FILIPINO ACADEMY OF MOVIE ARTS AND SCIENCES AWARDS
Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences, an independent award-giving body
composed of entertainment writers and Palanca
Award-winning writers, adjudges the winners and special
honorees of the annual FAMAS Awards in a systematized and
orderly manner. The system in which they hold the voting
for the annual FAMAS Awards merits them the fact that
they are arguably the most prestigious film award-giving body
in the Philippines.
The Academy annually votes for the winners of the FAMAS Awards of Merit in eighteen categories: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Child Actor, Child Actress, Director, Story (Original Work [Story] in the FAMAS' early years), Screenplay, Cinematography (Photography in the FAMAS' early years), Art Direction (Production Design in some years), Sound, Musical Score, Theme Song, Editing, Visual Effects and Special Effects.
The FAMAS determines the nominees of the competitive categories after screening the films shown in the past calendar year. Each FAMAS member is given a score sheet where they would give scores on the merits of a film in all eighteen categories of the awards. Then, each score sheet is placed on an envelope and forwarded to a nine-member tabulation committee, who would tabulate the scores and determine the Official Nominees.
The Official Nominees would then be announced by the incumbent FAMAS president to the press months before the awards night. Most of the time, during the announcement of the nominees, the awards night has not been scheduled yet, so the announcement of the Official Nominees is not a determiner of the awards night date.
Just before the awards night, in an undisclosed date and location, the members of the Academy would convene and would be handed out the official ballots for the awards ceremony. The ballots contain the names of the Official Nominees, and each of the members would choose who they want to win the FAMAS Award among the nominees in each competitive category. Then, the ballots would be sent to an accounting firm, which will tabulate and determine the winners of the FAMAS Awards of Merit for the certain calendar year.
The announcement of the awards night's date and location may come before or after the voting of the members. Regardless of this, only the accounting firm would know the name of the winners in each category before the envelopes which holds the names of the winners are announced on stage during the awards night. Even members of the Academy would only know the winners of the FAMAS Awards on the Gabi ng Parangal (Awards Night).
On the other hand, the recipients of most of the special awards are decided on by the Academy itself according to the purpose of the special award. In most instances, the Academy creates a new award to honor a certain individual or organization for his or her or its contribution to the Filipino motion picture industry and/or the Academy. The only special awards not decided on by the Academy are the German Moreno Youth Achievement Award (given and chosen by Mr. German Moreno), the Presidential Award (which is given by the incumbent president of the FAMAS) and, before it became defunct, the Dr. Ciriaco Santiago Memorial Award, which was given by Dr. Ciriaco Santiago's surviving family.
The voting procedures of the FAMAS is slightly different from the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP; awards the Luna Award, the Philippines' other equivalent of the Oscar) and the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Filipino Film Critics; awards the Gawad URIAN, the Philippines' New York Film Critics' Circle Award). Unlike the FAMAS, the Film Academy voters only nominate for the category in which they are in (actors nominate actors, for example) and then the film guilds under the FAP would send delegates, termed as voters, to vote for all categories three days (or way before) before their awards' night. Also, both the Film Academy and the Manunuri have criteria for judging the winners of their awards. The FAP, in fact, will not nominate a film Best Picture unless it has at least three nominations, with one nomination being a Directing or Writing nod. On the other hand, the FAMAS judges its winners on the sole discretion of its members, which makes every FAMAS Award given spontaneously chosen and carefully thought out, along with a sophisticated personal preference awarded with it.