BY: ALVIN DELA CRUZ BERNARDINO
36 years after bagging her very first Urian trophy for Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, Nora Aunor remains the epitome of genuine artistry….. Recalling the inaugural awarding rites of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, an elite group of film critics, academicians and esteemed professionals in the country, one could not help but wonder how in the world this phenomenal pop star managed to get the nods of film critics considering the very tough competition she faced that year. Yes, in my book, 1976 was a great year for local films and performers as the second Golden Age in Philippine Cinema saw the light in that year.
Nora was listed in what is considered the strongest batch of Best Actress nominees in the history of local cinema… Lolita Rodriguez for “Lunes, Martes, Miyerkules…”, Hilda Koronel and Mona Lisa for “Insiang”, Daria Ramirez for “Nunal sa Tubig” and Charo Santos for “Itim”. Hilda’s Insiang already won for her the lead acting plum and Mona Lisa the supporting actress honors in the 1976 Metro Manila Film Festival. It was an almost unanimous decision of the Manunuri: Nora Aunor is the best of the year. Her Rosario in the war drama directed by Mario O’Hara is an ill-fated character that relied on the instinctive acting skills of a young Aunor. The role is perhaps one of the most difficult and most complex ever created for the silver screen. And amazingly, Nora matched the demands of the role with unbelievable depth and sensitivity. She became the toast of the industry and of the film critics who boldly admitted that Urian was created because of Nora Aunor and Nora Aunor became a much more committed serious actress because of that recognition by the Manunuri. True enough.
Jump to 2013: More than three decades after that historic acting triumph of Nora Aunor and sixteen years after her last Urian win (winning in 1976, 1980, 1989, 1990, 1995 and 1996 and with a record number of 17 best actress nominations since 1976), she once again reunited with the Manunuri – now clutching her seventh Urian prize for best lead actress for her internationally acclaimed film Thy Womb. Much has been said about her Shaleha portrayal. If I may quote Manunuri Chair Tito Valiente in his review of Thy Womb --- “Nora Aunor is the AVATAR of truth as depicted in the film”.
1976 and 2012 --- two significant years in the acting career of Nora Aunor… Two important years that underscored her contribution to Philippine cinema in the eyes of the country’s premier film critics… In her speech after being proclaimed 2012 Urian Best Actress, Aunor never forgot to thank the Manunuri for recognizing her artistry -- adding that it is much sweeter and fulfilling for an artist to be recognized in his native land.
The Manunuri hailed Nora in 1977 believing that as a film artist, she was bound for greater greatness and that she was capable of reaching the highest high in her chosen field… This 2013, the Manunuri hailed Nora anew… This time, they express pride and appreciation of what Aunor has achieved in the name of ARTISTRY… This time, it is no longer the Manunuri alone who honor Aunor… They now share it with the Filipino nation and the world that have been amazed by the GENIUS that is NORA AUNOR.