MANILA, Dec 27 – It was the year for comedy royalty after Star Cinema’s “Ang Tanging Ina Mo (Last Na ‘To)” won 8 major awards including Best Actress for comedienne Ai Ai delas Alas at the 37th Metro Manila Film Festival. Comedy King Dolphy also won 2 acting trophies in the festival.

Initially, the proclaimed winners of the 37th Metro Manila Film Festival Philippines awards night held at the Meralco Theater on Sunday evening were openly appreciated by the audience, sympathizers and contenders alike.

As the evening wore on, however, twists and turns started to surprise a lot of spectators.
Could the revised policy of nominating only 3 in any given category make the awards ceremony more confusing and controversial?

Take the case of actor Albert Martinez who was not nominated in the best director category for his work in Cinemabuhay and Studio 5’s “Rosario.” The snub disappointed the many people who were rooting for the film.

Martinez, however, was composed and seemingly proud when Wenn V. Deramas of Star Cinema’s “Ang Tanging Ina Mo (Last Na ‘To)” got the best director award.

“It’s alright. At least, I showed a good fight. I would just prove my point in some future awarding,” he said.

It was his wife, Liezl Sumilang-Martinez, who was dismayed over the judges’ decision. “I couldn’t believe it. But at least, people knew he won. It’s ridiculous,” she exclaimed.

‘Rosario had no undercurrents of meaning’

The movie’s line producer, Joan Cabaldo-Banaga, was also quick to speak up her mind.
“Bakit gano’n? We won in the technical awards and as Second Best Picture but Albert wasn’t even nominated as best director and Jennylyn Mercado as best actress, nakapagtataka,” Banaga complained immediately after the awards rites.

Mercado is the lead star in the film.

Despite the controversy, 2 members of the jury, National Artist for Film Bienvenido Lumbera and fellow member of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino Butch Francisco were both one in saying that they just followed the criteria set by the MMFFP in judging the entries.

In the case of Martinez not being nominated, Lumbera said it was just fair.

“Kalat-kalat ang direksyon ng ‘Rosario.’ Walang undercurrents of meaning,” he argued.

Rosario did not come home empty-handed. The film was named 2nd Best Picture of the festival and was awarded the Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award.

It also won a best supporting actor trophy for Comedy King Dolphy and reaped awards for cinematography, editing and production design.

Stars Mercado and Dennis Trillo were named best dressed during the awards night.

Ai Ai wins Best Actress award

The nominations for the Best Actress category was also riddled with controversy.

Only Ai Ai de las Alas of “Ang Tanging Ina Mo Rin (Last Na ‘To),” Carla Abellena of Regal Entertainment’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll XII” and Marian Rivera of Regal Films’ “Super Inday and the Golden Bibe,” the last two being dark horses, were nominated.

Kris Aquino of Star Cinema and Cine Media’s “Dalaw” were snubbed by the jury.

De las Alas was fidgety, happy, and teary-eyed when she won the award. She then unfolded a piece of paper from her gown pocket that showed the list of people that she wanted to thank.

“Hindi po ako handa kaya may sinulat ako rito,” she quipped, to the laughter of the audience.

She said ABS-CBN’s President Charo Santos-Concio and Star Cinema’s Executive Producer Malou Santos called her in the afternoon to greet and shower her with words of encouragement, prayers and optimism.

Among the many people the comedienne thanked was Kris, whom she addressed as BFF or Best Friend Forever.

“Sabi mo, wag akong umasa pero heto, nanalo na ako. Sabi mo pa nga, ‘asa pa ako.’ Heto na, o,” she blurted out to the crowd’s guffaws.

It was a guessing game, though, if it were true that the clergy and the bishops prayed for her triumph. “Ipinagdasal din ako ng mga clergy and bishops,” she said to another round of laughter from the audience.

Ai Ai could not have listened backstage when the list of 3 nominees in the best actress category was announced. She kept on dedicating the award to both Mercado and Aquino, who were both not nominated.

What really broke the house down, though, was when she declared upon clasping her trophy, “Ang sama naman siguro kung hindi ako ang best.”

Dolphy wins 2 acting awards

The biggest winner that night, however, was Comedy King Dolphy. He was not around, however, to accept both his Best Supporting Actor award for “Rosario” and Best Actor award for RVQ Productions’ “Father Jejemon.”

The audience was rather perplexed over the first announcement. Not many knew he was in the Mercado movie.

“Hindi lang siya guest star sa pelikula, he is the storyteller of the whole film. Siya ‘yong batang lumaki later,” volunteered Cabaldo-Bañaga.

It was director Frank Gray, Jr. who accepted the Best Actor award for Dolphy.

“Alam na naman natin, may sakit pa siya. Hindi siya puwede sa maraming tao,” said Gray, who is Dolphy’s nephew.

‘Tanging Ina’ is MMFFP’s big winner

The luckiest entry in this year’s fiesta of local films was “Ang Tanging Ina Mo Rin (Last Na ‘To)” which took home a total of the Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Eugene Domingo), Best Screenplay, Best Story, Best Director, Most Gender Sensitive and Best Music awards, among others.

Deramas even quipped, “Pumayat na yata ako sa kaaakyat at kabababa ko ng stage.”

He also accepted the award in behalf of Domingo, who is abroad.

Judge Butch Francisco said the film is the most relevant of all film fest entries gauged against the standards of the MMFFP. “It deserved the awards,” he stressed.

Below is the complete list of 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival winners.

Best Actress – Ai Ai delas Alas (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Best Supporting Actress – Eugene Domingo (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Best Picture – Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!
Best Director – Wenn V. Deramas (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Best Child Performer – Xyriel Manabat (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Best Screenplay – Mel del Rosario (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Best Musical Score – Jesse Lasatem (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Gender Sensitive Award: Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!
Best Actor – Dolphy (Father Jejemon)
Best supporting Actor – Dolphy (Rosario)
2nd Best Picture – Rosario
Best Cinematography – Carlo Mendoza (Rosario)
Best Editing – John Wong (Rosario)
Best Production Design – Joel Luna and Miki Hahn (Rosario)
Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award – Rosario
Best Float – Rosario
Best Dressed – Dennis Trillo and Jennylyn Mercado (Rosario)
3rd Best Picture – RPG Metanoia
Best Theme Song – “Kaya Ko” (RPG Metanoia)
Gender Sensitive Award: Special Citation for Animation – RPG Metanoia
Best Sound Recording – Ambient Media (RPG Metanoia) and Ditoy Aguila (Super Inday and the Golden Bibe)
Best Visual Effects – Rico Gutierrez and Co. (Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote)
Best Indie Film – Presa (Adolf Alix)
Faces of the Night – Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Sam Pinto. (MNS)