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LOS ANGELES – Yes, Virginia. There are two Filipino Americans and one Filipino Canadian who have been nominated to this year's Academy Awards or the Oscars to be held on February 24.


And if any one of them win, they will follow the record of the lone FilAm Oscar winner, composer and songwriter Robert Lopez who created the Oscar winning original songs "Let It Go" for the movie "Frozen" in 2014 and "Remember Me" for the movie "Coco" in 2018.


Leading the FilAm nominees is Matthew Libatique who was nominated for best cinematography for his critically acclaimed work as the director of photography of the movie “A Star is Born” which stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.


 Libatique, who was born and raised to Filipino-American parents in Queens, New York, got his first Oscar nomination in 2011 for his work for the movie “Black Swan” which starred Natalie Portman.


Also nominated were Bobby Pontillas and Trevor Jimenez and are competing against each other for the best animated short category.


Libatique has been in Hollywood for 20 years. He started shooting music videos for music artists like 98 Degrees, Dru Hill, Jay-Z and The Cranberries.


In 1998, he started collaborating with film director Darren Aronofsky in doing the movies. Their collaboration produced the movies "Pi," "Requiem for A Dream," "Black Swan" and "Mother."


Libatique also became the cinematographer of the movies "Iron Man 2," "Straight Outta Compton" and "Chi-Raq."


Pontillas co-directed “One Small Step” while Jimenez made “Weekends,” which was based on his own childhood experiences.


In animation feature film, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” also got the Oscar nod. The movie’s story was by Filipina Josie Trinidad and Cesar Velasquez headed its special effects team.


Competing in the same category is “Spider-verse” which features Filipina-American Hailee Steinfeld, who voiced the lead female character in the movie.


The movie’s animation team includes Filipino talents Louie del Carmen, Ryan Rubi and John Butiu.


Trevor Jimenez is a Filipino-Canadian nominated for the category Best Animated Short Film for "Weekends." It is his first Oscar nomination.


Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Jimenez was part of Pixar co-op program which develops animated short and helps animators and background painting.


A nephew of veteran entertainment writer Baby K. Jimenez, Trevor has collaborated with other Pixar artists in the animations Monsters University, Inside Out, Finding Dory, Coco and Bao.


Jimenez also collaborated in the animated films "Rio" and "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax."


Pontillas said he is originally from Bremerton, Washington and now lives in Glendale, California.


He said he worked in the animation industry for companies like Disney (‘Frozen,’ ‘Zootopia’, ‘Moana’), Blue Sky (‘Rio’), and ArenaNet. He said he was a co-director and art director for the first short film, ‘One Small Step’.”


The first American actress with Filipino descent who was nominated in acting category was Hailey Steinfeld.


She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the 2010 film "True Grit."


In 2015, Fil-American Ronnie del Carmen was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for the animated film,” Inside Out".


For Best Live Action Short Film, Fil-American Pia Clemente was nominated in 2005 for "Our Time Is Up."

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(Photo from Instagram | @popsfernandezofficial)


Actress and singer Pops Fernandez is back in the global stage.


Pops, who is Maria Cielito "Pops" Lukban Fernandez in real life, has been chosen as one of the 50 Wall of the World judges in the  American talent show on CBS "The World's Best" whose pilot episode will air on February 3, 2019 on CBS.


The singer-actress herself announced her participation in the show thru social media, specifically on Instagram.


And her former husband, singer Martin Nievera, said he was happy for the new development in her career.


"I'm very, very proud," Martin said at a press conference. "I want the whole country to know how proud I am and how proud we should be that in 'The World's Best' talent search, this is the first of its kind."


"It's not anymore the best in America, the best in the UK, the best in the Philippines; these are the best talents in the world," Martin added.


"Pops was chosen to represent the Philippines as one of the 50 experts from around the world," he said.


In a published report in Manila, Martin revealed that he was actually also considered to be part of the global experts of "The World's Best."


"They have a whole list of people na choices. So I went on FaceTime audition, which I've never done, and they asked me these questions and I was just being myself... I gave my schedule and it just so happened that every day of the taping for the show I have concert in different cities. So I tried to get out of my commitment but it was too late. ...So this is what happened," Martin explained.


The report added that Martin was was asked if there's anyone else he knows who could take on the role.


"I said Pops Fernandez, and he says, 'My God, she's also on the list. How do you know her?' And I said, 'How do I know her? Well we have two kids.' 


