Awarded for Excellence in cinematic achievements
Country Philippines
Presented by Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences
First awarded 1953

The Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards (also known as FAMAS Awards) are the annual honors given by the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS), an organization composed of prize-winning writers and movie columnists, for achievements in the Philippine cinema for a calendar year. It should have been proposed that the members of the Academy should nonetheless be the people behind film making themselves (directors, actors, actresses, producers, screenwriters, cinematographers, sound editor, sound technician, make up artists, costume designer etc.) and not prize winning writers nor the columnists not involved, directly or indirectly with the film making as with the other motion picture academy around world most particularly the Hollywood. Members of the academy including avid movie viewers, fans or enthusiasts will cast their votes on who should win the statuettes on different categories they were nominated. Established since 1952, it the oldest existing film industry award-giving body in the Philippines and one of the oldest in Asia (the oldest is the Kinema Junpo Awards in Japan). The FAMAS Awards, from 1952 to 1982, was the highest Filipino film award a filmmaker or artisan could receive in the local movie industry.

In 1982, after the inception of the Film Academy of the Philippines (Luna) Awards, the true Philippine equivalent of the Oscars (where academy members are film professionals who nominate and choose awardees of the year) was mandated by the Philippine government, FAMAS was unofficially relegated as secondary to Luna Awards. Nevertheless, winning a FAMAS Award is still held in high regard because of its age and prestige.

The FAMAS Award is one of the highly distinguished film award bodies in the country. Others included are the Luna Awards (Film Academy), the Gawad Urian Awards of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Filipino Film Critics), and the Star Awards for Movies and Television by the Philippine Movie Press Club. Winning all four of the awards in one category for the same work is considered as winning a "Grand Slam".


The Maria Clara Awards

The forerunner of the FAMAS Award was the Maria Clara Awards, established by the Manila Times Publishing, Inc. under the tutelage of Dr. Alejandro Roces in 1951. The first awards in the Philippine movie industry were doled out for the movies of 1950-1951 and for the year 1952. The award statuette, which bore the figure of Maria Clara, a character in Dr. José Rizal's immortal novel Noli Me Tangere, was sculpted by National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo Tolentino. For two years, the Maria Clara Awards honored the Philippine movie industry's cinematic achievements .

Establishment of FAMAS

Due to the complaints that the Maria Clara Awards were irrelevant because movie writers and not film artisans and filmmakers are the ones who are voting for the awards, seven writers (Atty. Flavio G. Macaso, Vic Generoso, Mario Mijares Lopez, Clemente Roxas, Paulo Dizon, Amado Yasoma and Eddie Infante) established the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences. The FAMAS Awards formally replaced the Maria Clara Awards. In its inception, FAMAS had movie writers, columnists and studio publicists as its voting members.

The Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences bestows the FAMAS Award of Merit to individuals who have used their skills and craftsmanship to the best of their abilities for the development and creation of a Filipino motion picture. FAMAS was somewhat designed after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) of the United States and was originally named Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of the Philippines before AMPAS protested against the usage of their name.

The statuette

The FAMAS Award of Merit statuette was modeled from the great screen legend and FAMAS Award-winner Rosa Rosal. The varnished gold-painted wood statuette boasts of a Balintawak-clad woman whose raised hands holds a four-spoke film reel. She stands on a black cylindrical pedestal, which is encircled with a thin gold leaf that bears the initials and full name of FAMAS in big black letters, the awards ceremony, the category in which it was won, the name of the winner, the place where it was given and the signature of the FAMAS President. The statuette design itself has never changed over the years.

The word FAMAS was coined by Filipino movie legends Jaime de la Rosa and Rosa Rosal, who decided on naming the Philippines' equivalent to the Oscars as FAME. FAMAS is the Filipino version (not a translation) of the word FAME.


Nora Aunor and Sharon Cuneta at the 33rd FAMAS Awards both won the coveted Best Actress Award in 1985

The FAMAS was the sole award-giving body for film in the Philippines from 1952 until 1976. Within that period, FAMAS alone has awarded the most outstanding performers and craftsmen of Filipino films, from screen legend Rosa Rosal to master director Gerardo de Leon. Winning a FAMAS Award became the motivation for many film craftsmen, for it was, after all, the Philippines' only counterpart of the Oscars. The awards itself, then held mostly at the Manila Hotel, the oldest premiere hotel of Manila, became the biggest annual event in the Philippine movie industry.

