Special TFO Awards: Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2017 Edition – NOMINEES

Life event: this is the first local film festival where I’ve watched ALL of the entries. That’s a remarkable achievement for me.

Now, here’s my take on the best of the festival in all sixteen categories: Motion Picture, Directing, Acting Ensemble, Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Screenplay, Casting, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound, Music, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, and Costume Design.

Here are the nominees:

BEST MOTION PICTURE

  • Bar Boys
  • Patay na si Hesus
  • Pauwi Na
  • Salvage
  • Star na si Van Damme Stallone

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

  • Mikhail Red – Birdshot
  • Prime Cruz – Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B
  • Paolo Villaluna – Pauwi Na
  • Sherad Anthony Sanchez – Salvage
  • Randolph Longjas – Star na si Van Damme Stallone

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Carlo Aquino – Bar Boys
  • John Arcilla – Birdshot
  • Zaijian Jaranilla – Hamog
  • Arnold Reyes – Birdshot
  • Bembol Roco – Pauwi Na

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Jaclyn Jose – Patay na si Hesus
  • Therese Malvar – Hamog
  • Candy Pangilinan – Star na si Van Damme Stallone
  • Cherry Pie Picache – Pauwi Na
  • Meryll Soriano – Pauwi Na

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Art Acuña – Triptiko
  • OJ Mariano – Hamog
  • Melde Montañez – Patay na si Hesus
  • Jerald Napoles – Pauwi Na
  • Jerald Napoles – Triptiko

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Chai Fonacier – Patay na si Hesus
  • Chai Fonacier – Pauwi Na
  • Mailes Kanapi – Patay na si Hesus
  • Anna Luna – Hamog
  • Anna Luna – Paglipay

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTING ENSEMBLE

  • Bar Boys
  • Birdshot
  • Hamog
  • Patay na si Hesus
  • Pauwi Na

BEST SCREENPLAY

  • Bar Boys
  • Birdshot
  • Patay na si Hesus
  • Pauwi Na
  • Star na si Van Damme Stallone

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CASTING

  • Bar Boys
  • Hamog
  • Patay na si Hesus
  • Pauwi Na
  • Star na si Van Damme Stallone

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Birdshot
  • Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B
  • Pauwi Na
  • Salvage
  • Star na si Van Damme Stallone

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING

  • Birdshot
  • Patay na si Hesus
  • Pauwi Na
  • Salvage
  • Star na si Van Damme Stallone

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND

  • AWOL
  • Birdshot
  • Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B
  • Salvage
  • Triptiko

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC

  • Bar Boys
  • Hamog
  • Paglipay
  • Salvage
  • Star na si Van Damme Stallone

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

  • Birdshot
  • Hamog
  • Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B
  • Salvage
  • Triptiko

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • 100 Tula Para Kay Stella
  • Birdshot
  • Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B
  • Paglipay
  • Salvage

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN

  • 100 Tula Para Kay Stella
  • Bar Boys
  • Birdshot
  • Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B
  • Star na si Van Damme Stallone

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NOMINATIONS COUNT:

Pauwi Na – 12
Birdshot – 11
Patay na si Hesus – 9
Star na si Van Damme Stallone – 9
Salvage – 8
Hamog – 8
Bar Boys – 7
Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B – 6
Paglipay – 3
Triptiko – 3
100 Tula Para Kay Stella – 2
AWOL – 1

SCHEDULE:
August 25/26 – Review of aAll PPP 2017 Entries – RANKED
August 27 – Special TFO Awards: PPP 2017 Edition – WINNERS

 

MY WEEK IN FILM: Dunkirk / Beautiful Pain / Patay na si Hesus / Kíta Kità (Aug. 5-12, 2017)

To shake things up around here, I’m gonna write bite-sized reviews of the films I’ve seen per week. I hope I can do this on a regular basis.

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1. Dunkirk (2017)

Welcome to Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus. Rid of his usually heavy dialogue that either makes for a complex (and sometimes perplexing) experience, Nolan instead focuses on inducing the unnerving experience of being in war told through different perspectives that deliciously come together in key moments.

Opting to not focus on a specific individual as the ‘one’ protagonist recalls this daring move also employed in Paul Greengrass’ United 93. This makes for a discomforting experience of always being on-the-edge, largely helped by the immersive sound design, exhilarating cinematography, and perhaps one of Hanz Zimmer’s most experimental scores: a musical piece that never stops, always deliciously building the tension in variously effective ways.

It all comes together with the incendiary editing of the intricate structure of the plot that bleeds one moment into the other, resulting to an unbearably tense and gripping experience. Props to its impeccable casting of actors, ranging from acting royalties, art-house favorites, unknown faces, and young celebrities.

This might just be Christopher Nolan’s best film. Talk about experiencing war and witnessing how each cinematic element comes together and overwhelms the audience in the best possible way.

