Filipino journalists

Rappler columnist Ruben Nepales wins big at Southern California Journalism Awards 2023

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Rappler columnist Ruben Nepales wins big at Southern California Journalism Awards 2023

Ruben Nepales' Twitter

The entertainment columnist earns multiple awards, such as first prize in the Individual Blog category and third prize in Entertainment Journalist of the Year

MANILA, Philippines – Rappler entertainment columnist Ruben Nepales has bagged a total of four prestigious accolades at the 65th Southern California Journalism Awards on Sunday, June 25. 

His wins include claiming first prize in the Individual Blog category for his piece How the slap heard around the world also jolted us backstage at the Oscars, published in his weekly Rappler column, Only IN Hollywood. The article shared the ripple effects of, and offered different perspectives on, the Oscars incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock.

Nepales also scored a second-place win in the Entertainment News or Feature by a Foreign Correspondent category. The awarded article titled Ana de Armas’ ‘Blonde’ ambition – and the ghost of Marilyn Monroe provided insights into actress Ana de Armas’ portrayal of the Hollywood figure, Marilyn Monroe, in the film Blonde.

Continuing his streak of success, Nepales was awarded second prize in the Feature by a Foreign Correspondent category for his article on Orsi Nagypál’s film The Deal. Nepales also bagged third prize in the Entertainment Journalist of the Year category.

In expressing his gratitude for the recognition, Nepales remarked, “I was already honored to be in the company of these journalists and mainstream outlets as my fellow nominees. So, to bag the top prize is truly an honor!”

Opting to wear a traditional Filipino barong, designed by Francis Libiran, for the first time in a journalism competition, he considered it a lucky charm. With enthusiasm, he proudly stated, “I was a proud Filipino in this lucky barong.”

Originally hailing from Calasiao, Pangasinan, and an alumnus of the University of Sto. Tomas, Nepales immigrated to the United States in the 1980s. Making history, he became the first Filipino to be elected as a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organization responsible for presenting the Golden Globe Awards.

Before his tenure at Rappler in 2020, Nepales enjoyed a 15-year career as a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, with his column Only IN Hollywood. Additionally, Nepales has authored two award-winning books, My Filipino Connection: The Philippines in Hollywood and coffee table book Through a Writer’s Lens. – with reports from Jacob Maquiling/

Jacob Maquiling is a Rappler intern.

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