The DaejongSang Awards used to be Korea's most prestigious award ceremony, but now people are calling it the 'Whatever Awards.' Last year's live streaming was very poor and almost all of the nominees refused to attend. It was nothing but a disaster.
So for the 54th anniversary of this 2017 DaejongSang Award the committee announced to fully upgrade the event, and as proof the ceremony took place at the Sejong Center in Seoul. 20 films competed over winning the 18 awards, and 'Anarchist from Colony' won five trophies including the Director's Award and Best Actress Award, 'The King' won four including Best Supporting Actor and Actress, 2017's first film to hit 10million 'A Taxi Driver' won the Best Production Award and Management Prize.
Did DaejongSang recover from its 'whatever' days? Well, more like half of success. The effort was there, but so were the flaws. The following are some keywords that summarize this year's DaejongSang Awards.
'Anarchist From Colony' was nominated for twelve awards, competing with 'The King' (12 nominees) and 'A Taxi Driver'(11 nominees). The final winner for this match was, 'Anarchist From Colony'. This film was actually underrated compared to the other two films. 'The King' and 'A Taxi Driver' were films with a strong message based on unforgettable stories of Korean modern history. Ticket sales wise as well, both films were ahead.
'Anarchist From Colony' was a low-budget film and didn't done much promotion neither. But the film was created in all respect of 'Park Yeol' and 'Kaneko Fumiko' real life during the colony years and the critiques loved it. Lee Je-Hoon and Choi Hee-seo's acts were also acclaimed which gives another reason of why this film deserved its trophies.
2017's best rookie must be Choi Hee-seo. Since her debut in 2009 it's been already 8 years but nobody really knew her until she won the role in 'Anarchist From Colony'. A few would've recognized her fluent Japanese from her previous work in 'Dongju'.
This second film with Lee Joon-ik has been Choi's turning point as an actress and the best fit for her in film. She perfectly digested Kaneko Fumiko, the wife of Park Yeol who fought with him across language and borderline. She performed an unforgettable act to the audience, and won two awards this night, the Best Actress Award and the Best New Actress Award, a never before in DaejongSang history. More to expect from this actress.
Before its opening, 'Anarchist From Colony', 'The King', and 'A Taxi Driver' were the main three productions people assumed would win most awards, and were nominated the most as well. All three films have common in telling a crucial point of Korean history which also signified the atmosphere of Korea's film industry in 2017.
'Inside Men' won huge victory in Korea film last year depicting the dark side of the interrelations between politics, the rich and the media which coincidentally caught up with the 2016 influence peddling in Korea. 'The King' was a mixture of historical drama and 'Inside Men', while 'Anarchist From Colony' and 'A Taxi Driver' shared stories of the heartbreaking past. Other films from this year such as 'The Fortress', 'The Battleship Island' also contains a historical drama proving 2017's movie trend in Korea.
Compared to last year's ceremony the absence rate was lower but some actors did announce to refuse in attending the event. For example, excluding the winner Choi Hee-seo, all nominees of the Best Actress Award, Gong Hyo-jin, Kim Ok-bin, Chun Woo-hee and Yum Jung-ah all refused to attend.
This also applied for other awards. 'The Villainess' won two awards for Best Cinematography and Best Effects but none of the film makers were present, so the host Shin Hyun-jun had to go on stage to receive the trophy. Shin's speech in saying we have to protect our own film awards couldn't have come across this bitter.
Shin Hyun Jun and Stephanie Lee's unprofessional work ethic as the host of the event was also a down-grader of the day. It's been his fourth time to host the DaejongSang but has been criticized for not being well-prepared for the event by confusing names and awards in 2015. Stephanie Lee never had any experience in MCing an event so there were some uneasy opinions about this year.
Reality hit hard. Both MCs seemed very uncomfortable and Shin mistakenly called 'Kim Hee-won' as 'Choi Hee-won', while Stephanie stood aloof during the whole time. Thinking of Kim Hye-soo's natural prosecution at the Blue Dragon Award, this DaejongSang looked like an amateur.
TV CHOSUN's live mistakes were also brought up to the table. During Choi Hee-seo's speech voices of staffs saying "Stop it", "She's driving me nuts," "Who is she?" in a complaining tone was all streamed out live. TV CHOSUN is silent about this matter so far, marking it another huge mistake of the DaejongSang Awards.
■Winners of the 54th DaejongSang Award
▶Best Production : 'A Taxi Driver'
▶Best Director : Lee Joon-ik 'Anarchist From Colony'
▶Best Actor : Sol Kyung-gu 'The Merciless'
▶Best Actress : Choi Hee-seo 'Anarchist From Colony'
▶Best Supporting Actor : Bae Sung-woo 'The King'
▶Best Supporting Actress : Kim So-jin 'The King'
▶Best New Actor : Park Seo-joon 'Midnight Runners'
▶Best New Actress : Choi Hee-seo 'Anarchist From Colony'
▶Best New Director : Um Tae-hwa 'Vanishing Time'
▶Best Scenario : Han Jae-rim 'The King'
▶Best Costume Design : 'Anarchist From Colony'
▶Best Art : 'Anarchist From Colony'
▶Best Soundtrack 'Vanishing Time'
▶Best Film Editing : 'The King'
▶Best Lights : 'Prison'
▶Best Management : 'A Taxi Driver'
▶Best Cinematography : 'The Villainness'
▶Best Effects : 'The Villainness'
▶Special Award : Kim Young-Ae 'Pandora'