Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about drama awards shows?

2014’s You From Another Star: Cheon Song Yi at the fictional Korea Film Awards 🤩

Shree writes:

Hi kfangurl,

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?

Let me get a good look at you..

Dear Shree,

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

SBS Awards 2019: Lee Seung Gi and Suzy winning Best Couple for Vagabond

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

Baeksang Arts Awards 2019: Jung Woo Sung and Kim Hye Ja with their respective Daesangs for Innocent Witness and The Light in Your Eyes

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

The winners of Seoul International Drama Awards 2018

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

Hyun Bin receiving his Daesang in 2020, for Crash Landing On You

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.

Grimae Awards

Rowoon receiving his Best New Actor award in 2019, for his role in Extraordinary You.

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.

I am in full support of their Daesang being awarded to Chuno in 2010, but am quite bemused at their choice of Yong Pal in 2015. 😅 You can browse the list of past winners here.

Korea Drama Awards

Ong Seong Wu receiving the Best New Actor award in 2019, for his role in At Eighteen.

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

Kim Soo Hyun taking home the Daesang for the Acting category in 2020.

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.

IN CLOSING

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!

Smooches. ❤️

~kfangurl

May the best man – er, drama – win. 😉

POST-SCRIPT:

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!

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BE
BE
2 months ago

I did not see Penthouse, melodramatic shows about the world of the fabulously rich not ordinarily my cuppa, so I cannot comment on Kim So Yeon’s performance, but I have a seriously hard time believing it was as extraordinarily terrific as Shin Ye Sun in Mr. Queen, a role for which she will probably be remembered long past that of most actress/roles in K Drama, even with its great raft of fine female actors, or to a lesser degree, So Ye Ji in It’s Okay…. Does make one wonder if controversies over these roles diminished their chances for an award.
I was surprised that Joong Ki did not win, but given the overwhelming positive ink for Beyond Evil, perhaps that is not as great a surprise.

Trent
2 months ago
Reply to  BE

I was more or less fine with all of the other awards, although I am holding my ultimate reaction to Beyond Evil winning best drama in abeyance until I finish it (I am following along with KFG’s Patreon watch, so only about a third of the way through it right now; so far, so good).

But yes, I am a bit SALTY about the best actress award. I am sure Kim So-yeon is a fine actress and a perfectly lovely lady, but c’mon…Shin Hye-sun was magnificent in Mr. Queen. And even though (as predicted, although who knows if it affected the result) controversy overshadowed Seo Ye-ji, to the point she was one of the very few nominees who didn’t show up to the ceremony, she was incandescent in It’s Okay…, in my opinion.

I mean, I would almost be tempted to give The Penthouse a try, just to see. But the vibe it throws off, and everything I read about it, just screams over the top makjang melodrama, and my taste for such is pretty limited.

(I find it a bit ironic that Seo Ye-ji won the most popular actress award. I wonder what the voting period for that was, and how much it overlapped with the scandal news, which is of pretty recent vintage…)

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent: I watched the first four episodes of Beyond Evil and got stuck. As with Money Flower, I just did not have a rooting interest for any, least of all the lead, characters. They all struck me as folks I would not want to spend more time with. Especially in the nth serial killer of young women series. Unless there would be someone to root for in such a drama, the sickness of that particular trope has lost its fascination for me. I mean, could we have such a story in which, I dunno, we’d have the noses of middle aged men as the signature of the sicko? And yet…I have not heard a single bad thing from anyone else about show; indeed raves all around.

Amanda
Amanda
3 months ago

Hi Fangirl,

Thank you for the post that explains all these awards shows. I follow your index and ratings as a guide to which KDRAMA to watch next. I’m a new viewer of KDRAMAS and it can be overwhelming and have decided, also, that I’ll use the Baeksang nominees list as well.

Kay
Kay
3 months ago

Great breakdown of the Korean award shows. I just follow them casually, but I always like seeing everyone’s hard work getting recognition 🙂

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
3 months ago

Ooh, very timely question, Shree! I literally looked up the other day all this year’s nominations for the Baeksang awards as I do very superficially follow them. They seem like the Baftas here in the UK so often a reliable indicator of excellence. I do find it interesting what and who gets recognised and get a kick when I agree with the winners and really annoyed when I don’t – even in hindsight as I am pretty new to even old-ish dramas. For instance, I’m wretched that Jang Hyuk didn’t win for Chuno way back in 2010… Anyho, I agree with lots of Trent’s thoughts, but just wanted to comment on Song Joongki being up for best actor for Vincenzo. I am only persisting watching the show because of him. He’s incredible in it. I mean, jaw-droppingly good. I am totally smitten 😍 That is all. xx

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

So far, I’ve liked Soong Joong-ki in everything I’ve seen him in. I’m watching Sungkyunkwan Scandal right now, and even though it’s a fairly early role, he’s still acquitting himself well so far. When I first started DotS, I was afraid he might just be too boyishly good-looking to convincingly carry off playing a special forces captain, but it didn’t take too long for him to win me over.

