I’ll start by saying, I LOVE your blog! I tend to agree with your unpopular opinions, and I take OST recommendations from your posts all the time, even when I haven’t seen the drama itself. Thanks for putting in the effort to create such an informative, fun space – it pays off.
With the 57th Baeksang Awards coming up, I was curious about your thoughts on award shows. Do you follow them and take them seriously? Do you think the credit is given where it’s due?
I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy the blog as much as you do – and hi5, that our unpopular opinions tend to align as well! It’s comforting to know that even when I feel like I’m the odd duck in the corner, that I have company! 😉
Thanks for your timely question on drama awards. The sheepish truth is, I don’t follow the awards shows very much, except for the Baeksang Arts Awards, whose list of nominees and winners I do take note of. Also worth mentioning, I think, is that each awards show will have its own Daesang (Grand Prize), but the prestige of each Daesang varies according to which awards show bestows it.
In this post, I hope to provide a decent rundown of the various drama awards shows in k-ent, just to help us understand what that’s all about.
Everyone, as usual, please feel free to share your thoughts, insights and knowledge in the comments! ❤️
A LOOK AT THE MAJOR AWARDS SHOWS
The network awards shows: MBC, SBS and KBS Awards
The Big Three free-to-air networks, MBC, SBS and KBS, have yearly awards shows, and these typically happen at the end of each year.
Known respectively as MBC Entertainment Awards, SBS Drama Awards, and KBS Entertainment Awards, these awards shows tend to be wrap-ups of each network’s year of productions, with the big prizes tending to go to each network’s ratings winners. The various prizes, like the Daesang (grand prize), Top Excellence acting awards etc, also typically go to the productions garnering the best ratings. This means that a more underrated show would tend to get passed over, even if it’s excellently produced.
You can quite safely think of these awards as the various networks’ tokens of appreciation for the actors and productions that have helped the networks’ ratings games during the year. A vague equivalent might be the People’s Choice Awards in the US.
Baeksang Arts Awards
First introduced in 1965 by Chang Key Young, the founder of Hankook Ilbo Newspaper, whose pen name was “Baeksang,” the Baeksang Arts Awards were established for the purpose of developing Korean popular culture and art, and for enhancing the morale of artists.
The Baeksang Arts Awards is generally regarded as the most high-profile and prestigious of the various awards given for drama productions in Korea. Unlike the networks’ awards shows which happen at the end of the calendar year, the Baeksang Arts Awards takes place in May.
What sets the Baeksang Arts Awards apart from the other awards mentioned above, is the fact that it is the only award in Korea that recognizes excellence in both film and television. This is the awards show that is reputed to be the most impartial in the way that it recognizes excellence. Instead of ratings, attention is focused on the quality of the production. You might consider the Baeksangs as being akin to the Emmy Awards or the Golden Globe Awards in the US.
You can check out this year’s list of Baeksang nominees here.
Because, I, too, am interested more in a show’s quality than its ratings, I tend to pay attention to each year’s list of Baeksang nominees, and am likely to pick up a drama or several from it, to add to my plate (yes, I’m always all about the dramas, ha 😅).
Do I always agree with the list of nominations? Well, no. But that’s normal of any awards show, and I do think it’s a list that’s worth exploring.
A COUPLE OF OTHER AWARDS SHOWS IN K-ENT
The following are a few comparatively less high-profile awards shows based in Korea, which you might find of interest.
Seoul International Drama Awards
An annual award ceremony which honors excellence in television drama productions worldwide, the Seoul International Drama Awards has been around since 2006, and offers awards on a program level as well as individual level. Interestingly, it also has categories specifically for Hallyu dramas, and they also have a People’s Choice section.
I’m not terribly familiar with these awards, so I’ll just say I am somewhat bemused at some of the winning Hallyu dramas over the years. You can browse that list here. They made a great choice in awarding Chuno the grand prize in 2010, though. 😉
APAN Star Awards
First introduced by the Korea Entertainment Management Association in 2012, the APAN Star Awards is geared towards recognizing excellence in television in Korea, as well as contribution to Hallyu. Nominees are selected from the major broadcasting networks and cable channels, for dramas airing between October of the previous year to September of the current year.
You can browse past winners here.
Held annually by the Korean Television Producers Association since 1993, the Grimae Awards aims to promote the development of innovative visuals, as well as recognize excellence of individual filmmakers. The directors vote for performers based on the dual factors of outstanding performance and positive image.
Korea Drama Awards
Established in 2007, the Korea Drama Awards is the official main event of the annual Korea Drama Festival, held every October in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province. Similar to the APAN Awards, nominees are chosen from the major broadcasting networks and cable channels, for dramas airing between October of the previous year to September of the current year.
I approve the choice of Chuno for 2010’s Best Drama (do we see a pattern yet? 😆 At least we can agree that Chuno is objectively praiseworthy? 😉), and it’s quite the achievement for Kim Soo Hyun to receive the Daesang two years in a row, for 2014’s You From Another Star, and 2015’s Producer. Wow. That’s impressive. I’m rather puzzled at the fact that 2015’s Yong Pal and 2019’s Mother Of Mine received the Best Screenplay Awards though. 😅
You can browse the list of past winners here.
Asia Artist Awards
Started in 2016 by Korean business newspaper Money Today, along with its global media brands StarNews and MTN, the Asia Artist Awards honors outstanding achievements and international contributions of Asian artists in television, film and music.
There’s quite a wide range of award categories, making this awards show appear rather eclectic. I mean, aside from the usual types of categories, there are also rather mysterious-sounding ones like Best Social Award, Fabulous Award, Favorite Award, Focus Award, New Wave Award, Rising Award, Best Emotive Award, Eco Creator Award, and Legend Award, among others. I.. have no idea what these mean, to be honest. 😅
You can browse the list of past winners here.
And that, in a nutshell, is my overview of the various awards shows pertaining to dramas, in Korea.
If I missed out any interesting awards shows, please feel free to share them in the comments below. And if you have other thoughts, insights or knowledge to share, or just want to speculate over who will take home the various prizes in the upcoming Baeksang Awards, feel free to do so too!
I hope that you guys found this post helpful &/or informative!
1. If you feel that I missed anything, or if you have your own insights that you’d like to share with the rest of us, do tell us about it in the comments!
2. Do you have a question of your own? Drop me a comment here or on the Dear kfangurl page, or send me an email!