By Evelyn C. Diao
MANILA—The recently concluded platinum anniversary of the 70th FAMAS Awards held at the Metropolitan Theater on July 30 was the grandest reunion of showbiz veterans that could go down memory lane with the presence of the pillars in the movie industry.
It was even more significant with MET’s invitation to FAMAS as the first award-giving body to hold its memorable year in the newly-restored theatre which had been dormant for the past many years.
The modern Filipiniana-motif event started past the time set but the crowd was wowed with the opening number of international stage actor-performer and Aliw Awards Entertainer of the Year Gerard Santos who sang the FAMAS theme song backed up by a cultural dance company.
It was followed by a tribute through film clips and photos of industry veterans who have walked from earth into eternity.
Presenters were a mix of veteran and younger actors, among them Star of 66 Pepito Rodriguez, Sampaguita Pictures darlings Marita Zobel and Roger Calvin, Divina Valencia, Marissa Delgado, new artists Lance Raymundo, Drei Arias, Enzo Pineda, Crista Miller and Nico Antonio.
Charo Santos broke the domination of the highly political movie when she won the Best Actress award for the Waray-language film, “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon,” with Daniel Padilla also in the lead, who was nominated as Best Actor as well. Santos said she was just a movie fan, but now on the same stage receiving a trophy just like her idols.
The Martial Law film “Katips,” written, produced, starred in and directed by stage actor and Philippine Stagers Foundation founder Vince Tañada emerged the most awarded entry, bagging Best Picture.
Before the final honor was called, “Katips” earlier won the Best Musical Score for Pipo Cifra, Best Original Song for “Sa Gitna Ng Gulo” by Cifra and Tañada, Best Cinematography for Manuel Abanto, Best Supporting Actor for Johnrey Rivas, and Best Actor and Best Director for Tañada.
Janice De Belen won Best Supporting Actress for “Big Night.” She was ecstatic receiving her trophy, noting that for all the years she has spent in the industry starting as a child star, it was the first time she won a Famas.
Allen Dizon, who was bestowed the Best Actor Hall of Fame Award (“Paupahan,” 2009; “Dukot,” 2010; “Magkakabaung,” 2015; “Bomba,” 2018; and “Latay,” 2021) presented the Best Actor and Best Actress awards.
Jess Navarro was also elevated to the Best Editing Hall of Fame for “Sister Stella L” (1985), “Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit” (1992), “Bakit Ikaw Pa Ang Minahal” (1993), “Sarah Balabagan Story” (1998), “Jose Rizal” (1999), “Sidhi” (2000), “Bagong Buwan” 2002 and “Naglalayag” (2005).
Other winners were “See You George” by Mark Moneda for Best Short Film; Santelmo Studio – Best Visual Effects for “My Amanda”; Albert Michael, Idioma, Alex Tomboc amd Pietro Marco Javier – Best Sound for “A Hard Day”; Juan Miguel Alcazaren – Best Production Design for “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon”; and Jun Lana – Best Screenplay for “Big Night.”
The rest of the winners of the country’s oldest, longest-running and most prestigious award-giving body include recognitions such as the Natatanging Alagad Ng Sining conferred to Nora Aunor, who was also the first Susan Roces Celebrity Award honoree, and Ricky Lee – who were proclaimed National Artists for Film and Broadcast Arts recently.
In her acceptance speech, Nora expressed her gratitude to FAMAS, the National Artist Council, officers of the government, teachers and critics and fellow actors. She mentioned the need for attention and importance to the small players in the film industry.
“Bilang bagong hirang na National Artist para sa pelikula, hinahangad ko na sana ituon natin ang ating pansin sa mga maliliit na kasamahan natin sa telebisyon, radio, musika at pelikulang Pilipino.
“Hangad ko po na sana mapagtibay ng ating pamahalaan ang programang susulong sa kabuhayan ng ating mga katrabaho na siyang tunay na nagmamalasakit sa lahat ng ginagawa natin.
“Kilalanin po natin palagi ang kontribusyon nila mula sa ginagawa natin. Sa mga technicians, drivers, crew, production assistants, na kung hindi sa kanila, wala pong magandang musika o palabas na malilikha tayo.
“Patuloy pa po nating buhayin at pasiglahin ang sining ng pagkukuwento sa pamamagitan ng pelikulang Pilipino.”
The Superstar again thanked the Noranians and the people who continue to support and love her.
Dr. Jose R. Perez Memorial Award was given to director Moira Lang; Angelo “Eloy” Padua Memorial Award to entertainment journalist Renz Spangler; and German Moreno Youth Achievement Award to social media sensation siblings Ranz Kyle and Niana Guerrero.
The Famas Presidential Award was handed to Quezon City Fifth District Representative Patrick Michael “PM” Vargas; the Outstanding Public Service Award to Pangasinan Fourth District Representative Christopher De Venecia; another Outstanding Public Service Award was handed to Dr. Edinell Calvario for her health and wellness platform on television Healing Galing.
The Exemplary Award on Public Service was given to Senator Imee Marcos who also cited her passion and support for the movie industry. The FPJ Memorial Award was bestowed to Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
Popular child actress of the 60s Tessie Agana who came all the way from the United States was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Among other movie veterans present during the event were: Roi Vinzon, Ernie Garcia, Romeo Rivera, Azenith Briones, Deborah Sun, Liz Alindogan, Marissa Delgado and Rez Cortez.