And the addition of a few more years to his face–even though he’s still incredibly handsome, of course–has made him even more convincing in Vincenzo as someone able to be cold and ruthless as necessary (even though he’s brought a lot of nuance to the role as his feelings and relationships with his mother, his partner (Hong Cha-young), and the tenants at Geumga plaza have developed over the series). I’ve also been quite pleasantly surprised at how well he’s handled the action parts of the role. He’s been pretty believable with both a gun and his fists, to my relatively untutored eye.

Just to wrench things off on a tangent here for a moment (since I don’t really have a good open thread to do it in), is anyone watching Law School, the new drama currently running on JTBC/Netflix? I know @Shahz mentioned elsewhere that she had started it… Through six episodes, I am besotted. Seriously, if all the eps were out and available, I would have binged them all by now.

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent Yes, he looks a tad more weathered, in a good way. Just watched ep 16 / 17 and I thought he switched so amazingly from stifled upset talking to his mum when out for their walk, to shock, to full on merciless torturer, to steady-handed gun tote, back to upset. My god, it was masterful because I felt it all with him every step of the way.
Thinking of It’s Okay Not To Be Okay, for me Joong-ki beats Kim Soo-hyun – though Oh Jung-se beats them both in my book. How did they decide who was lead actor, who support? In my book, Soo-hyun and Jung-se were equal main with Seo Yea-ji…??
I actually haven’t watched Sungkyunkwan Scandal but intend to. Joong-ki is very handsome (and those suits make him very very handsome) but it’s his acting that’s drawn me in. I’m not overkeen on the show Vincenzo overall but I am compelled to watch because of him.
Sorry, not watching Law School either. So much to see, so little time! I’m just keeping up on Vincenzo and Money Flower at the mo. I really want to watch Nirvana in Fire next – wondering if kfangurl may group watch it…
xx

CP
CP
3 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

I just wanted to chime in here to second a NIF group watch! It’s my favourite drama of all time (and also one of the most rewatchable dramas ever – i’ve watched it 5 times and I’m completely down for another rewatch). Highly highly encourage you to check it out (it gets better every time you watch it because there are so many details to pick up), so if we ever do get a group watch it will be even more fun if you’ve watched it before.

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
3 months ago
Reply to  CP

@CP Ooh, it would be great to group watch. I hear it’s pretty complex.

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

That whole construction of episode 16, with all of the wildly fluctuating emotional beats–(implicit) reconciliation, premonition, regret, sorrow, rage, revenge–was really quite amazing, in my untutored view.

I think the distinction between lead and supporting in IOTNBO basically just comes down to who’s involved in the romance with the FL. Probably not much more to it than that…

Sungkyunkwan Scandal is very much a “coming of age on campus in Old Joseon” story, with added cross-dressing hijinks. SJK is playing support, as a wealthy “flower boy” (or Joseon equivalent) who’s more or less on the side of the good guys. (It took me awhile to get used to Yoo Ah-in in an unruly mop-top hairstyle, as the first thing I ever saw him in was the zombie movie #Alive, where he had a dyed crew cut…).

And Money Flower…I would have totally binged that sucker weeks ago, were I not exercising seriously strict levels of control to follow the schedule.

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent My eye is untutored too but that episode was extraordinary to me too! I hope he gets the Baeksang. I know, Money Flower is exceptionally gripping and binge-worthy. I’m on my third watch and I still can’t get enough!

BE
BE
3 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

I think the entire ensemble of Vincenzo is excellent, and their antics make it possible for Joong-Ki to remain so ironic in and given his combination of acting talents for his role. He is a star, and I think he will win. With K Drama it is surprising there are not ensemble awards, as great ensembles are a particular virtue for so many shows, and for which the Vincenzo crew are richly deserving. My big problem with show is that in bringing it to dramatic finish, show runners will continue as they did in the last two episodes to eschew its wonderful absurdity because the two are too difficult to mesh seamlessly (for example the pigeon antidote almost sublime, and so economical to cliff hanging vs. the drawn out interpol antidote, so prosaic, and strangely less believable). I know a lot of folks do not get the humor, but for me the absurd element provides the bubbles to the Vincenzo champagne.

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
3 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE Nice phrasing – “bubbles in the Vincenzo champagne”. I have grown fond of the Geumga Plaza crew, especially the curly-haired gangster / hot air balloon entrepreneur. And actually I totally dig the pigeon schtick. But generally, I find the shoutiness-type humour too much. Vincenzo is the ice, though, and fortunately there’s plenty of him to cool it all down 😍

BE
BE
3 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

I probably would not really bother with show if it were done straight. Whenever it spends too much time in action land, show completely slows down for me. I think the absurdity is perfect for Joong Ki’s sense of humor as an actor, and he plays the straight man perfectly to the rest of the cast. In other shows I have seen him in when he is simply another good looking hero guy, ho hum, but in film or drama, where he gets to be quirky or ironic, he is simply phenomenal.

