John Arcilla wins the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 78th Venice Film Festival

On The Job: The Missing 8, the film for which he won the award, also received a five-minute standing ovation from the Venice audience.

John Arcilla wins the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 78th Venice Film Festival
(Image: HBO Asia)

John Arcilla has now joined the league of Brad Pitt, Joaquin Phoenix, and Willem Dafoe after he took home the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 78th Venice International Film Festival.

The award ceremony, which was held early Sunday, September 12, recognized Arcilla’s stellar performance as the local hotshot Sisoy Salas in Erik Matti’s On The Job: The Missing 8. Matti received the award on Arcilla’s behalf, who wasn’t able to fly to Venice due to inclement weather.

Choosing instead to post his virtual acceptance speech on Instagram, Arcilla thanked the award-giving body: “Venice International Film Festival, mille grazie, mille mille grazie.

“If there’s one thing I regret tonight is, I will not be able to see my picture there, kissing my own Volpi Cup, just like the other 77 actors who received their most prestigious award,” he lamented.

“If there’s one thing that made the happiest actor tonight is that I know for a fact that we came from different countries, different continents with different cultures, colors, creeds, or languages. But I can feel the oneness, this tremendous oneness and understanding. I know that we can understand each other despite our differences and it’s because of the arts — the arts of cinema,” said Arcilla, who can now claim to be the only Filipino to have won the prestigious prize.

Granting the esteemed prize is this year’s Venice Film Festival jury led by Oscar-winning Parasite director Bong Joon-ho. Joining him are fellow Oscar-winning Nomadland director Chloè Zhao, Cynthia Erivo, Saverio Costanza, Alexander Nanau, Virginie Efira, and Sarah Gadon.

Garnering his own praise from the Venice jury is Dennis Trillo, Arcilla’s co-star in the film. Trillo, who portrayed the inmate Roman Rubio, shared a clip on Instagram where he’s seen receiving nods of approval from both Emmy-, Tony-, and Grammy-winning actress Cynthia Erivo and jury head Bong Joon-ho. 

Congratulations! You were brilliant. I have seen you in many, many movies, you were amazing,” exclaimed Erivo. Joon-ho then commended Trillo: “You were so great.”

Erik Matti’s film, the lone Philippine entry to the main competition in Italy, also enjoyed a five-minute standing ovation on its initial screening at the prestigious film festival.

On The Job: The Missing 8 serves as the sequel to Matti’s 2013 crime thriller of the same name. It stars Arcilla, Trillo, Dante Rivero, Christopher De Leon, Lotlot De Leon, Leo Martinez, and Agot Isidro. A six-part spin-off series of the original On The Job film is also set to premiere on HBO Go this month. 

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