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02 January 2014

Best Performances in Filipino Films (2013): "Results of our Critics and Readers Poll"

Terracotta figurine of a theatrical
mask representing Dionysos.
Image part of public domain.
Taken from Wikipedia.
Updated: Jan. 17, 2014 (End of voting)

2013 is filled with outstanding performances from Filipino thespians both in local and international films.  For her role as a sacrificing but assertive domestic helper in Anthony Chen’s “Ilo Ilo,” Angeli Bayani has recently been nominated for Best Actress in the Asia-Pacific Film Fest.  John Arcilla also held his own in Sean Ellis’ “Metro Manila.”  

As expected, the best performances came from independently-produced films, but sadly, many Filipino moviegoers did not see these films.  In 2013, big studios that continually produce trashy films still dominated the industry and monopolized most cinemas in the country, specifically in Metro Manila.  In effect, most moviegoers had to contend seeing more “TV Patrol” and “Elevator” types of acting as Eugene Domingo puts it in “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank.” Let us face it, as long as films like “My Little Bossing” and “My Other Woman” remain to be blockbuster hits, we will continue to see more bad films with even worst performances in the coming years.

Below are the final shortlist of the best performances of the year voted by our resident and guest critics, including selected readers.  (These are not my choices alone, which I first published on January 1, 2013. )

In addition, instead of dividing the performances according to gender, which is an antiquated and sexist approach, we have divided our choices to lead and supporting performances only. We also just limited our choices to five, which was difficult. Many more great performances are also worth acknowledging, but alas, they do not call it a shortlist for nothing.   

(This list will also be included in Pinoy Rebyu's 2013 Critics Poll. Pinoy Rebyu is the Philippines very own metacritic site.)

Clockwise (alphabetical order, not ranked)
(1) Nora Aunor in “Ang Kwento ni Mabuti.” Aurnor remains to be the country’s finest thespian and 2013 is another proof that she is here to stay. What can I say that other people have not said about her performance, and I am not even a Noranian. (2) Cherie Gil in “Sonata.”  After her enigmatic performance in another Pegue Gallaga opus in “Oro Plata Mata,” Gil once again reminds us the meaning of the word “diva.” I cannot imagine anyone giving justice to the role of a has-been opera singer than Gil. (3) Agot Isidro in “Mga Anino ng Kahapon.” Isidro is probably one of the most underrated actors these days but her performance in this film will definitely change all that. She was not just playing sick; she became textbook material. (4) Sid Lucero in "Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan.” Playing a modern day version of Dostoevsky's Raskolnikov, Lucero harnessed his acting bravado to the hilt.  (5) Joel Torre in “OTJ.” Along with his performance in "Kabisera," Joel Torre has become the current King of Independent cinema. Standing ovation to “Tatang” please. 

Clockwise (alphabetical order, not ranked)
(1) Irma Adlawan in “Transit.” Playing a role that can be considered lead or supporting, regardless, Adlawan’s meticulousness as a thespian is evident in “Transit.” In 2013, she still reigns as the Queen of Independent Cinema. (2) Angeli Bayani in “Ilo Ilo." Prior to her role in Anthony Chen's critically acclaimed hit, Bayani was a relative unknown outside the world of independent cinema. Along with her roles in "Purok 7" and "Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan," Bayani is definitely a talent to watch. (3) Jasmine Curtis-Smith in “Transit.” Yes, Anne Curtis’ younger sister. But if her feature film debut is any indication, my money is on her, and yes, she can buy me.  (3) Dick Israel in “Badil.” Perhaps the quintessential Filipino character actor, I have seen Israel in countless films since I was a child, and in “Badil,” Israel is naturally superb.  (5) T.J. Trinidad in “Sana Dati” and “Mga Anino ng Kahapon.” The Prince of Subtlety, Trinidad showed us that part of a great performance is silent and subtle reaction to his co-stars. Lovi Poe in “Sana Dati” and Agot Isidro in “Anino” partly owe their good performances to Trinidad.

[LINK: Best Filipino Films of 2013 / Director of the Year]

These fine thespians equally deserve recognition. After all, "runner-up" is just another subjective term, but the most important thing is the work of a true actor.

LEAD PERFORMANCES (Alphabetical order, not ranked)
  • Rustica Carpio, Ano ang Kulay ng Nakalimutang Pangarap?
  • Jhong Hilario, Badil
  • Mimi Juareza, Quick Change
  • Alex Vincent Medina, Babagwa
  • Vilma Santos, Ekstra
  • Krystle Valentino, Purok 7
SUPPORTING PERFORMANCES (Alphabetical order, not ranked)
  • Archie Alemania, Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
  • Angel Aquino, Ang Huling Cha Cha ni Anita 
  • John Arcilla, Metro Manila*
  • Nikki Gil, Badil
  • Joey Paras, Babagwa
* Foreign Film

Note:  Images are taken from the Facebook pages of the films, or screen-caps from official trailers.  Rationale for the use of non-free media, click this.


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