The best scene in the whole show for me was the scarf dance for the tourists. Also love the absolute, complete takedown of zomibies. I know a lot of people have reacted like you, humor just too over the top and noisy, and an entire show of that would not work at all, but for me, what makes Vincenzo so good, so interesting, is how wonderfully surreal and off the wall the comedic scenes are, in such stark contrast to the over the top and gratuitous bloodletting.

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  BE

I second that view on the (lack of) an ensemble award. Very often when I do my own write-ups of dramas, I find myself dropping a comment about the overall strength of the ensemble. The headliners get all the attention, of course, but there’s such a strong stable of skilled character actors and actresses that revolve through these various shows and really make them go.

BE
BE
3 months ago

Just started Beyond Evil because of raves it seems to be getting, especially the lead actor. Serial killers not really my cuppa, but the seeming reveals about the two leads in the opening episodes are quite shocking, and it is interesting to see the King of Slimy Characters, Choi Jin Ho sporting what seems like yet another hairpiece as the dad from hell with something to hide once again.
I do not exactly get the calendar year for these awards, which has me a bit confused.

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  BE

I’m not usually big on serial killer shows either, but Beyond Evil seemed to be getting a lot of notice, so I figured why not? I’m glad you mentioned Choi Jin-ho…I saw him and I was like “Director Do! Whassup, my dude?!”

BE
BE
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

He should get a special “Such a Slimeball” Award. He brings the old fashioned sageuk style villainy into contemporary drama.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
3 months ago

I am more familiar with Korean shows and actors than I am with US ones, and that’s saying something. Just like KFG, I check the Baeksang awards in drama category and the nominees have rarely disappointed me so far.

I am curious if the original music scores in dramas (not pop songs) receive any awards? I am very impressed with the quality of instrumental music in dramas.

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower
Trent
3 months ago

Ooh, it’s an interesting topic! Even though I’m still a relative noob as a drama fan, my impression basically tracks yours: the three public broadcasting award shows are much more “in house,” insular awards, and so I kind of automatically give them less credence. Nice to have, surely, but not super impressive. I did not realize that they tended to go to the ratings winners for each channel, which tends to further cheapen them, unless you see ratings as a rough proxy for quality (I’m skeptical, myself).

(When I first started watching dramas, just about a year ago now, I somehow had the impression that Korean drama roughly tracked US patterns, in the sense that the cable dramas were more prestige and also likely to be higher quality. I still think there may be a glimmer of truth there, or at least a discernible distinction between the public network productions and the cable productions, but I’ve been disabused of the notion that it’s a sure-fire quality demarcation, as there are clearly all sorts of high quality dramas hailing from the public broadcast side).

The Daesang Arts awards are the ones I really keep my eye on, since they’re clearly the big fish for dramas (I don’t really watch much film, or track what’s going on in the film arena; if I did, it would expand the awards field to the Grand Bell and Blue Dragon awards. Doesn’t seem quite fair that film has three big awards, while drama is stuck with the Baeksang Arts…oh well…). When I open up a new (to me) drama or actor’s Wikipedia page (as I always do when I’m starting or thinking of starting a drama), I always check its list of awards, and give it a definite tick in the pro column if it’s received one or more Baeksang Arts nominations, much less wins.

This year, well, I might as well admit to being a bit chuffed that I am familiar with (have seen, even) the majority of dramas nominated in each of the major drama categories. That gives me a rooting interest! And I’m even motivated to see at least a couple of the ones I haven’t seen so far–I started Beyond Evil at least in part because it picked up (I believe) the second-most nominations (behind IOTNBO) of all dramas nominated.

So how will the awards shake out? I don’t dare predict, since I’ve got no clue who’s voting, much less what they’re likely to favor (just looking over the slates in recent years, there’s some odd choices to my admittedly biased eyes–nominees that should have won over inferior actual winners and so forth), but I’m perfectly happy to speculate, so. It seems to me the most obvious wild card is how Seo Ye-ji’s big scandal will impact her chances in the Best Actress category, and to a lesser extent, the chances of IOTNBO in the Best Drama category? (were I to bet, I’d say I think it sinks her shot at best actress, and maybe hurts the drama, although that one I’m less sure about).

Best Drama: I’ve seen three of the five, and am currently watching a fourth. Should I give My Unfamiliar Family a try? More likely if it wins. I liked Extracurricular well enough, although I’m surprised it made the short list. I listed IOTNBO as my favorite drama from last year, and Flower of Evil as my second favorite (just of dramas that came out last year). I would be happy to see either win. (I’m particularly happy that Flower of Evil got so much love in the nominations, although I am outraged on Moon Chae-won’s behalf. If Lee Joon-gi got a nomination, she should have as well, because she was the other half of the partnership that really made that drama work so well).

