ACTOR-television host Paolo Ballesteros won Best Actor for his portrayal of a transgender in the movie “Die Beautiful” at the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival last Thursday afternoon.
Ballesteros, 33, received his acting trophy in his make-up transformation of Hollywood star Julia Roberts.
In his tweet, Ballesteros said: “Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival.”
His movie, directed by Jun Robles Lana and produced by Perci Intalan, also won the Audience Award in the same competition.
“Being selected as a Competition film itself was a big surprise for us. Thank you very much,” said Lana as he thanked the jurors. “Receiving this award convinced me that the film strengthened the bond beyond language and race.”
In the movie, Ballesteros plays Trisha, a transgender woman who makes a living as a beauty contestant, dies unexpectedly. Before she died, her one last wish was to remain beautiful even in death.
“Trisha, a Filipino transgender woman, suddenly dies while being crowned in a beauty pageant. Her last wish was to be presented as a different celebrity on each night of her wake, but her conservative father wants to bury her as a man.
“Trisha’s friends are left with no choice but to steal her body and hold the wake in a secret location. And as Trisha is transformed to look like different celebrities, they also look back at the colorful and extraordinary life that she has led – being a son, a sister, a mother, a friend, a lover, a wife, and ultimately, a queen,” the synopsis of the movie said.
Lana is one of the Philippines’ most accomplished filmmakers. His multi-awarded film “Bwakaw” became the Philippine entry to the Oscars in 2012. This was followed by “Barber’s Tales,” which won the Philippines’ first Best Actress Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
His recent film “Shadow behind the Moon” won the Best Director and other awards at the Vladivostok International Film Festival (Pacific Meridian) and the International Film Festival of Kerala.
Ballesteros, one of the hosts of the popular noontime show “Eat Bulaga,” will soon be seen in the movie “Enteng Kabisote 10 and the Abangers.” He currently stars in the film “Bakit Lahat ng Gwapo May Boyfriend?” with Anne Curtis-Smith and Dennis Trillo.
The actor has been making his presence felt on social media with his make-up transformation and impersonation. Among those popular transformations were the likes of Katy Perry, Madonna, Beyonce, Rihanna, Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez, Mariah Carey, Caitlyn Jenner, etc.
Recently, Ballesteros surprised guests at the Tokyo film festival when he strut the red carpet resembling Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie.