Amy Austria

Esmeralda Tuazon was the second to the eldest among six children born in 1961 to an impoverished family. She helped the family by selling chewing gum. She studied at the Rajah Soliman High School. She was introduced to the producer Baby Martinez of MBM Productions through a common friend. She was then cast in Bitayin Si Baby Ama (1976), the movie that made a star of Rudy Fernandez. After her second film, Alas (1976), with Jun Aristorenas, she was given minor parts in several other pictures then dropped out of the movie scene for almost a year. When she came back in mid-1977, she was a contract star of Jesse Ejercito’s Seven Star Productions. She became quite visible in the 1970s, in such films like Dabiana (1977), Miss Dulce Amor, Ina (1978), Atsay (1978), Menor de edad (1979), Gabun: Ama Mo, Ama Ko (1979), Bedspacers (1979) and Swing It, Baby (1979). After acting in two very relevant films for 1979, Ishmael Bernal’s Aliw and Lino Brocka’s Jaguar, Ms Austria was finally a lead star in Nang Bumuka Ang Sampaguita (1980). At a time when female parts in Filipino cinema were strong and revolutionary, Ms Austria became a busy actress: Langis at Tubig (1980), Sugat sa ugat (1980), Goriong Butete (1980), Tondo Girl (1981), Pusong Uhaw (1982) and Waywaya (1982). In the 1990s and well into the 21st century, she still gives powerful supporting performances, in The Flor Contemplacion Story (1995), Muro-ami (1999), and even in Pagdating ng Panahon (2001), a Sharon Cuneta starrer. Austria has two Best Actress awards for Brutal (1980), from the Film Academy of Movie Arts & Sciences (FAMAS) and Metro Manila Film Festival; three Best Actress awards for Celestina Sanchez A.K.A. Bubbles (1988), from the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) and the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). She has three Best Supporting Actress awards: for Jaguar (1979), given by the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (“Gawad Urian Awards”); for Narito Ang Puso Ko (1992), from the URIAN and the FAP; and for Anak (2000), given by the FAP. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Mano Po (2002), by FAMAS. She and Phillip Salvador, together with the late director Lino Brocka, represented the Philippines at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival, where Jaguar was shown at the Directors’ Fortnight.

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