MANILA -- Indie film actress Angeli Bayani was at a loss for words after being named Best Actress over heavy favorites Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos at the 37th Gawad Urian held Tuesday.
Bayani, who was admittedly shocked when her name was called out, won the award for her role in the independent film "Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan," which was directed by Lav Diaz.
Indie actress Angeli Bayani receives her Best Actress award at the 37th Gawad Urian held on June 17. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com
Clutching her trophy, Bayani asked reporters after the ceremony if she was merely dreaming the moment.
"Hindi ko ma-put into to words na mapabilang ka sa ganitong klaseng arena. Nakaka-humble, nakakaloka siya," she said.
The theater artist was among the 10 nominees for Best Actress, which also included other screen veterans such as Cherie Gil, Rustica Carpio, Eugene Domingo and Lorna Tolentino.
"Sa totoo lang, to be nominated is an honor in itself. Feeling ko lalagnatin ako kasi nung una pa lang silang naglabas ng nominations, naloka na ako eh kasi, really?" she shared.
Asked why she didn't prepare an acceptance speech for such an occasion, Bayani quipped: "How could you? Hindi mo inaasahan eh. Hindi talaga ako makapaniwala na narinig ko 'yung pangalan ko. Para siyang panaginip."
In "Norte," Bayani plays the a wife of Joaquin, played by Archie Alemania, who was wrongfully accused of murder carried out by the character of the film's other lead star Sid Lucero.
Both Lucero and Alemania received nods for the annual critics' awards but lost out to Joel Torre ("On The Job") and Junjun Quinatana ("A Philippino Story"), respectively.
The four-hour historical drama has been well-received by critics -- both locally and internationally.
It was among the favorites of last year's 66th Cannes Film Festival and has since figured prominently in worldwide polls listing the best films of 2013. It also bagged the top prize at the Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival in Germany.
With the recognition the film has been getting abroad, Bayani hopes Filipinos will become more curious about independent films, saying the film's Best Picture win at this year's Gawad Urian is a leap forward towards that direction.
"Napaka-select few lang ng nakakaalam at nakaka-appreciate ng mga pelikula niya kaya nung nanomina ako dito, sapat na sa akin 'yung nalagay kami sa mapa ng mainstream," she said.