The first time ever that the Luna was awarded, six first-time winners emerged from tight contests in their respective categories.
This was the most significant result of the glittery, glamorous and grand 23 rd Film Academy of the Philippines awards night at the Harbour Garden Tent of the Westin Philippine Plaza at the Cultural Center complex last Saturday, May 14.
It was undoubtedly a day of the red carpet and handsome fleets of BMW model cars…and a night of veteran actors and actresses, young winners, emcees Martin Nievera and Cherrie Gil, singing matinee idols, ever dependable birit divas, champagne, fireworks and plain good vibes.
But the night belonged to the ever-gracious Ms. Susan Roces who awarded the Fernando Poe Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award to long-time friend and producer Marichu Perez-Maceda.
And also to Aishite Imasu 1941, a film about two kinds of love unfolding amidst the crucible of war, which turned out to be the grand winner for 2004, garnering the best picture and best director Lunas, among others.
All in all, Aishite Imasu 1941 romped away with six awards, followed by Panaghoy sa Suba with three, and Milan, Naglalayag and Feng Shui with one each.
Director Joel Lamangan took potshots at the government that does not seem serious in providing aid to the ailing local film industry and stressed to all industry craftsmen and workers that we must rely on ourselves to survive.
Mother’ Lily Monteverde accepted the award for best picture and declared she will continue on producing films because she has been and will also be a movie fan at heart.
Young actor Dennis Trillo, the homosexual who posed as a woman when a Japanese officer mistook him for one in Aishite Imasu 1941, and Claudine Barretto, a Filipina working in Italy who fell in love with a Filipino searching for his missing wife in Milan, clinched the most coveted acting awards. They are first-time Luna winners.
“Claudine Barretto interviewed with Raymart Santiago before the awards”
The other first-time Luna winners are Jay Manalo, best supporting actor for Aishite Imasu 1941; Cris Vertido, best screenplay for Panaghoy sa Suba; Ely Cruz, best cinematography for Panaghoy sa Suba; and Marya Ignacio, best editor for Aishite Imasu 1941.
The first-time winners comprised fifty percent of the total categories which were given awards.
Aside from Lamangan, who have now won four FAP awards (the last in 1999), the other craftsmen who have previously won in the awards included: Jacklyn Jose, best supporting actress for Naglalayag (she won for the same category in 1995); Joey Luna (who is not related to the statuette), best production design for Aishite Imasu 1941 (he won twice in 1996 and 2000); Nonong Buencamino, best musical score for Panaghoy sa Suba (he also won in 1990 and 1993); and Albert Michael Idioma, best sound for Feng Shui, who also won last year, making him the only two-consecutive-year winner.
The awards program was fast-paced (though there were some over-extended acceptance speeches). Musical numbers included songs from best actor nominees Piolo Pascual and Jericho Rosales, and birit divas Sarah Geronimo and Regine Velasquez, the finale performer.
The most touching portion of the program was the awarding of the Fernando Poe Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Susan Roces handed the trophy (where a gold replica of the dear departed king of Philippine movies is crafted in his trademark stance with both thumbs hooked into his pants’ pockets) to Manay Ichu, in the presence of Manay’s four sons and a grandson. Susan and Manay Ichu have been close friends since the former was built up as a movie box office queen by Sampaguita Pictures in the late 50s.
“Ms. Susan Roces before bestowing the trophy for the FPJ lifetime achievement award to Marichu Perez-Maceda, FAP Director General Leo G. Martinez beside her.”
Hereunder is the complete list of winners and the percentage of the votes they got in their respective categories:
Best Picture — Aishite Imasu 1941 , produced by Bas Films and Regal Films (with received 31% of votes cast); Best Director —Joel Lamangan for Aishite Imasu 1941 (37%); Best Actor — Dennis Trillo for Aishite Imasu 1941 (59%); Best Actress —Claudine Barretto for Milan (34%); Best Supporting Actor —Jay Manalo for Aishite Imasu 1941 (70%); Best Supporting Actress —Jacklyn Jose for Naglalayag (39%);
Best Screenplay —Cris Vertido for Panaghoy sa Suba (29%); Best Cinematography —Ely Cruz for Panaghoy sa Suba (41%); Best Production Design —Joey Luna for Aishite Imasu 1941 (47%); Best Editing —Marya Ignacio for Aishite Imasu 1941 (31%); Best Sound —Albert Idioma for Feng Shui (35%); and Best Musical Score —Nonong Buencamino for Panaghoy sa Suba (28%).