Best Actor: I’m unlikely to watch The Penthouse, but any of the other four would be an acceptable choice. I’d probably go Song Joong-ki, Lee Joon-gi, Shin Ha-kyun, Kim Soo-hyun, in that order if I were forced to rank them. (I’m disappointed Vincenzo didn’t get more love–I would have swapped it in for Extracurricular in the best drama category, for instance).

Best Actress: I’m also unlikely to see Birthcare Center, although its truncated length (only 8 episodes) makes it slightly more likely. I like Kim So-hyun well enough, but I don’t think she really belongs on this list for this role, which was not terribly memorable or exciting in my opinion. I feel like this might be a reward for being a trooper and holding that production together through the whole Ji-soo nightmare? I dunno. Like I said, her private issues aside, I loved Seo Ye-ji in IOTNBO, but I suspect she’s sunk her chances. I’d choose Shin Hye-sun to win in this category (I would also swap Jeon Yeo-bin from Vincenzo into Kim So-hyun’s nomination spot, were it up to me…)

Best Supporting Actor: I may actually get around to watching Mouse, since it seems to be doing well and sounds kind of interesting. Like everyone else, it seems, I really liked Kim Seon-ho in Start-up, but I suspect this will go to Oh Jung-se, who was so good in IOTNBO. I’d rank them Oh Jung-se, Kim Seon-ho, Kim Ji-hoon (good, but not amazing in Flower of Evil), Choi Dae-hoon (fine so far in Beyond Evil, but thus far at least nothing transcendent).

Best Supporting Actress: Hmmm. Of the three I’ve seen, these are all fine actresses, but not truly memorable roles. I don’t really have a strong rooting interest? Probably go with Yeom Hye-ran as the motherly Mrs. Chu in Uncanny Counters, I guess.

Best New Actor: I’ve only seen three of these, although 18 Again is on my list. I disliked Nam Yoon-su’s character in Extracurricular, and am not sure what he’s doing on the list (I guess that means he played the role well? But it wasn’t that impressive, IMO). Na In-woo definitely gets props for stepping into the Ji-soo mess and essentially salvaging that show, although again, I don’t think the actual role is all that memorable. That leaves Song Kang in Sweet Home of the ones I’ve seen, which I would be fine with. For this category, I’d be willing to give my proxy to KFG for Lee Do-hyun in 18 Again, since she liked him in that so much…

Best New Actress: This is actually a tough one for me, since I like both of the Parks a lot. I though Park Ju-hyun was excellent in Extracurricular, and I liked Park Gyu-young in both IOTNBO as well as in the one she’s actually nominated for, Sweet Home. I’d toss a coin and be fine with either one. Haven’t seen enough of Choi Sung-eun after only three episodes of Beyond Evil to really have much impression.

Wow, so there we go. Will definitely be curious to see how it shakes out in a couple weeks…

BE
BE
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

You should see My Unfamiliar Family; I doubt it will win the award, but setting aside whole rest of the fine ensemble, Han Ye Ri is worth the price of admission and she should have been nominated either as best lead or best support. If Oh Jung Se does not get the award it will bespeak volumes about these awards. And while the performance of the year, imo, was runaway all by herself in Sectretariat mode Shin Hye Sun, we will see if the Netizen protest of her comments about Mr. Queen and being in it will move the awards out of her range as well. Oh Jung Se and Shin Hye Sun, especially the latter, are going to be award nominated and winning actors many times in the future, so we shall see if the Baeksang Awards givers are already cognizant of these two enormous industry talents with potential to become recognized internationally enough to do the right thing in both cases.

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE Yeah, I was expecting you would probably put a plug in for My Unfamiliar Family, as it looks like the sort of thing that’s right in your wheelhouse. That it is a normal 16 episodes rather than one of these epic sprawling 50 episode multi-generational family sagas is a point in its favor (I have to give myself a pep talk to embark on anything longer than 20 episodes…)

Interesting to see that Shin Hye-sun got nominations this year in both Best Actress (TV) and Best New Actress (film). (I’d be curious to see what exactly the rules governing the “best new” categories are). If she doesn’t take home at least one of the two, it might be torches and pitchforks time… The “netizen” (one of my least favorite neologisms, btw) protests against her perfectly anodyne comments were particularly off-base, in my opinion.

I think maybe the biggest impediment to Oh Jung-se taking best supporting is that he won in the same category last year, for When the Camellia Blooms. Any impact? I have no clue.

BE
BE
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Shin Hye Sun is also great in Innocence, Ban Jang Ok who played the Dowager in MQ also very good and up for supporting actress award, but Mr. Queen was a one of a kind. Netizens=Concern Trolls?
I would very much like to see both The Book of Fish and The Day I Died, the former for Byun Yo Han, the latter for Lee Jung Eun, one of my very favorite Korean character actors, and Kim Hye Soo, who has been praised up and down for her performance, and btw does a cameo in Ep 21 of Dr. Romantic.

BE
BE
3 months ago
Reply to  BE

Bae Jong Ok–sorry.

