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Why Ricky Lee is extra happy to be named National Artist this year

Ricky Lee is among the newly minted National Artists of the Philippines and on "Unang Hirit" Monday, he shared why the recognition means a lot more to him than we think.

"Masayang-masaya ako dahil napagitaan ako ng dalawang babaeng pinakamamahal ko sa industriya: si Nora Aunor at si Marilou Diaz-Abaya," Lee told Connie Sison.

He's worked with the two women on some of his most important works including "Himala" (Aunor), which Lee said he'd written in 1976 and had been rejected too many times before it was finally picked up in 1982, and the incredible feminist trilogy that Diaz-Abaya and Lee worked on together in the '80s, "Brutal," "Karnal," and "Moral."

The three of them — Lee, Aunor, and Diaz-Abaya, are named named National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts, which the ever-considered Lee clarified on "Unang Hirit."

"Nagkaroon kasi ng confusion sa simula eh. Sa film ako binibigyan ng parangal," he said.

Congratulations, Ricky! It truly is double the feat to be given such a prestigious award alongside your friends. — Hermes Joy Tunac/LA, GMA News