MANILA—Even he knew that Aga Muhlach, the star of "Miracle in Cell No. 7," was the favorite to win best actor.
"Hindi ko talaga ine-expect na ako ang mananalo," acknowledged Allen Dizon, who was ultimately given the award in Friday night's Gabi ng Parangal for his performance in "Mindanao."
Dizon plays a soldier whose daughter has cancer in the Brillante Mendoza movie, which dominated the MMFF 2019 awards night. "Mindanao" won 11 awards, with "Miracle in Cell No. 7" receiving none.
The most shocking result was Muhlach's loss, though Dizon said he is sharing the trophy with his co-nominees.
"Itong award na ito, para sa kanila rin — Aga, Rocco [Nacino], lahat ng actors na alam kong ibinigay nila ang best nila," he said, adding that he hopes his surprise win will lead to curious moviegoers buying tickets to their film.
He explained that the success of "Mindanao" could lead to more producers willing to fund movies promoting local culture.
"Kasi iyong mga gusto pang manood, wala silang mapuntahan na mga sinehan. So, sana, dagdagan nila iyong mga sinehan," Dizon said.
His co-star, Judy Ann Santos, who won best actress, expressed her disappointment over the lack of cinemas showing "Mindanao."
Likewise, Mendoza, shared the same grievances during the awards night over the yearly problem of mall owners hastily removing underperforming movies at the box office for popular ones.
"Mindanao" was produced by Center Stage Production.