Gawad Urian Award

Gawad Urian Awards
39th Gawad Urian Awards
Awarded for Outstanding achievements in Filipino cinema
Country Philippines
Presented by Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino
First awarded 1977
Official website

The Gawad Urian Awards are annual film awards in the Philippines held since 1977. It is given by the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (the Filipino Film Critics) and is currently regarded as the counterpart of the United States' New York Film Critics Circle. Due to its credible choices of winners, it is considered the most prestigious film awards in the Philippines.


The MPP was formed by a host of scholars, film writers and other award-winning writers on May 1, 1976 as a critics' voice to rival the then-only award-giving body in the Philippines, which is its Oscars', the FAMAS Awards. Three years earlier, what would be the members of the MPP were included in the judges' roster of the FAMAS after a shocking 1972 Best Actress tie materialized between major star Boots Anson-Roa and then-rising star Vilma Santos. A tie was unheard of at that time, which resulted in accusations of lessening prestige on the part of FAMAS. After a voting stint at the FAMAS, these future MPP members set up the Gawad Urian Awards.


The members of the MPP who judge the annual Gawad Urian are all accomplished writers in their part:


The Gawad Urian Awards were established to, in Tagalog, "suriin ang mga pelikulang Pilipino, pasiglahin ang diyalogo ng mga manonood at ng industriya ng pelikula, pag-aralan ang mga tunguhing makapagpapahusay sa pelikula, at linangin ang kaalaman sa tungkulin ng pelikula bilang medyum ng ekspresyon at komunikasyon, ayon sa mga kondisyon ng paggawa ng pelikula sa ating bayan (examine Filipino films, bolster the interest of the masses and the Philippine film industry, study and celebrate the achievement that will help define the good Filipino film, and cultivate the knowledge and skills that the film medium was designed for, which is to be a medium of communication and expression of our culture according to the standards and conditions of filmmaking in our country)."

The MPP then chose the name "urian" for its awards An urian is a standard for gold in Tagalog. Gawad, on the other hand, is the Tagalog word for "award." Due to this choice, the Gawad Urian became the first and the only major award-giving body in the Philippines (the others being the FAMAS Awards, the Luna Awards and the Star Awards for Movies) to use the vernacular in awards shows and in the presentation of the awards.

The Gawad Urian is given in twelve categories and have been annually awarded since 1977. In 1988, the awards for the films of 1987 were not held because the MPP deemed that there was a "lack of deserving winners," which was a first in Filipino awards history. The fourteen categories of the awards, named in Tagalog, are the following:

The Gawad Urian also awards the Natatanging Gawad Urian (Gawad Urian Lifetime Achievement Award) to a film artisan whose contributions have helped shape the great Filipino film industry.

In addition to these, the Mga Natatanging Aktor at Aktres ng Dekada (Best Actors and Actresses of the Decade) are given every first year of the decade to actor/s and actress/es who had made outstanding works in the past decade. Here are the recipients of the award:

In 1992, the Gawad Urian gave the Ginintuang Gawad Urian (the Golden Urian Award) to Mike de Leon. It would be the first and the last time that the MPP would give out the award.

The choices: criteria and quality

The MPP, like the Luna Awards of the Film Academy of the Philippines, has criteria in judging the winners of the Gawad Urian.

The Gawad Urian is arguably the most prestigious film award-giving body in the Philippines if the number of scandals and dubious choices are taken in account. For the thirty years that the MPP has existed, it has not been tainted with any accusations of vote buying or scandals that tainted most of its counterparts in the Philippines. This distinction made the Gawad Urian a highly coveted award in the Philippine film industry that is only given to the most deserved winners. If a person wins the Gawad Urian, the person is held in high regard.

The Gawad Urian is also famously known for its curious choices over the hugely popular choices in the Philippine film awards season. For example, in 2005, Dennis Trillo won all of the awards for Best Performance by an Actor in his landmark portrayal in the Japanese occupation drama Aishite Imasu 1941: Mahal Kita but lost out the Gawad Urian to Wendell Ramos for his portrayal in Sabel. In 1999, the most awarded Filipino film of all time, Jose Rizal of GMA Films, lost to Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa and won only 6 Gawad Urians. Before the Gawad Urian, Jose Rizal won at least 10 awards from each of the award giving bodies in the Philippines.

The Gawad Urian is also known for its infamous ties. At a time when the Filipino award-giving bodies were adamant about awarding ties after the FAMAS rock-up in 1972, the Gawad Urian has given ties in the Best Film category (3 ties), Best Screenplay category (1), Best Actress category (6) and Best Supporting Actress category (2), a dozen ties all in all.

Gawad Urian is also known for bolstering the awards radar of several lesser-known films produced by little-known and small independent production companies by awarding them with highly deserved awards that would have been otherwise looked over by the other award-giving bodies. For example, in 2004, Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino, a landmark Filipino drama, was awarded Pinakamahusay na Pelikula (Best Film) by Gawad Urian, while it did not receive a single nomination from any award-giving body that year.

In 2006, the Gawad Urian became the first award-giving body in the Philippine to welcome digital films into competition. Its nominees were swamped with achievement from digital films that year, which prompted the other award-giving bodies to include digital films in its roster of nominations the next year.

Best Films of the Decade (Mga Natatanging Pelikula ng Dekada)

Decade Film Director
1970s Pagdating sa Dulo (1971) Ishmael Bernal
Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974) Lino Brocka
Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (1975) Lino Brocka
Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon (1976) Eddie Romero
Insiang (1976) Lino Brocka
Itim (1976) Mike de Leon
Nunal sa Tubig (1976) Ishmael Bernal
Sakada (1976) Behn Cervantes
Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak (1978) Celso Ad. Castillo
Jaguar (1979) Lino Brocka
1980sCity After Dark (1980) Ishmael Bernal
Kisapmata (1981) Mike de Leon
Batch '81 (1982) Mike de Leon
Himala (1982) Ishmael Bernal
Oro, Plata, Mata (1982) Peque Gallaga
Karnal (1983) Marilou Diaz-Abaya
Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (1984) Lino Brocka
Sister Stella L. (1984) Mike de Leon
Hinugot sa Langit (1985) Ishmael Bernal
Orapronobis (1989) Lino Brocka
1990s Gumapang Ka Sa Lusak (1990) Lino Brocka
The Fatima Buen Story (1994) Mario O'Hara
Wating (1994) Ishmael Bernal
The Flor Contemplacion Story (1995) Joel Lamangan
Milagros (1997) Marilou Diaz-Abaya
Bata, Bata... Paano Ka Ginawa? (1998) Chito Roño
Jose Rizal (1998) Marilou Diaz-Abaya
Bayaning 3rd World (1999) Mike de Leon
Pila-balde (1999) Jeffrey Jeturian
2000s Batang West Side (2001) Lav Diaz
Tuhog (2001) Jeffrey Jeturian
Babae sa Breakwater (2003) Mario O'Hara
Magnifico (2003) Maryo J. de los Reyes
Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino (2004) Lav Diaz
Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (2005) Auraeus Solito
Kubrador (2006) Jeffrey Jeturian
Serbis (2008) Brillante Mendoza
Kinatay (2009) Brillante Mendoza
Lola (2009) Brillante Mendoza


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