Monday, May 25, 2015

51st Baeksang Awards Predictions

The 51st Baeksang Awards is happening tomorrow night. This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, entertainment awards ceremony in South Korea as it encompasses both TV and film (when it's usually separated). I talked about Baeksang once a few years ago and made the mistake of predicting winners when I knew absolutely nothing. Well, maybe mistake is a bit harsh, but it wasn't the best decision. But this year I made it a mission to watch as many Baeksang nominated works as I can so I can say stuff and feel justified because I actually watched them. Now, because of limited time, I was only able to watch the film categories, and not even all because lack of availability. For dramas, I'll just gauge them off of the reviews I've read from other bloggers and commenters online.


Daesang for Films
Based off of previous years, Baeksang tends to give individuals the Grand Prize. Considering the gigantic success of Roaring Currents, I wouldn't be surprised if Choi Min-shik wins. The movie was all about Korean war hero Lee Sun-shin, which was played brilliantly by Choi.

Best Film
The Admiral: Roaring Currents, A Girl at My Door, Han Gong-ju, A Hard Day, Revivre
I've watched four out of the five nominations (Revivre isn't available internationally, I don't think). Personally I would choose between A Girl at My Door and A Hard Day, both solid movies which I highly recommend (A Hard Day for the casual thriller seeker and A Girl at My Door if you want to go deep). If I had to pick one, I'd go for A Girl at My Door because it's a heavier drama that criticizes social issues. A Hard Day was "just" a spectacularly well-made thriller. Han Gong-ju was also amazing, but those two were better. I honestly didn't like Roaring Currents because it wasn't relevant to me and I was bored in the first half of the movie. Revivre seemed to be getting great reviews, but again, I haven't watched.

Best Director
Hong Sang-soo (Hill of Freedom), Im Kwon-taek (Revivre), Kim Seong-hun (A Hard Day), Yoon Je-gyun (Ode to My Father), Zhang Lu (Gyeongju)
Is it weird for me to say that I don't know how to judge a movie's direction? I know if a movie is good or bad, but what portion is because of the direction? Anyways, this category is pretty difficult for me because I've only watched 2 (Hill of Freedom and Revivre is unavailable for me, and I couldn't find Ode to My Father for some reason). Out of the two that I've watched, I think I have to go with Kim Seong-hun for A Hard Day. I actually liked Gyeongju more than the reviews I've seen, since I enjoy slower movies sometimes. But honestly, A Hard Day is hard to beat. Although considering how big Ode to My Father is, I could see Yoon Je-gyun winning for this one.

Best Actor
Ahn Sung-ki (Revivre), Jo Jin-woong (A Hard Day), Choi Min-shik (The Admiral: Roaring Currents), Lee Sun-kyun (A Hard Day), Sol Kyung-gu (My Dictator)
I can only judge three of the performances, two are in the same movie. Since I put Choi Min-shik in the Daesang category, I'll go with Lee Sun-kyun. His character couldn't catch a break throughout the movie and I was hooked on his journey because of him. Once again, I wish I could watch Revivre and My Dictator, the latter sounds like a pretty cool movie.

Best Actress
Bae Doo-na (A Girl at My Door), Kim Sae-ron (A Girl at My Door), Shin Min-ah (Gyeongju), Son Ye-jin (Pirates), Yeom Jung-ah (Cart)
To me, it's down to the two brilliant actresses of A Girl at My Door. Shin Min-ah was good in Gyeongju, but not award worthy, at least compared to the other nominees. Yeom Jung-ah was also good, but Cart felt more like an ensemble movie for me. I would love it if 15-year-old Kim Sae-ron wins, but her co-star Bae Doo-na was just outstanding.

Best Supporting Actor
Lee Gyeong-young (Whistle Blower), Park Sung-woong (The Deal), Song Sae-byuk (A Girl at My Door), Yoo Hae-jin (Pirates), Yoo Yeon-seok (The Royal Tailor)
I've watched three of the works nominated, (Whistle Blower, The Royal Tailor, and A Girl at My Door) and among them, Song Sae-byuk wins. Lee Gyeong-young is a great actor but he seems to play the same character over and over again. They're played well, but not enough for an award. Yoo Yeon-seok was great as a villain (I'm starting to think I like him better evil than sweet), but Song, who usually does more comedic roles, was such an asshole in the movie in the best possible way.

Best Supporting Actress
Han Ye-ri (Haemoo), Jo Yeo-jeong (Obsessed), Kim Ho-jung (Revivre), Lee Jung-hyun (The Admiral: Roaring Currents), Moon Jung-hee (Cart)
Based on the teasers of Revivre, I think Kim Ho-jung has a good chance of winning. But from the performances I've seen personally (which are three), I really liked Han Ye-ri. She was the sole lady on a ship full of men and she held her own.

