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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

49th Daejong Film Awards: Masquerade Wins... Everything

The largest movie awards show returned tonight as it held its 49th edition in Seoul. As the size and prestige of the industry has risen over the years, so has this awards show, which could be seen as Korean cinema's equivalent to the Oscars. It's not the only awards show in town as the Blue Dragon Awards, which take place in November, are also fairly prominent, but it's the longest running and the one with the highest profile.

Last year a couple of films, all with big box office tallies took home most of the awards but this year's event fortunately featured a few smaller films in the mix, not least Kim Ki-duk's Pieta, which picked up the Venice Film Festival's top prize, the Golden Lion, only a few weeks ago. The nominees list is still largely dominated by commercial hits, as this awards show as not traditionally been kind to independent fare, but it's nice to see a few make the cut. Though in the end it seems the variety was all for nought.

Perhaps the Daejong (or Grand Bell) awards should be renamed as the Gwanghae (or King's) awards after a certain film's Korean title. Masquerade didn't just win the night, it flat out conquered it, winning no less than 15 awards (out of a possible 20), walking away with everything it was nominated for. No other film won more than one award as it swept every single technical category. While it was certainly deserving for things like Music, Costume and Cinematography, perhaps even Editing, I'm a little confused at how it won Visual Effects, as I don't recall much of the latter in the picture. But I guess that anything less than a sweep would have blown the pattern. Didn't make for a very exciting show though as it became very obvious very early how everything was going to play out.

Save for the Best Supporting Actress honors that went to Kim Hae-suk, The Thieves was almost completely shut out, despite becoming the biggest film in Korean cinema history. Then again Masquerade has a slim chance at replacing it atop the chart and tonight's performance may improve its chances.

Masquerade scored the big double by winning Best Film and Best Director for its helmer Choo Chang-min who has gone from strength to strength in his career. His last film, Late Blossom, was one of 2010's best studio works and I'm excited to see what opportunities this win and Masquerade's success will afford him as a filmmaker.

Aside from the lopsidedness of the ceremony perhaps the biggest news will be Lee Byung-hun picking up the Best Actor prize as many predicted he would following the opening of Masquerade in September. It's simply his best role and couldn't come at a better time for him as he is trying to position himself as the first male Korean actor to make a significant impact in the Hollywood marketplace with no less than two big-budget US offerings out next year.

Jo Min-su won what also turned out to be Pieta's sole win of the night, for Best Actress. Granted Masquerade featured no lead female performer! Jo is certainly well-deserving of the prize, though it must be said that the field was a little weak this year.

Best Supporting Actor went to Ryoo Seung-ryong for Masquerade, though he was also nominated for All About My Wife. This was a well-deserved win for a great performance from a brilliant actor who has excelled in supporting roles over the last few years. He has impressed in many a good role such as War of the Arrows (2011), The Front Line (2011) and Possessed (2009) to name but a few.

Best New Actress went to Kim Ko-eun for her Lolita-esque turn in Eungyo while Kim Sung-kyun took home to new actor prize for Neighbors. No surprises there, especially as Kim was nominated for both Neighbors and Nameless Gangster, a big year for an actor who is poised to become a force in the industry.

The Best New Director category was not particularly strong this year though I admit that I've only seen two of the films represented (Traffickers and Pacemaker). However, I've heard good things about Jesus Hospital so I was surprised when Choi Jang-tae won the prize for Hand in Hand, a feel-good melodrama that was released to little fanfare earlier this year.

As strong a film as Masquerade is, it's a little sad to see it dominate the field tonight so heavily. It doesn't do justice to what has been a strong year for commercial cinema across the board, with many quality studio works firmly announcing a big return to form for the industry. Then again, it's just an awards show!

48th Daejong Film Awards Winners and Nominees:


Best Film
Award Winner:
Masquerade
Nominees:
Pieta
Eungyo
Silenced
Masquerade
Unbowed

Best Director
Award Winner:
Choo Chang-min (Masquerade)
Nominees:
Lee Yong-ju (Architecture 101)
Kim Ki-duk (Pieta)
Choi Dong-hun (The Thieves)
Choo Chang-min (Masquerade)
Chung Ji-young (Unbowed)

Best Actor
Award Winner:
Lee Byung-hun (Masquerade)
Nominees:
Choi Min-sik (Nameless Gangster)
Kim Myung-nin (Pacemaker)
Hwang Jung-nin (Dancing Queen)
Lee Byung-hun (Masquerade)
Ahn Sung-ki (Unbowed)

Best Actress
Award Winner:
Jo Min-su (Pieta)
Nominees:
Jo Min-su (Pieta)
Kim Ko-eun (Eungyo)
Uhm Jung-hwa (Dancing Queen)
Hwang Jung-min (Jesus Hospital)
Lim Soo-jung (All About My Wife)

Best Supporting Actor
Award Winner:
Ryoo Seung-ryong (Masquerade)
Nominees:
Jo Jung-suk (Architecture 101)
Kim Sung-kyun (Nameless Gangster)
Ryoo Seung-ryong (All About My Wife)
Yu Jun-sang (In Another Country)
Ryoo Seung-ryong (Masquerade)

Best Supporting Actress
Award Winner:
Kim Hae-suk (The Thieves)
Nominees:
Kang Eun-jin (Pieta)
Kim Hyun-soo (Silenced)
Ra Mi-ran (Dancing Queen)
Moon Jung-hee (Deranged)
Kim Hae-suk (The Thieves)

Best New Actor
Award Winner:
Kim Sung-kyun (Neighbors)
Nominees:
Jo Jung-suk (Architecture 101)
Kim Sung-kyun (Nameless Gangster)
Kim Sung-kyun (The Neighbors)
Woo Ki-hong (Pieta)
Daniel Choi (Traffickers)

Best New Actress
Award Winner:
Kim Ko-eun (Eungyo)
Nominees:
Bae Suzy (Architecture 101)
Go Ara (Pacemaker)
Yoo Hae-jung (Lovable)
Kang Eun-jin (Pieta)
Kim Ko-eun (Eungyo)

Best New Director
Award Winner:
Choi Jong-tae (Hand in Hand)
Nominees:
Kim Dal-jung (Pacemaker)
Shin A-ga & Lee Sang-cheol (Jesus Hospital)
Kim Joo-ho (The Grand Heist)
Kim Hong-sun (Traffickers)
Choi Jong-tae (Hand in Hand)

Best Screenplay
Award Winner:
Hwang Jo-young (Masquerade)
Nominees:

Best Production
Award Winner:
Lee Tae-yoon (Masquerade)
Nominees:

Best Production
Award Winner:
Im Sang-jin (Masquerade)
Nominees:

Best Editing
Award Winner:
Nam Na-young (Masquerade)
Nominees:

Best Lighting
Award Winner:
Oh Seung-chul (Masquerade)
Nominees:

Best Costume Design
Award Winner:
Kwon Yoo-jin, Im Seung-hee (Masquerade)
Nominees:

Best Art Design
Award Winner:
Oh Heung-suk (Masquerade)
Nominees:

Best Music
Award Winner:
Mogue, Kim Joon-sung (Masquerade)
Nominees:

Best Sound Effects
Award Winner:
Lee Sang-joon (Masquerade)
Nominees:

Best Visual Effects
Award Winner:
Jung Jae-hoon (Masquerade)
Nominees:

Popularity Award
Award Winner:
Lee Byung-hun (Masquerade)
Nominees:

Lifetime Achievement Award
Award Winner:
Kwak Jung-hwan, Ko Eun-ah

Special thanks to Asian Media Wiki for the complete awards breakdown.


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