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  BE

“Netizens=Concern Trolls”…I only ever get a glimmer of what the Korean flavor of netizens are up to through third party reporting, but I would not be a bit surprised to find that there is a good proportion of concern trolling in their numbers.

I just had my first extended exposure to Kim Hye-soo (setting aside her appearance in Ep. 21 of Dr. Romantic, which is a quick one-off) when I finally watched Signal earlier this month. I can see why she is widely celebrated and awarded as an actress, because she has great presence.

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Not to mention those eyes!

j3ffc
2 months ago
Reply to  Trent

For another charming side of IU, check her out paragliding

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXaq7OlvHBE

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

@j3ffc: as she says of herself on a song off her new album, that young woman, she’s “a bubble maker.”

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent==Off topic, but Signal, final episode…what did you think of it. Did it seem like maybe they were planning a season two. Time travel shows…difficult to resolve.

Trent
2 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE Signal? Yeah, my comment immediately after finishing it was that I was going to have to sit with it awhile and think about it. And now that I’ve done that…I dunno. I don’t think I liked how it was wound up. I mean, I think overall the show was good and deserves much, if not all, of the praise it gets. And I can handle some ambiguity; I even expect it. But I feel like that ending was just too abrupt, too much unresolved…too much ambiguity. And okay, fair, time travel is tough and no show can ever get it quite right, but I think they could have taken a stab at doing more there at the end.

(I will say that I don’t think it was as incoherent as the last 5-10 minutes of Sisyphus, so there’s that, at least).

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Sisyphus was largely a bogus show insofar as its internal logic from the beginning, and it upped the ante on that incoherence almost every episode. The ending did make a kind of sense on reflection, but in each case the sense it made, made no sense–albeit the biggest head scratcher was kind of cute when lhe brother, like the audience, finally gets to get off the dentist chair in the void, yuk.
Signal had an internal logic, and the ending only makes sense with a season 2 against that logic. One of the two male leads should not have survived. Or somehow, the boy with the umbrella is clued into his better angels and walks the girl home in the rain
I feel if there is a single critique I have of a lot of shows, it is that the show writers do not know how to stick the landing. There were a lot of ways to finish Signal if it were a one off that might have made more sense.
But unlike slice of life drama, which both does not shy away from sad endings while at the same time projecting a generally elegaic and wholesome view of what it is to be human, and some sageuks in which history has dictated the ending so writers need to provide some redemption for a tragic history, a lot of genre drama is hamstrung by its cynical pov.
That is, show writers have world views for so many that ultimately the abject corruption and abuse of power is so pervasively institutionalized in Korean life that it cannot be realistically addressed or redressed and tragedy is unsatisfactory; thus, writers do not find the fundamental heroism in human terms and flawed, if flavorful, quality of character in heroes cannot answer for the myriad plot complications by which writers have painted themselves into a corner.
In Signal like Sisyphus, but not to such a great degree, and with better material in bulk of show, show writers settled for there is no way out of the corner ambiguity. I would watch a second season of Signal, however, but I would not, never, watch another episode of a Sisyphus franchise.

beez
2 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – That flubbing the landing has been my pet peeve for a long, long time with Kdrama. But now that I think about it, I cannot remember any western show that wrapped up well. (Stargate SG-1, Lost, Battlestar Gallactica (later version), the Sopranos. A couple of these I did not watch but I heard about the endings.)
They all went on waaaay too long and made an excellent show become something that petered out on spindly legs. 🙁 (That’s if they didn’t “jump the shark”.)

I think we expect better endings in Kdrama because the end is in sight so we expect a strong ending the way we do in order to consider a movie to be good or not. It needs to stick the landing. imo

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: The Wire and Treme shut down well enough. But I generally think genre shows in K Drama have three particular problems: the first is the desire to keep viewers interested with plot complications that go on and on, too many at times to resolve, except, of course, with cursory tying up loose ends and a romantic happily ever after. The second is that shows get contracted for more episodes than are necessary to tell their story. I know others will disagree with me, but I thought Vincenzo went on for four episodes too many, and in the final four threw away an essential element of its charm, settling for a more cliched ending even if it did seem to hit every mark.
And most egregious, show runners lose the courage of their convictions, and in the final episode for a variety of reasons, finish in ways that contradict the logic of their entire show.
When a show sticks to its guns–my very favorite on this account would be Secret Love Affair–and show plays out to a natural conclusion, it takes a very good show into great. When, for whatever reason, the show loses its conviction–the immediate contrast would be The World of the Married, which should have ended tragically–no matter what went before greatness escapes it. Even a show like Doctor Romantic, if one does not take into account the epilogue, even though it had a second season, brought itself to a logical conclusion. Not a great drama, but a very, very good one in part because it stuck to its guns and in the final episode the conclusion demonstrated its thesis and exposition throughout.
There are few great shows from any venue. The problem with suspense or science fiction genres is that the conclusion is so crucial for audience enjoyment. Korean dramas are extremely novelistic, however, whereas serial dramas from everywhere else until recently lacked the demand of such story telling, so it is more glaring when it does not work out in K Drama.

beez
2 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent @BE – I’ll admit I don’t remember exactly what happened but I do remember thinking “It looks like they’re planning a sequel”. Now, our chances of getting it so late in the game… are probably not even as good as them ever finishing Arthdal.

j3ffc
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Oh Jung-se was just so good in IOTNBO that if he doesn’t win, I agree that it would say more about the awards themselves than his performance.