Best New Actor
Byun Yo-han (Socialphobia), Jo Bok-rae (C'est si Bon), Kang Ha-neul (Twenty), Lee Min-ho (Gangnam Blues), Park Yoo-chun (Haemoo)
Ack! I've only watched one movie in this category, but Park Yoo-chun was awesome in Haemoo, just like basically everyone else in this cast (if there was Best Ensemble award, I would have to give it to them). Park has also won numerous awards for his role and it wouldn't surprise me if he will win again. And also because he's adorable.

Best New Actress
Chun Woo-hee (Han Gong-ju), Esom (Scarlet Innocence), Kim Seol-hyun (Gangnam Blues), Lee Honey (Tazza: The Hidden Card), Lim Ji-yeon (Obsessed)
It's funny how Chun Woo-hee won for Best Actress in Blue Dragon for Han Gong-ju but is now sorted in Best New Actress here. The rules are weird, and it's possible she was nominated here because she has yet to before or to make room to the other actresses for Best Actress. My situation is similar to the Best New Actor category where I've only seen one performance, but considering her history of winning, if she doesn't win for this one, it would be a crime.

Best New Director
Hong Seok-jae (Socialphobia), Jin Mo-young (My Love Don't Cross the River), July Jung (A Girl at My Door), Lee Byeong-heon (Twenty), Lee Su-jin (Han Gong-ju)
I want July Jung, mostly because A Girl at My Door was amazing, but also because seeing a female director nominated is such a rarity (and winners even more so). Although I have a feeling Jin Mo-young might win with My Love Don't Cross the River as that movie seems to own the heart of Koreans.

Best Screenplay
Kim Kyung-chan (Cart), Kim Seong-hun (A Hard Day), Lee Chun-hyeong (Whistle Blower), Lee Su-jin (Han Gong-ju), Shin Sung-bo & Bong Joon-ho (Haemoo)
I think this one will go to A Hard Day. Haemoo was good up until the cliched ending (before the time skip, if anyone else has watched), and was more impressive in the performance front than anything. Han Gong-ju was also good, but the highlight were the performances and production (I thought it had great editing). Cart was okay; it was predictable and didn't have closure which is a feature a lot of social movies have sadly. Whistle Blower just didn't do it for me as a whole, even on the performance front (which is surprising since it also stars Park Hae-il and Yoo Yeon-seok). A Hard Day was just gripping from the very first second until the moment the credit rolls.

Popularity Awards
Probably Lee Min-ho and Park Shin-hye. Park Shin-hye is one of the highest search keywords to my blog even though I have only written about her like twice (her popularity is out of this world). And Lee Min-ho, well, anything with him brings hoards of people for reasons I apparently don't understand.


Daesang for Television
I have no idea. I'm going to take a wild guess and say Jo Jae-hyun from Punch (which I have never watched) is going to win. Why? No clue. It seems like his time.

Best Drama
Heard It Through the Grapevine, Kill Me Heal Me, Misaeng, Punch, Yoo-na's Street

I kind of wished Kill Me Heal Me was switched with It's Okay That's Love but that's just my bias talking (and I personally enjoyed It's Okay more than Kill Me). But I have a good feeling Misaeng is going to win. It's a groundbreaking drama on so many levels. It had an experimental format, great story lines (see plurality), amazing performances, slick production. It was also a nationwide phenomenon and touched on a personal topic many Koreans (or any corporate workers) can relate to. That's not something a drama can claim for itself.

Best Educational Program
Family Shock, Revolt of the Climate, World Theme Travel, Food Odyssey, Special: Life Crossing
I'm assuming this category is for documentaries, and sadly I have never heard or seen of any of them. Another wild guess just purely due to the name: Food Odyssey, mostly because I like food.

Best Entertainment Program
Infinite Challenge, Non-Summit, Running Man, Superman is Back, Three Meals a Day
The only one I haven't watched a single episode is Three Meals a Day, but I've heard of good things about it (also the Na PD golden touch). I personally enjoy Running Man and do think this year's season has been generally better than last year's. Non-Summit was an interesting and rather unique program. Superman is Back is good again after the addition of the Song triplets. I haven't heard much of Infinity Challenge (and have never been a loyal viewer of them). It'll be cool if Non-Summit wins, but Superman is Back has a good chance of winning too, I think.

Best Screenplay
Jin Soo-wan (Kill Me Heal Me), Jung Sung-joo (Heard It Through the Grapevine), Kim Woon-kyung (Yoo-na's Street), Noh Hee-kyung (It's Okay That's Love), Park Kyung-soo (Punch)
I've personally only watched two, and I don't think those will win. I wished Healer was nominated because it had a pretty solid story line, better than Kill Me in my opinion. I think Punch might have a chance to win since I've been hearing of how great of a story it is.

Best Actor
Jo Jae-hyun (Punch), Ji Sung (Kill Me Heal Me), Jo In-sung (It's Okay That's Love), Kim Rae-won (Punch), Lee Sung-min (Misaeng)
Ji Sung, all the way. He was the beating heart of that show, and carried on 7 (mostly 5) different characters with ease. Come to think of it, maybe he has a chance for the Daesang. Who knows why I decided to pick Jo Jae-hyun for that. But really, I think any of those five men deserve a Best Actor Award.