Grade: A
Random Fact: This is my first experience in watching a film in IMAX. Wow.

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2. Beautiful Pain (2016)

This Malaysian submission to the 89th Academy Awards is a poignant look at a couple with different coping mechanisms when they discovered that their son is diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder.

I have to say it immediately: I so wanted to love this film. Films about autism is rare, and the thing that I was looking for in this one is authenticity. For the first half of the film, I am drawn to it. Something happens mid-way (I won’t spoil), and the film suddenly lost its footing in terms of tone. In its entirety, the film run the gamut of emotions from realistic to cheesy to grim to idealistic to sentimental. In a normal film, I’d immediately dismiss the film as ‘tonally incoherent’. But you know what? It kinda works.

Partly because the mess of emotions feels realistic (probably hard to explain this to people without first-hand experience), but the emotional shifts are all grounded on reality. I would’ve hated the presence of the helpful friends, cooperative strangers, and judgmental people – and to a certain extent, the film is guilty of these – but you know what? It feels real, and that’s what matters to me. Kudos to the actors for portraying the delicate relationships within the family with visible honesty.

Grade: B
Random Fact: My grade is very subjective; others might go for B- or C+. My younger has autism and I know how the experience. The film gets it, even if it struggles to find the right tone at times.

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3. Patay na si Hesus (eng. Jesus is Dead) (2016/17)

There is so much more in this film than its controversial title. Centering on a Cebu-based dysfunctional family led by hardworking matriarch Iyay, they embark on a cross-island road trip to visit the wake of Iyay’s former husband named Hesus.

The acting ensemble is top-notch. Jaclyn Jose proves herself to be a great actress if given the right material (see her Cannes-winning turn in Ma’Rosa for another proof; 2016 was indeed her year). Chai Fonacier, Bernard Catindig, Mailes Kanapi, and Melde Montañez make this film an idiosyncratic delight, relishing on the ridiculousness of life, death, and everything in between.

However, one must acknowledge how extremely well-written this film is. The film goes to all sorts of humor that are all seamlessly weaved together, forming a narrative that is filled with gags that serve the story, building jokes to progress the plot. The film also gracefully changes tones while still maintaining an over-all air of irreverence that make for a delightful watch.

Grade: B+
Random Fact: I think this is my first experience watching a predominantly Visayan-language film. More non-Manila centric films, please.

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4. Kíta Kità (eng. I See You) (B-)

Currently sitting as the highest grossing independent film in the Philippines, there is so much hype going around this film. The film tells the story of  Lea and Tonyo, two neighboring OFWs based in Japan who form a friendship while Lea is suffering from temporary blindness.

Sold as a romantic comedy, the film oozes with likability for at least 2/3 of it. Its asset are undoubtedly the chemistry of its leads. De Rossi, known for her art-house success as well as her larger-than-life antagonists in TV, and Marquez, an unlikely fit for the ‘leading man’ type, spark something that is inherently charming. I’m not a fan of the writing, but I do get the charm. Add in the cinematography and music that makes this film relaxing to watch and you have a film that amply gives its focus to its two likable leads…

… until it reaches its final third. It’s an unexpectedly dark and scary and makes us question what the film really is about: was it an innocent exploration of how serendipity works in love? Or is it a glorification of stalking? Was the sweetness intended to mislead us for the reveal to have a stronger impact, or was the filmmakers misled themselves in proposing the sweetness within stalking?

I’m still feeling my way through this dilemma. What’s clear is that the film is more tragic than romantic. That’s why after watching the film, I was not buying the it as a romance but as an unexpectedly somber look at defeated characters. But then again: what’s with all the fuss?

Grade: B-
Random Fact: I’m in love with KZ Tandingan’s rendition of the theme song.

Meryl @ 68 – Happy Birthday, My Love

meryl.jpgPhoto from Variety.

I started becoming so passionate about film around 2008. I was thirteen years old.

I watched all the Best Picture nominees at the Oscars. I tried to watch as many Oscar nominees as possible.

That year, one film really stuck with me like no other, and I think it’s still my most watched film from that year. It was Doubt.

The entire cast was excellent – from Amy Adams’ delicately balancing nun, to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s emotionally charged priest, to Viola Davis’ rapturous one-scene wonder.

But of course, my eyes were on that nun, Sister Aloysius Beauvier.

Meryl Streep played her. Or to say it better, Meryl was Sister Aloysius.

I was just so attached on her quiet ferocity, that determination that simmers as she fights for what she believes is the right thing to do. And on repeated viewings, Meryl just stuck with me as, for lack of the better word, the definition of ‘great’.

When I say a performance is ‘great’, I always go back to Meryl and see if “has this person met her standards?”.

I know it’s not fair to do that to other actors, but that’s how she struck me. And then 2009 came – Julie and Julia and It’s Complicated. I loved her in both.

