Cinemalaya 2018 Awards Predictions

Cinemalaya 2018 is about to end with the awards ceremony this evening. Every year, after watching all films, it’s fun to speculate who will end up with the wins (Hint: I’m usually wrong). Can I make it three for three for best supporting actress?


ML seems poised for the big win

Best Picture


COULD WIN: Pan De Salawal, Liway

ML is one of the most unique movies I’ve watched in Cinemalaya, and it’s probably the most timely too. The festival has a tendency to favor these types of films for the big win; it only depends on how much the voters support it. Liway and Pan De Salawal are crowd favorites as well and might pull in enough votes.

Best Director


COULD WIN Che Espiritu, Pan de Salawal

The visceral experience of watching ML is difficult to achieve. A couple of missteps and it wouldn’t have worked, so credits to director Benedict Mique for making the right choices. Pan de Salawal juggles several intertwining storylines that would be challenging to work out, but Che Espiritu makes it all feel seamless.

Best Actor

WILL WIN : Eddie Garcia, ML

COULD WIN: Nonie Buencamino, Distance

SHOULD WIN: Dante Rivero, Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon

Eddie Garcia is a respected and revered actor who’s the obvious favorite to win, but I think he lacks the material for it. Nonie Buencamino in Distance shines in several emotive scenes. But if push comes to shove, I hope the underrated Dante Rivero bags his second Balanghai trophy for his restrained performance in Dapithapon.

Best Actress

WILL AND SHOULD WIN: Celeste Legaspi, Mamang

COULD WIN: Iza Calzado, Distance; Perla Bautista, Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon

Celeste Legazpi in truth carries her film. As I mentioned in my review, she owns the role and it’s hard to imagine another actress playing Mamang. Her charisma will carry her to the podium. Iza Calzado’s role is as meaty as it gets, and she has the gravitas to back it up. Like Dante Rivero, Perla Bautista competes against more popular names, but her Teresa is just as compelling.

Best Supporting Actor

WILL AND SHOULD WIN: Menggie Cobarrubias, Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon

COULD WIN: Ketchup Eusebio, Mamang; Kenken Nuyad (Liway); JM Salvado (Musmos Na Sumibol Sa Gubat Ng Digma)

Ketchup Eusebio is an assuring presence in Mamang and plays off well with Celeste Legaspi. Child actors Kenken Nuyad (Liway) and JM Salvado (Musmos) have a fighting chance if their films end up really well liked. But Menggie Cobarrubias is poised for the win here for playing the endearing Celso.

Best Supporting Actress

WILL AND SHOULD WIN: Therese Malvar, Distance

COULD WIN: Yayo Aguila, The Lookout; Madeleine Nicolas, Pan de Salawal

There’s no question who deserves the best supporting actress win this year. I’m betting all my cards on Therese Malvar who gives one hell of a performance in Distance. The only one who has a slim chance is last year’s winner Yayo Aguila as a battered wife in The Lookout. Too bad her chances are severely hurt by belonging to a critically panned film. Madeleine Nicolas has a memorable role, but it’s too one-note.

Best Screenplay

WILL WIN: Kip Oebanda and Zig Dulay, Liway

COULD WIN: Che Espiritu, Pan de Salawal

SHOULD WIN: John Carlo Pacala, Dapithapon

This seems like the best place to award Liway. After all, Zig Dulay bagged the win last year for Bagahe, and Kip Oebanda co-wrote the film based on his real-life childhood story. “Lights off” will become an iconic line thanks to their screenplay. Pan de Salawal though reworked the miracle film and played with its tropes. Its climactic scenes are so cheesy yet they work! But it’s the melancholic Dapithapon that has the most coherent screenplay for me. The tone and pacing of its scenes are impeccable.

Best Editing


COULD WIN: Kuya Wes, Distance

I think this is one of the easiest categories to predict. ML’s editing is top-notch. Every beat is on point. There is no misplaced scene. Its genre demands it and it delivers. You get the gist! Kuya Wes’ editing though is a bit more playful and will have its fans. Distance on the other hand seamlessly intertwines flashbacks to its main narrative and deserves some kudos.

Best Cinematography

WILL AND SHOULD WIN: Musmos Na Sumibol Sa Gubat Ng Digma

COULD WIN: Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon, The Lookout

This is another easy one! Just from watching the opening credits alone, Musmos will win. It’s made full use of its lush locations in creating breathtaking shots. I don’t think any other film comes close, but Dapithapon’s opening and closing scenes have that picturesque quality as well, while The Lookout looks consistently crisp and well-framed.

Best Production Design

WILL AND SHOULD WIN: Musmos Na Sumibol Sa Gubat Ng Digma


Musmos is poised to bag the cinematography-PD combo. It’s the only one set in a rural backdrop and requires unique costumes. Logistically, ML’s torture scenes have a lot of elements it needs to set up — blood splatters for one could be a continuity nightmare — and could be rewarded for it.

Best Sound

WILL AND SHOULD WIN: Musmos Na Sumibol Sa Gubat Ng Digma


Musmos’ ambient outdoor sounds are difficult to manage, so it deserves some credit for pulling it off. But at the same time ML is a serious contender for effectively using sound to build tension throughout the film.

Best Original Music Score



Guitar string scores are particularly overused in Cinemalaya. It’s there in Maximo Oliveros, and it’s still there in the 2018 entries. ML breaks the trend here. It even includes original work from Mike Hanopol, whose music complements the film really well and helps give it a cool vibe. The only other film that I remember distinctly on this regard is Kuya Wes, whose soundtrack could be released as an OST album.


Sa Saiyang Isla is a surprise hit that is sure to pull your heartstrings

Best Picture


COULD WIN: Jodilerks dela Cruz, Employee of the Month

Sa Saiyang Isla came as a huge surprise. While the story is very simple, it has a lot of heart and funny bits too. This charming film about love, compassion, and family deserves to be recognized. Jodilerks is well-crafted and expressionistic and has the potential to snag a win.

Best Director

WILL AND SHOULD WIN: You, Me & Mr. Wiggles

COULD WIN: Jodilerks dela Cruz, Employee of the Month

Taken in one long shot from one angle, You, Me & Mr. Wiggles is a complicated shoot (imagine the blocking rehearsals!), but director Jav Velasco makes it look easy. This stylistic choice adds to the voyeuristic feel of the audience peeking at the main characters’ sex life. Jodilerks is another strong contender here for its sustained psychedelic energy.

Best Screenplay

WILL AND SHOULD WIN: Jodilerks dela Cruz, Employee of the Month

COULD WIN: Nangungupahan

Carlo Francisco Manatad is already an expert in world-building, and his vision is always quirky and unique. Remember last year’s Fatima Marie Torres? Jodilerks has that same feel and humor, and I hope he gets it this time. Nangungupahan may feel like an experiment on film form, but it’s a clever interweaving of multiple thematic storylines.

How about you? Which films do you think will win? Who are your bets? We’ll find out in a couple of hours! Congratulations to all films for another successful year.

Image source:, Cinemalaya, Viddsee

2 thoughts on “Cinemalaya 2018 Awards Predictions”

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