Best Actress
Kim Ok-bin (Yoo-na's Street), Lee Yoo-ri (Jang Bo-ri is Here!), Moon Jung-hee (Mama), Park Shin-hye (Pinocchio), Song Yun-ah (Mama)
I'm terrible because I haven't watched a single performance in this category. I personally think it'll be cool for Lee Yoo-ri to win because she was playing an antagonist, and how often do these shows give awards to them, right?

Best New Actor
Do Kyung-soo (It's Okay That's Love), Kim Dae-myung (Misaeng), Lee Joon (Heard It Through the Grapevine), Park Hyung-shik (What Happens to My Family?), Im Shi-wan (Misang)
I have a soft spot for Do Kyung-soo because I have a soft spot for everyone in that drama, also because he and Jo In-sung formed a very cute bromance which I always appreciate. While I love Kim-Daeri (Kim Dae-myung), I think Im Si-wan might win. Misaeng was all about Geu-rae's journey and the face of him was Si-wan. I've mentioned that Geu-rae is such a unicorn of a character, but Si-wan breathed so much groundedness to him.

Best New Actress
Baek Ji-yeon (Heard It Through the Grapevine), Go Ah-sung (Heard It Through the Grapevine), Han Sun-hwa (Rosy Lovers), Kim Seul-gi (Discovery of Love), Nam Ji-hyun (What Happens to My Family?)
This category is kind of a toss up because it's filled with actresses of different backgrounds. From former MCs, to child stars and idols. They also have different experience as actors. Since I haven't fully watched any of their roles thoroughly, I'm going to give this to Go Ah-sung just because she's an awesome actress in general. I do appreciate that my fave Kim Seul-gi gets a nod too.

Best Male Variety Performer
Jung Hyung-don (Please Take Care of My Refrigerator, Infinity Challenge), Jeon Hyeon-moo (Non-Summit, I Live Alone), Kim Sung-joo (I Live Alone, Mask King), Sung Si-kyung (Witch Hunt, Non-Summit), Yoo Se-yoon (Non-Summit, Saturday Night Live Korea)
I don't know what Please Take Care of My Refrigerator is, which apparently two of the nominees star in. I don't have any preferences for any. I'm just going to say it's Jeon Hyeon-moo because, despite how often other people tease him about... things, he does his job well.

Best Female Variety Performer
Ahn Young-mi (Real Men: Female Soldier Special 2, Saturday Night Live Korea), Heo Anna (Gag Concert), Jang Do-yeon (Comedy Big League), Lee Guk-joo (Roomate Season 2, Comedy Big League), Lee Young-ja (Hello Counselor)
I'm even more clueless about this category since I don't watch comedy shows like Gag Concert or Comedy Big League. Perhaps Lee Guk-joo might win, because she is very funny (and quite popular apparently). Then again, I'm pretty sure every one of these ladies are funny as well, so it's a toss up really. I don't know who the "trend" are these days.

Popularity Awards
Do Kyung-soo has a possibility of winning because he's from a very popular idol group. It also seems like Lee Jong-suk might be up for winning. For the ladies, it's f(x)'s Krystal apparently.

Best Original Soundtrack
I personally love the soundtrack for It's Okay That's Love. Whoever was in charge of curating the whole thing is really good at their job. The only other drama whose soundtrack I love is Plus Nine Boys, but I think most of their songs are previously released aka not original for the drama.

And those, ladies and gentlemen, are my predictions for tomorrow's 51st Baeksang Awards. Because I'm not an expert in the industry, there's a 100% chance I'm wrong so take it with a grain of salt. Or better still, who do you think will win tomorrow?


  1. Wow, thanks for the prediction! I'm amazed that you managed to catch up with quite a number of movies for Baeksang :D Can't wait to see who will win because the nominees are all good!

    BTW I think the popularity awards winner were already clear from the polls: Lee Min-ho, Park Shin-hye, Lee Jong-suk & Krystal if I'm not mistaken. There were disputes between D.O. and LJS's fans because of the poll too..

    1. Thanks for your enthusiasm, Mimi! You're the best :* I hope I can do it again next year :)

  2. Just to add on on the variety part.
    Infinite challenge is slightly on slum recently and with certain controversy however it still have its own fan based and PD Kim still have it's own touch.
    As for Three Meals A Day, the concept itself is simple, but with Na PD editing style and a great cast the show is interesting and funny by how even a puppy can make the whole show fun and fluffy.
    Non-Summit is currently a hit though, I find it interesting, educational and eye opening.

    Please take care of refrigerator is a cooking show where chef are given 15 minutes to cook up dishes with whatever in the celeb refrigerator. Is interesting but please don't watch it during midnight. It makes you crave for food.

    Just a small thoughts from me

    - Someone who love korean variety!!

    1. Any thoughts are always welcome on the table. As someone who is a casual variety show watcher, I always appreciate what true variety fans have to say :)