By that time, I was just fascinated by how she always does her best in acting but not seeming as if she was trying to hard.

She came at a crucial moment in my life – as my love for film was about to become serious (which eventually led me to taking Bachelor of Arts in Film as my course), she was there, reminding me of what excellence is and how a person can convey so much, can portray life within the limited time of a film.

Meryl Streep, in other words, was a godsend for me.

And I couldn’t be more thankful for her existence.

She’s a trailblazer – she showed through her work how her willingness to bare herself in camera can help us understand more about other people.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this. Meryl has influenced generations of actors, filmmakers, and artists not just in acting and in film, but also in life.

I haven’t met her yet. I don’t know if I ever will.

I really wish I could meet her one day and give her a big hug for everything she has done.

I know she’s just trying to do her best in her craft, but in doing so, she has touched so many lives.

And I’m no exception.

To (probably) my first true love in film.

I love you, Meryl.

And I thank you for what you have done to us.

Here’s looking forward to your future work (and Oscar nominations) while I also go back to your earlier works.

Here’s an altar of her twenty Oscar nominated roles, an all-time record (and I seriously doubt someone will break that anytime soon).

meryl @ 20.png

Just for the fun of ranking stuff, here’s how I’d rank her Oscar-nominated works (performances, not the films; all good-to-all-time-great; purely subjective):

  1. Sophie’s Choice (1982) as Sophie Zawistowski
  2. The Iron Lady (2011) as Margaret Thatcher
  3. Doubt (2008) as Sister Aloysius Beauvier
  4. Ironweed (1987) as Helen Archer
  5. A Cry in the Dark (1988) as Lindy Chamberlain
  6. Silkwood (1983) as Karen Silkwood
  7. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) as Joanna Kramer
  8. The Devil Wears Prada (2006) as Miranda Priestly
  9. Postcards from the Edge (1990) as Suzanne Vale
  10. August: Osage County (2013) as Violet Weston
  11. Julie and Julia (2009) as Julia Child
  12. Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) as Florence Foster Jenkins
  13. One True Thing (1998) as Kate Gulden
  14. Adaptation. (2002) as Susan Orlean
  15. Music of the Heart (1999) as Roberta Guaspari
  16. The Deer Hunter (1978) as Linda
  17. Out of Africa (1985) as Karen Blixen
  18. The Bridges of Madison County (1995) as Francesca Johnson
  19. The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981) as Sarah/Anna
  20. Into the Woods (2014) as The Witch

Plus, her non-Oscar nominated performances:

  1. The Hours (2002) as Clarissa Vaughan
  2. Ricki and the Flash (2015) as Linda Brummel/Ricki Rendazzo
  3. Hope Springs (2012) as Kay Soames
  4. The River Wild (1994) as Gail Hartman
  5. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) as Mrs. Fox
  6. It’s Complicated (2009) as Jane Adler
  7. Suffragette (2015) as Emmeline Pankhurst
  8. The Homesman (2014) as Altha Carter
  9. Mamma Mia! (2008) as Donna Sheridan

There you go. Looking forward to more years to come for you.

Always wishing you the success you deserve and the health that you need to do great work, on and off-screen.

Happy birthday, My Love.

Love you, Meryl.

Best Picture Nominees (2009-2016), RANKED

Since the Academy Awards reinstated the expanded Best Picture field in the 82nd Academy Awards (2009 in film), a system implemented during from 1930s to mid-1940s, the Academy has nominated 72 films for the awards’ highest honor.

Now in its eighth year, this new system has produced some of the most out-there choices, films that would not have gone anywhere near the Best Picture race had it stayed the traditional five nominees, as well as some stinkers that benefitted from the increased number of slots in the category.

Here is my ranking of the 72 Best Picture nominees from 2009 to 2016:

Gravity (2013) and Spotlight (2015) – the best nominee and the best winner of this category since the expanded category began in 2009.

BEST OF THE BEST
1. Gravity (2013)
2. Spotlight (2015) – WINNER
3. La La Land (2016)
4. Arrival (2016)
5. Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) – WINNER
6. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
7. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
8. Amour (2012)
9. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
10. The Tree of Life (2011)
11. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
12. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
13. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
14. Inception (2010)
15. Black Swan (2010)
16. Whiplash (2014)
17. The Artist (2011) – WINNER
18. The Hurt Locker (2009) – WINNER
19. Up (2009)
20. Hell or High Water (2016)
21. 12 Years a Slave (2013) – WINNER
22. Les Miserables (2012)
23. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
24. The Revenant (2015)
25. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
26. Selma (2014)
27. Up in the Air (2009)

Relatively young production/distribution company A24 scored back-to-back nominations with Room (2015) and Moonlight (2016), with the latter becoming a landmark Best Picture winner.