First major controversy

In 1960, Sampaguita Pictures and Vera-Perez Productions withdrew their participation from the Academy because the agreement between producers on who receives the FAMAS Awards was not followed. The agreement was that each of the Big Four studios (LVN Pictures, Sampaguita Pictures, Premiere Productions and Lebran International) would receive the top awards. For example, if the Best Picture goes to one studio, the acting awards should go the other three studios and the directing award should go to another studio. The 1960 FAMAS Awards, nevertheless, failed to honor Sampaguita Pictures with an award, so Sampaguita Pictures and its sister company Vera-Perez Productions withdrew from the Academy. In addition, Sampaguita's mogul, Dr. Jose Perez, returned all of the FAMAS Awards that the studio have won so far by placing them on public view in his Vera-Perez Gardens. Other movie studios also withdrew from the Academy, though they did not return their statuettes. Because of this, in 1961, the FAMAS revamped its membership rules and removed studio representation membership, which left the FAMAS with solely movie writers and columnists.

Emergence of other awards

After a Best Actress tie controversy in 1973 which drew dissension from the public (see FAMAS Records below), FAMAS invited film critics as members of its nominating and awarding committee. These critics left FAMAS in 1976 to form the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (MPP) (or the Filipino Film Critics) and subsequently established the Gawad Urian Awards.

The FAMAS's epithet, "Philippines' counterpart of the Oscars," was rescinded by the government in 1981, when it established the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) under Executive Order No. 640-A. The FAP was patterned after the AMPAS. In addition, other award-giving bodies have sprung up over the years, among the most notable are the Star Awards for Movies in 1985, the Catholic Mass Media Awards of the Catholic Church, the Young Critics Circle Film Desk in 1990, and recently, the Golden Screen Awards of the Entertainment Press.

Restructuring of 2003

In 2003, the Best Actress Award of the 51st FAMAS Awards went to Aleck Bovick for a role in a "bold" (soft-porn) movie, Tampisaw, much to the chagrin of some people in the industry. Many people, including previous FAMAS winner Amalia Fuentes, felt FAMAS had killed itself when it gave a FAMAS to Bovick. Nevertheless, FAMAS did its own cleansing. FAMAS President Art Padua restructured the FAMAS by inviting more Palanca Award-winners (Pulitzer Prize of the Philippines) to the Academy and dismissing members who have gone AWOL.

Leadership Crisis and Revocation of SEC

On May 6, 2003, due to non-compliance with reportorial requirements, the corporate charter of the FAMAS was revoked by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This move of the SEC gave FAMAS three years to wind-up its activities. This move also prohibited the staging of an awards night, which is the major activity of the FAMAS. Nevertheless, under the presidency of Art Padua, the FAMAS was able to stage the 52nd and 53rd FAMAS Awards.

In 2004, fifteen new members of the FAMAS were allowed by FAMAS president Art Padua to vote on the annual elections. This was questioned by some members of the FAMAS, some of which are lifetime members of the corporation, who then walked out of the election. FAMAS president Art Padua considered this as a resignation from the corporation, which sparked further unrest in the corporation.

On June 25, 2005, Col. Jimmy Tiu was elected unanimously by 34 of the 53 members of the FAMAS. Nevertheless, Art Padua did not acknowledge the results of the voting, and he considered the elected officers as the "FAMAS breakaway group." This leadership crisis would have a tremendous effect on the 54th FAMAS Awards.

In April 2006, the FAMAS, as represented by Art Padua, released the Official Nominees for the Awards, and on the next months had released the date and venue of the awards. On July 15, the day of the awards night, a 72-hour temporary restraining order was issued by Judge Felixberto Olalia of Manila Regional Trial Court against Art Padua and his set of officers from holding the 54th FAMAS Awards Night. The ruling favored Col. Tiu, the president of the breakaway group. The order was issued because, as presented by Col. Tiu, FAMAS ceased to exist as a registered organization of the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 26, 2003. As a SEC non-registered organization, all the FAMAS could do was to hold "winding-up activities" which does not include an awards night. This led to the postponement of the 54th FAMAS Awards night.

In order to go around the SEC restriction of holding the FAMAS Awards, FAMAS decided to resurrect the Maria Clara Awards in order to continue the long legacy of the still-beleaguered FAMAS and to continue awarding Filipino motion picture excellence. In holding the Maria Claras instead of the FAMAS, the FAMAS indeed does not hold its primary and only function, which is the holding of an awards night, which is not therefore a violation of the SEC ruling. The Maria Clara Awards were held on October 13, 2006 in a simple and humble event at Golden Fortune Restaurant in Manila. In retrospect, the FAMAS would not be awarded until the leadership crisis and the registration revocation issues of the corporation are not resolved.

Nevertheless, the group of Art Padua still held the 54th FAMAS Awards on November 12, 2006 at the Main Hall of the National Broadcasting Network Building in Quezon City, despite the SEC ruling against holding an awards night. The awards night set a trend because it is the first awards night in Philippine history to be shown as a feature of another TV program (Pilipinas, Ngayon Na of NBN Channel 4) instead of being a television special.