Interesting that we’re brining up movies. I’ve not seen very many Korean movies, but I have noticed a definite difference in vibe between K-dramas and K-films, with the latter feeling much more like other international films than the TV shows do. They are a little harder to see but many are available.

Of course, when talking international awards, it is nice to see Korean films more prominently appreciated by the Academy Awards, still the biggest entertainment awards going (and sometimes the most infuriating!). This year, congrats indeed to Yuh-jung Youn.

Amy
Amy
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Same thoughts here regarding Oh Jung-se, esp. since it was a unanimous decision amongst the judges for his role in WtCB.

beez
3 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I’m totally off topic here, but I have to jump in about my girl Shin Hye sun. I watched the film Collectors day before yesterday and she acts so beautiful. Just like when I first caught her on my radar as she was “acting* homely in Five Children to the extent, I actually thought she was not all that attractive in real life. But the role called for her to be mousy and homely so she was. Just like Collectors called for beautiful and sexy… so she was. 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍

BE
BE
3 months ago
Reply to  beez

Well, I would never think of her as “mousy.” More, um, seriously dangerous to fall for.
She has me sold. I love how she is famous for her “diction.” I do not know if Collectors is my kind of film, although Vincenzo has convinced me that Korean entertainment can do comedic action mashups, and after seeing Im Won Hee in the Dr. Romantics, I am tickled by a film that she is in also having him And I want to see more of her.

beez
3 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Im Won Hee haa really grown on me. For so many years he played the bad guy in comedies. Suddenly he’s on my screen in several comedies as a likeable character. I wonder if that is a coincidence or if his new weight loss has affected his casting? Just pondering.

BE
BE
3 months ago
Reply to  beez

He got a real break in Dr. Romantic as he gets all the comedic relief in show, and in contrast to its relentless drama, his hyperbolic histrionics work very well, not to mention his foil, the toadstool Dr. Song makes him look so consistently sympathetic.

Shree
Shree
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I’m speculating that Nam Yoon Su was nominated for Best New Actor because Kim Dong Hee (Extracurricular’s main actor) was originally planned to be nominated, but since he was accused of bullying, they replaced him with Nam Yoon Su instead.

I doubt Seo Ye Ji will win for the same reason, the nominations were announced before her scandal broke out so they couldn’t replace her (again, I’m just speculating).

Also, I do not recommend Mouse. Lee Hee Joon was great and deserves the nomination for Best Supporting Actor (though he is a main actor, not supporting), but that show is a mess.

Hope this helps!

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  Shree

Interesting input on Mouse, thank you. At any rate, I’m not sure I can handle two serial killer shows at once, so I will wait to see how I feel once I’ve made it through Beyond Evil.

I do recall seeing that Kim Dong-hee had fielded some bullying accusations, so you may be onto something that it blocked him from a nomination. But really, I liked Extracurricular (and like I said, really liked Park Ju-hyun (how is she in Mouse, by the way? she’s at least part of my original interest in seeing it)) but do not think it needed a bunch of award nominations, and Nam Yoon-su struck me as adequately playing a jerkface bullying punk, but not much more than that.

Shree
Shree
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Thanks for your reply! To answer your question: I liked Park Ju Hyun in Extracurricular as well, and she acts similarly in Mouse. Both characters are impulsive, intelligent, and often really rude and blunt. But her character Bongyi from Mouse is not as complex and interesting as Gyuri. I dropped Mouse at episode 10, and her character was one of the many reasons why. Unlike Gyuri from Extracurricular, Bongyi was solely there for the creepy love story (that age gap uhhh) and her character development was mainly used as a prop for the ML. As far as I saw, Park Ju Hyun did what she could with the role, although I noticed her overacting at times, but her poorly-written character doesn’t allow her to show her acting chops.

I agree about Nam Yoon Su in Extracurricular, and like Park Ju Hyun in Mouse, I also blame his poor characterization for that, not his acting. We knew nothing about him in Extracurricular except that he’s a school bully and a total jerk, and that’s a huge writing flaw of the show imo.

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  Shree

Ahh, that’s some good insight into PJH’s part in Mouse, thank you. Yeah, I’m super-not-into creepy age gaps for relationships, so that’s a bummer too. It sounds sort of like it was similar to the part she played in Zombie Detective, where I really felt like she gave her all to the role, but it was just a goofy part and she could only do so much with it.