"They actually said, 'Can you both do it.' They want us both to be there as judges. I said, 'I really, really cannot.' So they spoke to Pops straight and they were able to fix her schedules so that she can be there," Martin disclosed.


 “I am so excited to announce that i will be one of the 50 #WalloftheWorld judges representing the Philippines in the biggest and the best new show... The Worlds Best!!!!" Pops wrote on Instagram. "It'll be hosted by award winning James Corden with 3 superstar judges... Drew Barrymore, RuPaul and Faith Hill."


"I also got to work with 49 of the best talents from all over the world!!! This is the best show ever! This will premiere in the US on Feb 3, right after the SuperBowl on CBS. It's sooooo exciting!!!" she added.


Showbiz columnist Ricky Lo said the CBS Network show consists of 10 episodes.


Pops, who flew to the US for the show on the pretext that she was going there for vacation, actually passed the screening for the CBS talent competition The World’s Best.


The columnist, quoting a story about the project, said The World’s Best “hails from reality TV heavyweights Mark Burnett and Mike Darnell, the forces behind two of the biggest talent competition reality series of the current unscripted wave, The Voice and American Idol. Burnett is executive producing NBC’s The Voice which is overseen by Darnell at Warner Horizon; while Darnell in his role as head of reality at Fox, Darnell developed and launched American Idol and steered the show for its first 12 seasons.”


The World’s Best is described as “a first-of-its-kind global talent competition that features acts from every genre imaginable, from every corner of the planet.” The contestants are tasked not only to impress the American judges (Drew Barrymore, RuPaul and Faith Hill) and 50 world experts (Pops among them. ­— RFL) but also to break through the “wall of the world.” One of the 25 participants from every field of entertainment will be chosen the winning act to be crowned as The World’s Best.


One of the 25 participants in the show is  TNT Boys (Mackie Empuerto, Keifer Sanchez and Francis Concepcion) who were named Push Music Performance of the Year in the recently-concluded Push Awards for their performance of the Bee Gees song Too Much Heaven in the ABS-CBN show Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids.


Since its launch in 2017, the TNT Boys (TNT stands for Tawag Ng Tanghalan), they have performed in Little Big Shots US, UK and Australia, and starred in their first successful major concert at the Araneta Coliseum in November last year. They have also performed for heads of states including Pres. DU30, Singapore Pres. Halimah Yacob and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.


Barrymore was reported to have raved about the performance of the TNT Boys in an exclusive teaser of The World’s Best which she posted on her Instagram account to promote the airing of the show.


“You know, I have a soft spot for kids. I was a kid performer, but I have kids now. This is a whole other thing. You possess a gift, you’re just that good,” said Drew in the clip, which also showed judges Grammy-winning artist Faith Hill and drag queen superstar RuPaul beaming after the trio’s performance of Listen. The act also earned a standing ovation from the three superstar judges, as well as the show’s “wall of the world,” which features 50 of the world’s most accomplished experts from every field of entertainment.


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(Photo from Instagram | @adarrencriss)


Filipino American Darren Criss of the San Francisco Bay Area won again another top acting award.


This time it is the 2019 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award which was handed out during a televised ceremony in Los Angeles over the weekend.


Earlier, Criss won in the Golden Globe Awards.


In the Screen Actors Guild awards, Criss was presented the award for Best Actor for a Limited Series TV/Movie for his work in "The Assassination of Gianni Versace," the same award he won with the Golden Globe.


Criss' awards made him the first FilAm actor to win the top acting award in the Golden Globe and possibly the Screen Actors Guild awards.


On his way to the awarding ceremony, the Fil-Am actor tweeted, "Being nominated alongside Antonio Banderas, Hugh Grant, Anthony freakin Hopkins, and Bill Pullman is a feather in my cap I could have never imagined."


The other winners for television include:


  2. BEST DRAMA ACTOR: Jason Bateman, "Ozark"
  3. BEST DRAMA ACTRESS: Sandra Oh, "Killing Eve"
  4. BEST COMEDY SERIES ENSEMBLE: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
  5. BEST COMEDY ACTOR: Tony Shaloub, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
  6. BEST COMEDY ACTRESS: Rachel Brosnahan, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
  7. BEST ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE: Darren Criss, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
  8. BEST ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE: Patricia Arquette, "Escape at Dannemora"


Only last September, Criss won an Emmy Award for the same portrayal under the category Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.


