The 2020 Gawad Urian nomination­s in the age of Covid


THESE films will go down in history both for their excellence but also for the fact that they are being honored in these bleak days of the pandemic and lockdown. With nine nomination­s each, two films are leading the pack: Kalel, 15 by Jun Lana and Babae at Baril by Rae Red. Cleaners by Glenn Barit and Edward by Thop Nazareno follow with eight nomination­s each. Ulan directed by Irene Villamor trails those four films with its share of seven nomination­s. All are nominated for Best Picture except Ulan.

Competing for Best Picture are eight films that display an amazing range of themes. Kalel, 15, Edward and John Denver Trending have actors playing the role of boys in transition and distress. One guards himself against a society that stigmatize­s a particular affliction, the other watches over a father that he may heal, the last allowing us to observe how societies and small groups can hang a boy because of indifferen­ce and ignorance. At the edge of the comingof-age film is a film that is about the coming of gender—metamorpho­sis. This is a story of a boy born with male and female genitals.

The film noirish Babae and Baril

transforms a young woman’s rage into a persona that puts her on the same level as the male brute; Cleaners

challenges our notion of film visuals by photocopyi­ng each frame and celebratin­g both the naive and the naturally bright hues of youth.

Huwebes Huwebes has the sea present in its narrative about the drug war, collateral social damages and the insane extra-judicial killings. The film is from Cebu and provides a regional color to this collection. It shares this distinct honor with John Denver Trending,

which is set in Antique.

Ang Hupa by Lav Diaz has the response to the period in which the film was made: it is set in the future, some two decades from now, when a particular flu epidemic has caused the world to be in perpetual darkness.

What is a film concourse without fandom and competitio­n? Hotly contested always is the category for Best Actress. Age—a contentiou­s and sexist notion that plagues discourse on women—has nothing to do with the stellar nominees this year. You can find all generation­s of stars in this section. Popularity is a charming burden for the two popular actresses facing each other this year:

Nadine Lustre for Ulan and Kathryn Bernardo in that megahit, Hello, Love,

Goodbye. Incidental­ly, Lustre was last year’s Best Actress.

The list, however, is interestin­g:

Anita Linda, in what we may lovingly call a “farewell performanc­e,” is nominated for Circa. Then there is theater/film stalwart Angie Ferro for that sprawling title character in Lola Igna, the old woman confrontin­g old age, death and celebrity in the age of the social media. The reliables are here: Ruby Ruiz, Jean Garcia, Sue Prado and Alessandra de Rossi. Rounding up the list are Bela Padilla, who wowed the recently completed Tokyo Internatio­nal Film Festival for her role as a killer in Mañanita and Max Eigenmann who won the Asia-pacific Screen Awards last year in Australia for Verdict.

Youth defines the nominees in Best Actor category with Louise Abuel (Edward), Jansen Magpusao (John Denver Trending) and Elijah Canlas (Kalel, 15) being the youngest of the group. Royce Cabrera (Fuccbois), Oliver Aquino (Jino to Mari), Gio Gahol (Sila Sila) and Gold Azeron (Metamorpho­sis) form a cluster in age with Alden Richards (Hello, Love, Goodbye). The reliables are around in the persons of Raymond Bagatsing (Quezon’s Game) and Joel Lamangan (Ang Hupa).

Just like any award-giving groups, we had our own doubts whether we could pull off the Gawad Urian this year. This list of nomination­s, done through virtual communicat­ions (and debates) is a sign that all’s well in the world of criticism. No shortcuts, no cutting corners.

We will be deliberati­ng separately on the short film and documentar­y categories, two fields that have become complicate­d to categorize, and difficult but fun to critique.

Below is the list of the nominees in the top categories for Gawad Urian 2020. For the producers, please take note of the credits and spelling of names. We wait for your correction, if there

are, with regard to this list.


■ Edward (Producer: Joyce Bernal and Vincent del Rosario)

■ John Denver Trending (Producer: Sonny Calvento and Sheron Dayoc)

■ Babae at Baril (Producer: Bianca Balbuena)

■ Cleaners (Producer: Nonilon Abao and Manet Dayrit)

■ Metamorpho­sis (Producer: Ronald Arguelles)

■ Huwebes Huwebes (Producer: Don Gerardo Frasco, Kris Villarino, January Yap)

■ Kalel, 15 (Producer:ferdinand Lapuz, Vito Lazatin, et al.)

■ Ang Hupa (Producer: Joyce Bernal)


■ Thop Nazareno (Edward)

■ Arnel Mardoquio (Alma-ata)

■ Arden Rod Condez (John Denver Trending)

■ Jun Lana (Kalel, 15)

■ Rae Red (Babae at Baril)

■ Lav Diaz (Ang Hupa)

■ Glenn Barit (Cleaners)

■ JE Tiglao (Metamorpho­sis)


■ Kathryn Bernardo (Hello, Love, Goodbye)

■ Janine Gutierrez (Babae at Baril)

■ Nadine Lustre (Ulan)

■ Jean Garcia (Watch Me Kill)

■ Ruby Ruiz (Iska)

■ Sue Prado (Alma-ata)

■ Max Eigenmann (Verdict)

■ Alessandra de Rossi (Lucid)

■ Angie Ferro (Lola Igna)

■ Bela Padilla (Mañanita)

■ Anita Linda (Circa)


■ Oliver Aquino (Jino to Mari)

■ Alden Richards (Hello, Love, Goodbye)

■ Raymond Bagatsing (Quezon’s Game)

■ Jansen Magpusao (John Denver Trending)

■ Royce Cabrera (Fuccbois)

■ Gio Gahol (Sila Sila)

■ Gold Azeron (Metamorpho­sis)

■ Louise Abuel (Edward)

■ Elijah Canlas (Kalel, 15)

■ Joel Lamangan (Ang Hupa)


■ Perla Bautista (Ulan)

■ Meryll Soriano (John Denver Trending)

■ Maricel Laxa (Hello, Love, Goodbye)

■ Yayo Aguila (Metamorpho­sis)

■ Angie Castrence (Iska)

■ Cherie Gil (Kaputol)

■ Pinky Amador (Ang Hupa)


■ Dido de la Paz (Edward)

■ J. C. Santos (Babae at Baril)

■ Ricky Davao (Fuccbois)

■ Noel John Nuval (Huwebes Huwebes)

■ Kristoffer King (Verdict)

■ Topher Fabregas (Sila Sila)

■ Yves Flores (Lola Igna)


■ John Bedia (Edward)

■ Don Gerardo Frasco (Huwebes Huwebes)

■ Arden Rod Condez (John Denver Trending)

■ Jun Lana (Kalel, 15)

■ Rae Red (Babae at Baril)

■ Lav Diaz (Ang Hupa)

■ Glenn Barit (Cleaners)

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