10 Baeksang Awards-Nominated Dramas And Movies To Watch
The Baeksang Arts Awards was first introduced in 1965 by Chang Key-young who used "Baeksang" as his pen name; he was the founder of the Hankook Ilbo newspaper, one of Korea's most popular dailies.
Established to recognise the movers in the world of Korean television, film, and theatre, the awards hold a prestigious place in the country's entertainment industry, the Baeksang Arts Awards is considered South Korea's most prestigious awards show. Some of your favourite Hallyu stars have been honoured at the awards in the past years, among whom are Hyun Bin, Park Seo-joon, Son Ye-jin, Kim Hee-ae, IU, and many others.
In anticipation of this year's ceremonies, we list down the nominated features under the Best Drama and Best Film categories and why you should watch them.
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1/10 Beyond Evil
Released in early 2021, this thriller follows the story of detective Lee Dong-sik (Shin Ha-kyun) and newbie Han Joo-won (Yeo Jin-goo). Both stationed in the Manyang Police Substation in Gyeonggi Province, they work together to catch a serial murderer.
The crimes are eerily similar to a case Lee Dong-sik encountered 20 years earlier. Is it the same killer? Why are the murders starting up again? As the two leads figure their way around the unfolding mystery, they discover each other's secrets in the process. The series features stellar acting skills from both leads and a captivating screenplay that will have you at the edge of your seat in no time. Shin Ha-kyun nabbed a nomination for Best Actor for his cathartic acting in this psychological drama.
2/10 It's Okay to Not Be Okay
This crowd favourite Netflix series tackles issues like mental health, trauma, and the difficulty of intimacy. Lead actors Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Yae-ji portray the unforgettable characters Moon Gang-tae and Ko Moon-young—an emotionally timid nurse at a psychiatric hospital and an eccentric children's book author, respectively.
They find strength in their newfound friendship and help one another overcome deep-seated troubles. Both Kim and Seo are nominated for their roles in this one-of-a-kind drama.
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3/10 Flower of Evil
This critically acclaimed drama has been the talk of the town for its mind-boggling plot twists. The series male lead is played by Hallyu veteran Lee Goon-gi who offers a performance of a lifetime, making him a shoo-in for a Baeksang nomination this year. Not to be outshined is leading lady Moon Chae-won, who plays dutiful wife to Lee's seemingly perfect husband.
Revolving around a picture-perfect family, the characters Baek Hee-sung (Lee) and Cha Ji-won (Moon) slowly discover confusing (and disturbing) things about their spouse. The series takes viewers on a journey of suspicion, a game of cat-and-mouse, and a shocking turn of events.
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4/10 My Unfamiliar Family
My Unfamiliar Family is a great series to binge for those who enjoy slow-burn, character-centred dramas. Although the plot involves a few classic K-drama tropes like amnesia and social hierarchy dynamics, it offers a refreshing take on the meaning of relationships and duty. It also stars Minari actress, Han Ye-rin in one of her rare small-screen roles.
By exploring the lives of the Kim family, the drama brings to the fore age-old questions about responsibility to one's family and self; a must-watch for its touching narrative and relateable characters. Kwon Young-il got a nod for Best Director for his work in this series.
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This show is not your run-of-the-mill teen drama. Instead of budding romances and swoon-worthy and adorable scenes, Extracurricular explores youth through the peculiar characters Oh Ji-soo (Kim Dong-hee) and Bae Gyu-ri (Park Ju-hyun).
Having been abandoned by his parents, Oh Ji-soo earns money by providing security for an illegal prostitution ring. His classmates and teachers are none the wiser up until Bae Gyu-ri finds out about his unseemly occupation. Kicking off with a strong pilot, the drama takes audiences on a whirlwind of suspenseful events that showcase the show writers' talent and the entire cast's impressive acting chops.
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6/10 Moving On
Some may hesitate to call Moving On a family film. Following the humdrum lives of Ok-joo and her younger brother, this full-length feature presents a melancholic look into a broken family. Having been abandoned by their mother after the divorce, the two young children struggle to understand their father, who is now left to raise them on his own.
The movie bagged six Baeksang nominations (including Best Director and Best Screenplay) which is an incredible fit considering this is director Yoon Dan-bi's debut feature. Moving On perfectly showcases the best Korean cinema has to offer—nuanced storytelling, subtle acting, beautiful cinematography, and so much more—this movie is definitely not one to miss.
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7/10 Deliver Us from Evil
This 2020 film follows In-nam, a veteran hitman on his way to 'retirement'—but not before one final assignment. Just before he's able to complete his last hit, In-nam finds himself entangled in a kidnapping case in Thailand.
A commercial and critical success, Deliver Us from Evil is a compelling cinematic exploration of good versus evil, compassion, and what bonds may be created in dire situations.
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8/10 Samjin Company English Class
Set in 1995, females employees at Samjin Company are studying hard to score at least 600 points at the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication)—an achievement that guarantees them a promotion.
While taking English classes, the ladies discover that Samjin may be involved in illegal activities. Not without a heart of gold, they launch an investigation to get to the bottom of things. A heartwarming tale of friendship and morality, Samjin Company English Class offers a modern exploration of female empowerment and standing up for what's right, even against insurmountable odds.
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9/10 Voice of Silence
You may remember Yoo Jae-myung from his recent stint as the upright lawyer gone-too-soon, Hong Yu-chan, in the Netflix series hit, Vincenzo, or playing the villain in Itaewon Class. In this movie, however, he breathes life to an entirely different character named Chang-bok, one-half of a dutiful clean-up crew to a crime organisation. Starring opposite him is the talented actor Yoo Ah-in, playing the timid Tae-in—reminiscent of his powerful performance in Burning.
Together, they are tasked with taking care of a kidnapped eleven-year-old girl. Things go awry and the unsightly pair are left to pick up the pieces. Their boss is killed and their plan, botched—what do they do now? Thrilling as it is incredibly directed, make sure to add Voice of Silence to your must-watch list. Both leads are also nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor, respectively.
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10/10 The Book of Fish
Renowned director Lee Joon-ik, known to be a master of period films, is the mind behind this multi-nominated film. With six nods under its belt, Book of Fish brings together technical mastery with poignant storytelling. This black-and-white film sheds light on the character of Jeong Yak-jeon, older brother to one of the greatest thinkers of the Joseon Dynasty, Jeong Yak-yong.
Having been exiled to the island of Heuksando during the reign of King Sunjo, Yak-jeon meets the fictional character Chang-dae. They develop a friendship that helps them understand life and its boundless turmoils. Director Lee gives new life to otherwise forgotten names in history.
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