Fortunately, from what I can tell (this is sheer speculation on my part), so far she seems to have caught some casting directors’ eyes or something, because she’s had three significant parts in a year, even if a couple of them weren’t the greatest roles. And now she’s got a Baeksang Arts nom. under her belt. So I am hopeful we will see her in something with some meat that she can flex her skills in before too much longer.

beez
3 months ago
Reply to  Shree

@Shree and @Everyone – you know, we won’t have any of these gorgeous actors/actresses left if Knetziens don’t decide to absolve these guys because Korean culture has created these bullies by rewarding beauty in an exaggerated way. I’ve seen Korean talk shows that included everyday citizens that talk about the abuse they’ve received and allowed just because someone was handsome or pretty.🙄

I know that western society is also guilty of favoritism for the attractive but we’re also keenly aware that that outward appearance might house some rotteness when dealing with getting into a relationship or a business deal. And while people might still fall for looks in entering into a relationship, if the person is mean or toxic, then we won’t stay in the relationship, not just for looks anyway. But when asked why they tolerate bad behavior, I’ve heard Korean men say “because she’s pretty”. I’ve heard middle- aged and older Korean women explain how they were conned by “he was so good looking that I can’t believe…”.

BE
BE
3 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: standards of beauty are strange as well. The emphasis on skinny legs for young women in K entertainment land seems a bit retro to me, and sad.
Unfortunately it is a human failing; beauty is a thing that takes one out of oneself. Of course after a period beauty loses its lustre with familiarity if familiarity breeds contempt, but it too has to do with our affection for youth and springtime and art of all sorts.
And although it is changing–who sixty years ago would have thought a hairless chest would become a signifier of male beauty–and today the female gaze is out in the open, women still bear the brunt of all this, have so many more markers to check off. Beautyism, and what that constitutes, will always I think be a thing. I would like to say that I had more discerning tastes as a young man, but darn if a couple of beautiful women did not make a wreck of me, who confused their external beauty with what I supposed to be some internal and spiritual thing.
But also, I have seen among my own family that being a beautiful young woman can become such a burden that after a point it becomes almost an imperative to eschew conventional standards of beauty–extreme weight loss or gain, an especial trap.
When I was a child, my parents would always talk about how smart I was, but what I would not have given to hear “he’s just too cute for words,” and instead of universally approving head nods and affirmations, hugs, kisses, and tickles from female family members.
Good looks when it comes to entertainment is money. And money, like other material things, can be a mixed blessing. The rich in our world get away far more with bullying than the beautiful. Money institutionalizes bullying.
Beautiful actors get the leads because when we see a romantic lead in a story we wish to either be that person attracting the beautiful other or imagine ourselves being that other embraced by that physical beauty.
What I find interesting in K Drama is that it has some difficulty with beauty or the lack thereof for those actors between forty and sixty, more for women than men. But around 60, it is quite interesting that its most featured actors, women and men, are valued almost entirely for their character and range of feeling, and often in a way that American actors, who are compelled to be sexy into their seventies, are not.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
3 months ago
Reply to  Trent

IOTNBO and Flower Of Evil were my favorite dramas of last year too. I am rooting for Lee Joon Ki and Shin Hye Sun. Seo Ye Ji was also outstanding, but I am not sure how the ridiculous accusations against her will affect her chances. I hear that her current movie is doing well, so I hope the scandal will blow over.

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Yay, hi5! fellow member of the IOTNBO & Flower of Evil fan club!

I heard that SYJ got kicked off the new drama that she was supposed to start filming later this year, so I hope she’s able to weather the reputational hit and get her career back on track.

(there’s a whole big issue about celebrities’ private lives and what and how derogatory information, when it comes out, does or should affect their career prospects, which I don’t know if my own views are firmly settled. In her particular case, I don’t think it’s fair that those private texts got leaked, on the one hand, but on the other, once they were, that seemed to point at a pretty toxic relationship and unprofessional conduct, on both their parts. Perhaps she’s learned from it? One can hope. But also, it’s good to remind myself periodically to separate actor/actress as a person from the role they inhabit, and focus on the role).

beez
3 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – Yes, the “bullying” charges against Seo Ye jin and Kim Jung-Hyun was just a product of being young and stupid. Her for jealously making those demands and on his part for trying to comply. It’s obvious when you see the press conferences from the time of the “bullying” that he looks like someone horribly afraid of losing his girlfriend. And the fact that it caused him to quit his first drama as male lead is telling to how stressed he must have been. (Frankly, I was surprised that any production was willing to cast him after his desertion of a project without actually being ill (with a physical diagnosis) as he claimed he was at the time.) The tragic part is how his co-starring actress was treated and made to feel but I don’t think this was a case of true bullying but rather she caught the bystander brunt of it. For me, I would just chalk this “scandal” up to young and dumb and neither of them will probably ever do that again.

Although I would say that was incredibly selfish on Seo Ye jin’s part to jeopardize his career that way. Even if he had done something that made her jealous with another woman in real life (meaning outside of the production he was starring in) that was overly mean as a way of squeezing revenge since it was his first lead role.

