MANILA - Angel Aquino won her very first Gawad Urian on Tuesday for her acclaimed role as the love interest of a young girl in the film "Ang Huling Cha Cha ni Anita".
Speaking with reporters after the ceremony, the 41-year-old actress couldn't contain her excitement over getting the award, which she believes "legitimizes" herself as a member of the film industry.
Angel Aquino clutches her first-ever Gawad Urian trophy. Photo by Jonathan L. Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com
"I am one of the happiest people on earth. I cannot explain how happy I am. Siguro nung pag upo ko kanina, mga isang oras pa siyang nag-stay sa akin. It was overwhelming," she said.
Aquino was nominated twice in the Best Supporting Actress category. Her "more difficult" role in the Adolf Alix, Jr. film "Porno" was also recognized by members of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, the organizers of the Gawad Urian.
"It felt so surreal competing against yourself," she admitted. "Pero also it gives me so much honor. They could have just chosen one but they chose to recognize me for both performances and I am very grateful for that."
In "Porno," Aquino plays a trans woman whose passion lies in collecting pornographic films. She described the experience of shooting the film as nauseating but fulfilling.
"Mahirap siya. Just the idea, it's hard to swallow for me because unang una, hindi ako lalaki, hindi ko alam kung paano," she said.
In contrast, her winning role in "Ang Huling Cha Cha ni Anita" saw her portray a village beauty, who became the love interest of 12-year-old Anita, played by newcomer Teri Malvar.
"It tackles women's issues but in a very light manner and that's what I like about the movie. Kahit mabibigat na issues ang pinaguusapan at pinapapakita, lahat tumatawa," she said.
Aquino praised her Malvar, who earned her first Gawad Urian nod for her role as the lovestruck girl struggling with her sexuality.
"It was very challenging knowing that she's in a very delicate time in her life," she said, referring to Malvar's character.
Aquino also heaped praise on independent films for dominating this year's list of nominees, led by Best Picture winner "Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan."
"That means that a lot of independently produced films are being done very well, written very well and that is being seen. They just keep on doing what they're doing," she said.