The Last Lap
The process of the peers voting for their peers for the 23 rd Film Academy Awards (now known as the Luna Awards) has at last trust the voters—the third group involved in the three-tiered system of choosing the past year’s best performers and craftsmen—into centerstage.
The voters from the FAP’s working guilds will converge at the UP Film Center for a final review of the 14 films nominated for various categories in this year’s awards derby, scheduled from May 2 to 6 and on May 9 and 10. Two films will be screened each day, the first shown from 10 a.m. to noon and the second from 1 to 3 p.m.
May 11 is the day of reckoning when the voters will cast their ballots for the best in 12 categories of the Luna Awards, also to be held at the UP Film Center , the same venue last year.
After the citers had gleaned the possible finalists from last year’s slim harvest of 52 local films, the nominators had finally trimmed everything down to the Best 5 for each category. Although for cinematography and production design, the particular nominators in these two categories opted to come up with the Best 4. ( See separate article on the nominees )
But what is very heartening about this year’s list of nominess is that for the second straight year the Film Academy has come up with credible choices. This was very apparent in the positive reaction of media representatives who graced the press conference for the announcement of the nominees last April 14.
Scanning the list of nominees, one can gauge that last year’s best works have come from both the old hands and the newcomers in the industry. In almost every category, there is an equal presence of experienced and developing talents and craftsmen.
In the best actor category, we can say that the veteran Christopher de Leon is pitted against four young ‘rivals’ in the person of Piolo Pascual, Jericho Rosales, Yul Servo and Dennis Trillo. In the best actress, veterans Nora, Vilma and Maricel are up against Claudine and Judy Ann.
Supporting actor nominees are three veterans (Johnny Delgado, Ronnie Lazaro and Eddie Garcia) and two young actors (Ryan Eigenmann and Jay Manalo). The supporting actress category seems to be the only one that failed to include young thespians. Only veterans were nominated, namely Gloria Romero, Hilda Koronel, Amy Austria, Daria Ramirez and Jacklyn Jose.
It is interesting to note here that there was no voting or rating for the Best Picture nominees. No group of nominators submitted any rating for best picture.
This is because the new rules stipulate that to be nominated for best picture, a film must be nominated for best direction or best screenplay, with nominations in two other categories (or a minimum of three nominations). It is a big plus factor for a film to be nominated in the best direction and best screenplay categories, as what happened to Panaghoy sa Suba and Santa Santita , the two films which were rated A by the Cinema Evaluation Board for 2004.
Two of the other best picture nominees at least got nominated for best direction, like Aishite Imasu 1941 and Milan , while Naglalayag was nominated for best screenplay.All of these nominees were rated B by the CEB. The same B rating was given to the two other close aspirants for the best picture nominations: Mano Po 3 My Love (which was nominated for screenplay) and Feng Shui (which was not nominated in either the best director or screenplay category).
But most important, what this year’s list of nominees has proven is that that the new process of selecting and picking the eventual winners through the three main groups of citers, nominators and voters is without doubt an effective and efficient system of coming up with worthy winners among the outstanding performers and film craftsmen of a given year.
This system was introduced by Director General Leo Martinez and actually given a dry run in last year’s awards which culminated in the completion of a grand slam for the film Magnifico, produced by Violett Films.
DG Martnez explained that the FAP must hold on to the tradition of coming up with credible awards to make it the premier awards-giving body of the country. This should be the case because it is the only awards where peers vote for their peers, he added.
The painstaking process is worth it. Now the voters are presented with the best in the lot. A nominator even said that any one of the nominees the nomnators had chosen is deserving though there are the usual favorites and seeded nominees as in any contest.
This provides a situation wherein a nominee can declare: Makasama ka lang sa best 5 is almost like winning already.
For this is the significance of award-giving that most of us have simply forgotten or swept away under the rug. It is not all about winning the trophy. Being nominated but losing is still a matter of fulfillment. The fact remains that for one film (though there are those nominated twice in a single category), an actor or an actress and the other members of the creative staff has proven that he or she is capable of being the best in his craft. It becomes his or her passport for other film projects where his or her commitment is to be consistent in giving his or her best.
The FAP awards, or other awards for that matter, must not encourage only the winners. The other nominees who will not be lucky enough to make it this time are also given the recognition due them. It is very discouraging therefore if someone underserving is nominated at all, especially if that someone knows fully too well that only friendship or being generous was the criterion for his nomination.
It is about time, with awards-giving almost six or seven decades in existence now, that credibility be an obsession for all bodies handing out awards annually. Pseudo-awards must for all intents and purposes must now exit from centerstage.
Fortunately, the FAP citers and nominators have removed such pitfalls from the process and the voters must only follow their conscience in voting for their choices. Anyway, all the nominees, as they stand, are deserving of the Luna.
Therefore, all nominees for the 23 rd FAP Awards (now called the Luna Awards) deserve a collective round of congratulations from their peers– the citers, nominators and voters who have included them in this year’s roll of honor.