Criss is well-known for playing Blaine Anderson in the hit American musical drama series “Glee” with Lea Michele, Jane Lynch, Chris Colfer and Matthew Morrison.


Criss, now 31, is proud of his Filipino blood through his mother Cerina Bru who is a Spanish-Filipina who was born in Cebu but later migrated to the United States. Criss immediately earned praised from Filipinos and Filipino Americans for acknowledging his mother and Filipino roots in a speech when he received his trophy.


Born in San Francisco, California, Criss occasionally visits the Philippines, where he has performed shows at Ayala Malls.


 After he won the Golden Globe award, his mother immediately flew to California to join Criss.


“Well Mom, I’m glad you made it” Criss said  on social media when his mother arrived in US, according to a GMA network report.


The Fil-Am actor and Golden Globe winner posted a photo with his Cebuana mother and shared a sweet little fact: Another one of her dreams has come true.

According to Criss, Filipino treats took center stage on the morning after the Golden Globes celebration.


In his social media message, Criss said the Filipino treats he was pertaining to included his mom — a “fun spritely lady” he described her, “who dreamed of coming to this country and getting invited to glamorous parties like this…”


And then he ends it: “Well Mom, I’m glad you made it.”


Criss dedicated his award to his mom. “You are hugely responsible for all the good things in my life. I dedicate this to you,” he said, winning the hearts of Filipinos in the US, the Philippines and around the world.

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(Photo from Instagram | @andieigengirl)


Actress Andi Eigenmann is expecting her second child, her first with champion surfer beau Philmar Alipayo.


In her Instagram story last week, Andi, now 28, wrote she’s not as active on social media because she has been adjusting to her “new life.”


“Haven’t been as active on social media for many (great) reasons — Been adjusting slowly but surely to my ‘new life. The journey has been so exciting yet scary at the same time, but we have been so happy and at peace nevertheless. Still wouldn’t have my life any other way,” Andi said.


“We are now on our way to moving to our new island home where my growing family will make more joyful memories together. Our loved ones, especially Ellie and @chepoxz, and I cannot wait,” she added.


“Fourteen weeks and 3 days pregnant with our little pear,” she wrote.


The daughter of celebrities Jaclyn Jose and Mark Gil also posted photos of her changing body to update fans with her pregnancy. One was taken on Dec. 17, 2018 while other on Feb. 1, 2019.


Philmar, 26, who hails from Siargao, currently ranks 6th on the men's short board division of the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour (PSCT), the country’s first-ever and only professional surfing tournament.


Philmar made history when he was named the first-ever Filipino champ of the PSCT after winning the 19th Siargao National Surfing Cup in 2017.


In an interview with, Philmar said his interest in surfing started when he was just a kid, Philippine Entertainment Portal reported.


The surfing champ told EdgeDavao, "I was 10 years old when I first started surfing. My Uncle Yok-Yok, one of the best Filipino surfers of his time, taught me."


Philmar's favorite surfing spots in Siargao are Cloud 9 and Tuason Point.


According to PEP, Philmar also teaches surfing to visiting tourists during his free time at Harana Surf Resort.


Aside from surfing, Philmar is also interested in customizing bikes.


Now, he co-owns a lodging house with Andi in Baler, Aurora, which is also one of the country's top surfing spots.


Andi, who is currently based in Baler with her daughter Ellie, manages the lodging house.


The couple's relationship surfaced in August when both Andi, 28, and Philmar, 26, started posting their photos together, PEP reported.


In October, Philmar posted a celebratory photo of him and Andi for their 4th 'monthsary,' which confirmed they have been officially together since June.


In an interview with (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other members of the press, Andi shared what made her fall in love with Philmar.


She told PEP "Well, for one, I’m really motivated to be the best version of myself. Like, it’s the first time I’m with someone who really supports me with that, and then without also forgetting the fact that I have a daughter."


"Yun yung number one thing about him, that I feel, like, really parang na-catch niya yung heart ko. Kasi, not that it was him who showed me how important my daughter is, but he showed me that I can live a life of being a twenty-eight-year-old and being young and free," PEP quoted her as saying.


"But at the same time, incorporating my relationship with my daughter and time with my daughter there [Siargao] more than ever," she said.


Andi gave birth to her first child Ellie in November 2011. Ellie is her daughter with former boyfriend Jake Ejercito.



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