez together with Manunuri member Butch Francisco, the event will air on Cinema One at 10PM with repeat broadcasts on June 21 and 22.