GREAT CHOICES
28. The King’s Speech (2010) – WINNER
29. Room (2015)
30. Moonlight (2016) – WINNER
31. The Martian (2015)
32. The Fighter (2010)
33. Her (2013)
34. The Social Network (2010)
35. Toy Story 3 (2010)
36. Brooklyn (2015)
37. Hugo (2011)
38. Midnight in Paris (2011)
39. Nebraska (2013)
40. District 9 (2009)
41. Captain Phillips (2013)
42. Lincoln (2012)
43. Lion (2015)
44. An Education (2009)
45. True Grit (2010)

EARNED THOSE BEST PICTURE NOMINATIONS
46. Life of Pi (2012)
47. Boyhood (2014)
48. Hidden Figures (2016)
49. Manchester by the Sea (2016)
50. A Serious Man (2009)
51. Winter’s Bone (2010)
52. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
53. Fences (2016)
54. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
55. Philomena (2013)
56. The Imitation Game (2014)
57. Moneyball (2011)
58. The Kids are All Right (2010)
59. The Help (2011)
60. 127 Hours (2010)
61. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
62. American Hustle (2013)

STRIKING MERITS DESPITE MY INDIFFERENCE (ON VARYING LEVELS)
63. Argo (2012) – WINNER
64. The Big Short (2015)
65. American Sniper (2014)
66. Django Unchained (2012)
67. Avatar (2009)
68. War Horse (2011)

I WON’T CHOOSE THEM, BUT I UNDERSTAND THE MENTION
69. The Theory of Everything (2014)
70. The Descendants (2011)

THOSE BAD APPLES FROM THE BUNCH – WHY?
71. Bridge of Spies (2015)
72. The Blind Side (2009)

6th TFO Awards: Best Motion Picture

The nominees for Best Motion Picture are:

  • Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John `Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole
  • Citizenfour – Mathilde Bonnefoy, Laura Poitras, Dirk Wilutzky
  • Gone Girl – Ceán Chaffin, Joshua Donen, Arnon Milchan, Reese Witherspoon
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales, Scott Rudin
  • Interstellar – Christopher Nolan, Lynda Obst, Emma Thomas
  • Mommy – Xavier Dolan, Nancy Grant
  • Selma – Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey
  • Two Days, One Night – Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd
  • The Way He Looks – Diana Almeida, Daniel Ribeiro
  • Whiplash – Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michael Litvak

And The Final Oscar goes to…

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Finalists (6-12): TBA

Semi-finalists (13-20): TBA

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PREVIOUSLY POSTED: Opening Remarks | Original Screenplay | Adapted Screenplay | Production Design – Contemporary | Production Design – Period | Casting | Costume Design – Period | Costume Design – Contemporary | Actor in a Supporting Role | Visual Effects | Makeup and Hairstyling | Sound Editing | Sound Mixing | Actress in a Supporting Role | Music – Original Song | Music – Adapted or Song Score | Music – Original Score | Cinematography | Film Editing | Ensemble | Animated Feature | Documentary Feature | Directing | Actress in a Leading Role | Actor in a Leading Role

6th TFO Awards: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

The nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role are:

  • Tom Hardy – Locke
  • Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year
  • Michael Keaton – Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Ghilherme Lobo – The Way He Looks
  • Antoine Olivier Pilon – Mommy

And The Final Oscar goes to…

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Finalists (6-12): TBA

Semi-finalists (13-20): TBA

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PREVIOUSLY POSTED: Opening Remarks | Original Screenplay | Adapted Screenplay | Production Design – Contemporary | Production Design – Period | Casting | Costume Design – Period | Costume Design – Contemporary | Actor in a Supporting Role | Visual Effects | Makeup and Hairstyling | Sound Editing | Sound Mixing | Actress in a Supporting Role | Music – Original Song | Music – Adapted or Song Score | Music – Original Score | Cinematography | Film Editing | Ensemble | Animated Feature | Documentary Feature | Directing | Actress in a Leading Role

6th TFO Awards: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

The nominees for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role are:

  • Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
  • Anne Dorval – Mommy
  • Isabelle Huppert – Abuse of Weakness
  • Julianne Moore – Still Alice
  • Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

And The Final Oscar goes to…

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Finalists (6-12): TBA

Semi-finalists (13-20): TBA

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PREVIOUSLY POSTED: Opening Remarks | Original Screenplay | Adapted Screenplay | Production Design – Contemporary | Production Design – Period | Casting | Costume Design – Period | Costume Design – Contemporary | Actor in a Supporting Role | Visual Effects | Makeup and Hairstyling | Sound Editing | Sound Mixing | Actress in a Supporting Role | Music – Original Song | Music – Adapted or Song Score | Music – Original Score | Cinematography | Film Editing | Ensemble | Animated Feature | Documentary Feature | Directing