Showbiz 2020: BTS Reigns, Pinoy Films Shine

‘FAN Girl’ (Paulo Avelino and Charlie Dizon) won eight of nine major awards at the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival’s Gabi ng Parangal held on 27 December.

It was a crazy year.

By its name, coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) broke out in Wuhan, China, on 31 December that year, but quickly spread worldwide at the start of 2020.

Show business was among the first industries to suffer from the economic shutdown caused by the pandemic.

But amid the deaths and paranoia from a still raging health crisis, here’s what happened around the globe, randomly chosen for their relevance to Filipino followers of pop culture.

K-Pop scandal

In January, K-Pop singer and

ex-BigBang member Seungri was charged for violating laws on prostitution, illegal gambling and foreign currency trading.

Police named other idols involved in the scandal, including singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young and former CNBlue member Choi Jong-hoon who were both convicted to conspiring in the sexual assault of women.

They were sentenced to imprisonment of six and five years, respectively. Seungri is on mandatory military service. His hearings are being presided over by the military court.

‘BIGGEST band in the world,’ says Time magazine. BTS (from left): RM, Suga, V, Jungkook, Jimin, J-hope, Jin.

In February, filmmaker Bong

Joon-ho’s Parasite made history by winning four trophies at the 2020 Academy Awards.

The social satire about two families living in contrasting conditions in Seoul was awarded Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, Best International Film and Best Picture

— the first foreign film to receive the highest honor in the Oscars’ 92-year history.


LAV Diaz (left), won Best Director for the third time at the 77th Venice International Film Festival for his work, ‘Lahi, Hayop.’

Also in February, Filipino celebrity couple Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli were wed secretly in a BGC hotel, but the ceremony was reportedly marred by a punching incident involving Matteo and Sarah’s bodyguard, and arguments between Sarah’s mom and Matteo’s dad.

In March, the second night of the 10th Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival was held at La Mesa Eco Park in Quezon City.

The significance of Malasimbo as a

multi-lineup concert was that its roster of performers, while not as well-known by the average pop or rock fan, defined world-class musicality.

Performers included Hawaii-born Mike Love;

Anomalie led by Canadian Nicolas Dupuis; Rhythm Masala with Colombian keyboardist Jesus Molina; American Cory Henry and the Funky Apostles; and Filipino banb Yosha. It was the last concert before the Luzon lockdown.

Joey Bautista, lead vocalist of Filipino pop band Mulatto, died 19 March at age 57 due to Covid-19.

Menggie Cobarrubias, an actor known for his versatility in film, television and on stage, died 26 March at age 66 also due to Covid-19.

‘Bayanihan Musikahan’

In April, “Bayanihan Musikahan,” an online benefit concert series that featured Filipino musicians, raised over P15 million for depressed Metro Manila communities affected by the Luzon lockdown.


KIM Chiu trended on social media after her ‘Bawal Lumabas’ comment during a livestream against the shutdown of

ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise.

The project was initiated by National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab.

An offshoot project, also led by Cayabyab to aid Filipinos suffering from the effects of Covid-19 and typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses” raised over P12 million.


celebrity couple Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli secretly wed in a BGC hotel in February.

In May, ABS-CBN talent Kim Chiu went live on Facebook to air her sentiments on the network’s losing its broadcast franchise.

“Bawal lumabas,” a phrase from her speech, became the butt of jokes, which trolls exploited, and ended up as hilarious memes. But the “classroom analogy” turned into a brand, a song with a music video, a merchandise line with proceeds going to Covid-19 relief efforts, and a TV series.

Filmmaker Peque Gallaga award-winning production designer of Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon? and Manila By Night, and director of Oro, Plata, Mata and Scorpio Nights — died on 7 May of complications from heart disease at age 76.

In July, former Glee cast member Naya Rivera drowned while on a boat trip to Lake Piru in California with her four-year-old son Josey. While Josey was found alive alone in the rented boat, the lifeless body of the 33-year-old Naya was found after a five-day search.

Gilbert Guillermo, founder of Jingle Chordbook Magazine which became the bible of Filipino youth in the Martial Law years, died 21 July at age 74.

In August, actor Chadwick Boseman, who brought Black Panther to life in the Avengers franchise, died of colon cancer. He was 43.

Venice victory

Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz won Best Director for his latest work, Lahi, Hayop (Genus, Pan), in the Orrizonti (Horizons) section of the 77th Venice International Film Festival held 2 to 12 September at The Lido island, northern Italy. The Venice victory is the third time for Diaz in the same festival.

Kagadanan sa Banwaan ning mga Engkanto (Death in the Land of Encantos, 2007) was bestowed a Golden Lion Special Mention, and Melancholia won the Orrizonti Prize in 2008. Screen Daily has named Lahi, Hayop among the top 10 films of the year.

RYAN Cayabyab led “Bayanihan Musikahan,” an online benefit concert that raised over P15 million for depressed Metro Manila communities.

Popular YouTube vlogger Lloyd Cafe Cadena died of heart attack at age 26 after testing positive for Covid-19 on 4 September.

In October, top ABS-CBN talents Liza Soberano and Angel Locsin, as well as 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray, were “red-tagged” by a military official as being supporters of women’s rights groups alleged as communist fronts.

The broadcast network issued a statement defending its talents: “Doing humanitarian activities and speaking one’s mind do not make one a member of a communist group.”

Jamir Garcia, lead singer of Filipino hard rock band died on 26 November at age 42. A police report said he was found in the bathroom of his residence in Quezon City and was dead on arrival at Metro North Medical Center.

His death rendered moot the criminal charges of estafa and qualified theft filed against him at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on 12 October by Slapshock guitarist Jerry Basco.

‘Biggest band in the world’

In its year-end issue, Time magazine named K-Pop superstar group BTS as Entertainer of the Year.

The accompanying article said: “BTS isn’t just the biggest K-pop act on the charts.

They’ve become the biggest band in the world — full stop. Between releasing multiple albums, breaking every type of record and appearing in these extemporaneous livestreams in 2020, BTS ascended to the zenith of pop stardom. And they did it in a year defined by setbacks, one in which the world hit pause and everyone struggled to maintain their connections.

“Other celebrities tried to leverage this year’s challenges; most failed.

But BTS’ bonds to their international fan base, called ARMY, deepened amid the pandemic, a global racial reckoning and worldwide shutdowns.”

ilmmaker Antoinette Jadaone’s Fan Girl bagged all major awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress at the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). A dark look at excessive hero worship of celebrities, Fan Girl also won Best Screenplay (Jadaone), Best Editing (Benjamin Tolentino), Best Cinematography (Neil Daza) and Best Sound (Vincent Villa).

— Pauline Songco, Raye Sanchez, Louise Lizan, Care Balleras, Pocholo Concepcion

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