Ahhhh, young love. Ain’t it grand[ly awful]? 😆

BE
BE
3 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: We have spoken of this elsewhere, but prudishness/prurience go hand in hand. Possessiveness and amorous passion as well. As these people are not likely in this or any other lifetime to hook up with me or give me their money so we can travel the world together, so much for all that. K entertainment has become too international for some of this petty bs to stand for much for all that much longer, It;s All Right and Mr. Queen both international sensations, and instant karma is just a breath away.
205 million hits on this comment by K Ent’s biggest popstar:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM0xDI5R50E

Leslie
Leslie
3 months ago
Reply to  BE

My love for IU continues to grow.

Trent
3 months ago
Reply to  Leslie

Seriously. Talented and delightful to watch.

beez
2 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – you list me here: “It;s All Right and Mr. Queen both international sensations, and instant karma is just a breath away.” What do It’s All Right (haven’t seen; never heard of) and Mr. Queen have to do with the subject of weight placed on looks and karma?

I enjoyed the video. Thanks. I get the yellow line represents “overstepping/do not cross” but does SK have a yellow card the way pink slips represent getting fired here? And what does an actual yellow card (if that’s a real thing) mean?

j3ffc
2 months ago
Reply to  beez

Yellow card comes from soccer/football and other games. It’s a warning to a player that he or she has committed a foul or infraction and had better shape up. A red card means “you’re outta here”.

beez
2 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

@j3ffc – Ahhhhhh. Thanks.

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: Sorry about It’s all right, meant It’s Okay (to not be Okay), and both shows and the success of their actors have gone beyond Korea, and what with the past two Academy Awards, Korean Drama, not to mention Korean popular music, has become an international sensation. The stars of both shows are bankable, no matter what petty scandal mongers attempt to do with them… with Netflix, having invested god knows how much money in the entertainment business there!
Frivolous scandals such as the ones surrounding the actors in both those dramas in light of an international scene will carry less weight, given Ben Affleck, for example, or any of his beautiful exes.
Youn Yuh Jung had been a tv and movie star before getting married and moving to the US. Her marriage ended, and divorced she returned to Korea. The 80s. At that time, according to Youn, it was impossible for a thirty something divorcee to get a lead role on tv or in film, and it took her a few years before she began rebuilding her rep through character roles. That was the eighties. Last I noticed Joong Ki after his divorce is about to get the year’s Best Actor Award. Speaking of beautiful faces.
And beautiful actors will continue to get lead roles, good ones unless they do really egregious siht will do so as well.

Soccer–Yellow Card: .”A yellow-colored card shown by a referee to a player, especially in soccer, to indicate that the player has committed a flagrant foul. Being shown two yellow cards results in ejection from the game.” Beep beep–IU is blowing the whistle and calling a yellow card on scandal mongers and gossip peddlers. Everybody seems to love IU, and she has a great reputation as a very good person, so if she is complaining about it, and 200+ million people hit the song with its complaint, it is bound to have an affect.

beez
2 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Ummmm 🤔 I don’t know. Hallyu has been changing (progressing?). But just how far, I guess we’ll see. The fact that they fired So Ye ji from her upcoming drama tells me they’re not that accepting yet. Heck, if she were in Hollywood, what she did would get her jokingly labeled a “jealous [w]itch”. Laughed at on Instagram and Twitter for about a week and that would be the end of it.

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: She does have the misfortune, ironically, of being up against Shin Hye Sun for this year’s best serial drama actress, but apparently So Ye Ji’s recently released movie sold out at the box offices before it first showed in theaters. She is both attractive, kind of silly having shown off her legs repeatedly in IOTNBO to worry about her boyfriend’s “skinshipery”, and a pretty good young actor or at least charismatic one, and despite this silliness seems to have a fan base. Ah as Ben-Lo must seem to opine these days, ‘what goes around, comes around.” Yuk.

beez
2 months ago
Reply to  BE

“Ben-lo”??????

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  beez

You have not seen the rumors about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez getting back together? After Jennifer Garner, I thought, bending low so to speak, Affleck and Lopez needed a new sobriqquet. J-Fleck?

beez
2 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I’ve seen the clock bait. I thought they were called Bennifer. Did they get a new moniker (or did you make that one up?) 😉

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  beez

Yes they were once Bennifer, but then he got married to another Jennifer, and so I, who find these contracted celebrity names kind of humorous to begin with (why no Jay-Bee or Bey-Jay, for example, the two of them each on their own, too big to reduce I suppose), thought Ben Lo might be “cute.” Oh gosh, forgive an old poet and dad, his affection for word play, puns, and bad jokes.

phl1rxd
3 months ago

Hi Fangurl – Interesting post and I love the many My Love From Another Star photos! 💖✨ I usually do not watch drama award shows from the tri-powers. I just catch the latest buzz on the complaints 🤣 when netizens’ faves get bypassed. I have a few actors and dramas that I feel really deserve recognition his year so I may watch a few in December. I feel so bad for the actors who have to walk that carpet in the freezing cold though.