In 2007, just right before the 55th FAMAS Awards, the Supreme Court of the Philippines finally resolved the leadership crisis of FAMAS and handed the leadership to Art Padua, who is currently the longest-reigning president in the history of the Academy. An appeal to the Court of Appeals by Col. Tiu is still pending though.

Gabi ng Parangal (The Awards Night)

The FAMAS' Gabi ng Parangal (Awards Night) is the most colorful night of the Philippine motion picture industry. It is here where the bigwigs of the movie industry, the brightest stars and the most talented artisans of the industry gather together and showcase their best clothing finds right in front of their fans and televiewers. Various Filipino famous fashion designers have clothed the best of Philippine cinema during these events. This is also the night when movie kings and queens finally get their due for their artistry in the field of acting, and where the greatest minds of Filipino film finally get their own "Oscar," or in this case, their FAMAS.

The Gabi ng Parangal has been hosted by various locations such as the Manila Hotel, Araneta Coliseum, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Manila Hilton Hotel, to name a few. It has also been carried by different television networks such as RPN-9 and ABS-CBN 2. It was televised live from the carrier station until the 21st century, when it was aired at delayed telecasts due to difficulties in airing the program live.


Current Awards

FAMAS Awards of Merit

Special Awards

The FAMAS also awards thirteen special awards, the most for any award-giving body in the Philippines. These awards, except for the Hall of Fame, Circle of Excellence, Natatanging Alagad ng Sining and Huwarang Bituin ng FAMAS awards, are awarded annually:

Retired Awards

One-time FAMAS Awards

FAMAS Hall of Famers

"Best Directors"

"Best Actors"

"Best Actress"

"Best Supporting Actor"

"Best Story"

"Best Editing"

  • Edgardo Vinarao (1994)

"Best Musical Score"

"Best Producer"

"Best Sound Recording"

  • Angel Avellana (1982)

FAMAS records


|(Note: Ms. Vivian Velez already appeared in the 1975 film Andalucia co-starring her with the late Fernando Poe, Jr. and has an entry in the 1977 Metro Manila Film Festival, Babae... Ngayon at Kailanman, under Joey Gosiengfiao's direction co-starring her with Charito Solis, Gloria Diaz, Chanda Romero, Dindo Fernando, Ronaldo Valdez, and Tommy Abuel. So, if she was born on May 21, 1968 (according to her profile at Wikipedia), she was only 7 years old when she appeared at Andalucia and 9 years old in 1977. Her contemporaries were Elizabeth Oropesa (born July 17, 1954), Chanda Romero (born March 6, 1954), Gloria Diaz (born May 10, 1951), and Alma Moreno (born May 25, 1959). Lorna Tolentino (born December 23, 1961), Rio Locsin (born May 22, 1961), and Amy Austria (born December 13, 1961) were much younger than her.

Ms. Vivian Velez's birthday could be May 21, 1958 (not 1968), and if we follow this, she was already 28 years old when she received her first award as Best Actress in 1986 for Paradise Inn, and was 24 years old when was first nominated in 1982 for Ang Babaeng Hinugot Sa Aking Tadyang.

If we then follow the true and legal age of the nominees and winners, it was Vilma Santos (born Nov. 3, 1963) who is the actual youngest nominee and winner for Best Actress for Dama de Noche in 1972 at the age of 19.)|

Superlative Best Actress
Actress with most awards Charito Solis
Vilma Santos
Nora Aunor
Actress with most nominations Nora Aunor 17
Actress with most nominations
without ever winning
Bea Alonzo
Pilar Pilapil
Oldest Winner Gloria Romero 67
Oldest Nominee Gloria Romero 67
Youngest Winner Vivian Velez 18
Youngest Nominee Vivian Velez 16
Actor with most awards Joseph Estrada
Fernando Poe Jr.
Christopher De Leon
Eddie Garcia
Actor with most nominations Fernando Poe Jr. 15
Oldest Winner Armando Goyena 80
Oldest Nominee Armando Goyena 80
Youngest Winner Christopher De Leon 19
Youngest Nominee Cogie Domingo 16
Director with most awards Gerardo de Leon 7
Director with most nominations Gerardo de Leon
Lino Brocka
Director with most nominations without ever winning Armando Garces 11
Performer with most Circle of Excellence awards Vilma Santos 2
Oldest Winner Eddie Garcia 69
Youngest Winner Lino Brocka 32
Most consecutive wins Gerardo de Leon 3
Most consecutive nominations Cesar Gallardo 10

External links

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