Postscript to MMFF awards: What was the matter with ‘Family Matters’?

MMFF Awards Family Matters
"Family Matters" poster

We were right, after all.

We’re no psychic, only an ordinary moviegoer, so we claim nothing except our daring to look beyond the rainbow.

We fearlessly predicted that Nadine Lustre would win as Best Actress in the 48th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) for her portrayal in Viva Films’ “Deleter” of a digital content manager who screens and deletes materials on social media—and it came true.

MMFF Awards Nadine
Best Actress: Nadine Lustre —PHOTOS BY TEDDY PELAEZ

Nadine won the award as a visceral thespian worth her salt although there are comments that the thriller effects in “Deleter” appear forced, even if its director, Mikhail Red, managed to gather all the elements of a techno horror film.

But my auguring tendencies were thwarted when it came to Cineko Productions’ “Family Matters.” I predicted that Noel Trinidad would bag the Best Actor plum for his multilayered interpretation and representation of a family patriarch wanting to maintain closeness of kinship and the purpose of his filial leadership—but is challenged by his own limitations.

I also predicted that “Family Matters” and its director, Nuel Naval, would take home the Best Film and Best Director awards, respectively. But the film harvested nothing in the accolade department except for the Gat Antonio Villegas Cultural Award, leading critics, show biz insiders and ordinary folks to complain about the results of the race.


On social media, Agot Isidro, a member of the cast, said the Florencio “family” was in attendance at the “Gabi ng Parangal” (awards night) but went home disappointed that the film’s various aspects were ignored. But she expressed appreciation for the recognition given to it in memory of Antonio J. Villegas, the former mayor of Manila and the originator of the Manila Film Festival, the MMFF’s precursor. 

“About last night (Dec. 27) … Nagsama-sama ang pamilya Florencio kagabi except kay Mommy & Daddy. Umuwi ng medyo disappointed na hindi napansin man lang ang ibat ibang aspeto ng aming pelikula. Although salamat sa Gat Villegas Cultural Award. Much appreciated,” Agot wrote.

It’s intriguing that “Family Matters” didn’t even land among the three top winners in the Best Picture category (“Deleter,” “Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told,” second best, and “Nanahimik ang Gabi,” third best).  

Respected critic and entertainment journalist Pablo Tariman wrote: “Why the film was not even nominated for best film and its acting ensemble totally ignored was a big question mark…” According to Pablo, the film is the best of all the entries, with audiences and critics in close agreement.


Veteran movie writer Mario Bautista, a former member of the prestigious Manununuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, protested: “An injustice has been done.”

Bitchy show biz news columnist Alwyn Ignacio said the awards would have been “more credible” had “Family Matters” emerged among the Best Picture winners. But he hailed the recognition given Rein Entertainment’s “Nanahimik ang Gabi” as one of the best pictures. 

Cinema Bravo, one of the most credible and accessible online film guides, praised the film saying, “The acting ensemble of ‘Family Matters’ is just GOLD!”

One news item carried the blurb that the film “won the heart of the masses but was ignored by the jurors”: “‘Family Matters’ wagi sa puso ng masa, nilaglag ng mga hurado.”

Two of the film’s stars were ecstatic about their project. 

Mylene Dizon gushed that movie houses were filled to the rafters, that she cried tears of happiness upon reading reports about their film, that there were laughter, tears, and applause:  “Puno ang sinehan! Naiyak ako sa tuwa sa mga nababasa ko tungkol sa aming pelikulang ‘Family Matters.’ Tawanan, iyakan, palakpakan…” 

Nikki Valdez, in “shar[ing] my personal experience in watching our film ‘Family Matters’ today with my family,” wrote that the audience erupted in applause at the end: “Literal na pumapalakpak ang audience sa ending.” 


The panel of jurors for the 48th MMFF Awards was chaired by Laurice Guillen. The members were scriptwriter Racquel Villavicencio, MAVX film producer Erwin “Lucky” Blanco, Congressmen Dan Fernandez and Jojo Garcia, National Commission for Culture and the Arts official Ino Manalo, Cultural Center of the Philippines executive Alex Cortez, and Film Development Council of the Philippines chair Tirso Cruz III.

Commenting on the public’s reaction to the supposed awards fiasco, MMFF spokesperson Noel Ferrer said it was a matter of varying stances: “Kanya-kanyang taste yan. Kanya-kanyang choices.” 

One distinctive award, the Special Jury Prize, wasn’t given at the Gabi ng Parangal. It was only later that the MMFF released a statement through Ferrer that “Mamasapano: Now It Can be Told” had won the prize.

“The announcement came late due to the technical glitch during the recently concluded awards night. However, the MMFF Board of Jurors decided to give the CAST OF THE FILM the Special Jury Prize because of its effective ensemble acting portraying the valor and heroism of young Filipinos fighting the war against terrorism,” Ferrer said.

Meanwhile, in the box-office battle, I predicted that ABS-CBN Film Productions and Viva Films’ co-production, “Partners in Crime,” starring Vice Ganda and Ivana Alawi, would be the top grosser. At the festival opening on Christmas Day, the film reportedly raked in a whopping P31 million.

 At this writing, the comedy has maintained its lead at the box office. An unofficial tally lists the top three earners as: “Partners in Crime,” P86 million; “Deleter,” P58 million; and “Family Matters,” P32 million.

MMFF Awards Ian
Best actor: Ian Veneracion (and Nadine Lustre)

Here are the other winners: “My Father, Myself,” Best Float; Shawn Niño Gabriel in “My Father, Myself,” Best Child Performer; “Deleter,” Best Sound; Greg Rodriguez III in “Nanahimik ang Gabi,” Best Musical Score; “Ang Aking Mahal” in “Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told,” Best Original Theme Song; “Deleter,” Best Visual Effects; “Nanahimik ang Gabi,” Best Production Design; Nikolas Red in “Deleter,” Best Editing; “Deleter,” Best Cinematography; “My Teacher,” Gender Sensitivity; Ian Veneracion and Nadine Lustre, Stars of the Night; Vilma Santos-Recto, Marichu Vera-Perez Memorial Award; “Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told,” Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award.

Best Supporting Actor: Mon Confiado, “Nanahimik Ang Gabi.”

“Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told,” Best Screenplay; Dimples Romana in “My Father, Myself,” Best Supporting Actress; Mon Confiado in “Nanahimik ang Gabi,” Best Supporting Actor; Mikhail Red in “Deleter,” Best Director; and Ian Veneracion in “Nanahimik ang Gabi,” Best Actor.

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