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Controversial film awards continue : Lee Byung-hun spoke to the lack of support from the film industry

Dec 29,2016
Lee Byung-hun [ILGAN SPORTS]
Actor Lee Byung-hun was the winner of the best actor award for his role in the political thriller “Inside Men” (2015) at the 53rd Daejong Film Awards.

Held on Tuesday evening at Sejong University in Seoul, the other nominees included Kwak Do-won from “The Wailing,” Choi Min-sik from “The Tiger,” Ha Jung-woo from “Tunnel” and Song Kang-ho from “The Age of Shadows.” Of the nominees, however, Lee was the only actor to have attended what used to be the most prestigious film event in Korea due to controversy over fairness in the way awards are managed.

“I remember nabbing a rookie actor award at Daejong Film Awards about 20 years ago,” said Lee in his acceptance speech. “Since it was a highly honorable ceremony that every actor would dream of being awarded, I attended the event with excitement. On my way to [this year’s] ceremony, however, a lot of thoughts came to mind. Rather than feeling excited, my mind felt heavy. Daejong has encountered lots of troubles, but I feel that those problems haven’t been properly solved, and I believe I’m not the only one thinking this way.”

“Although recovering its old prestige can’t be solved within a short time, I don’t think the ceremony should disappear disgracefully,” added Lee and further said that he hopes younger actors and actresses would one day attend this film ceremony with the excitement he felt 20 years ago.

Lee’s latest honor marks the 10th best actor award the 46-year-old has nabbed this year at various ceremonies, including the 37th Blue Dragons Awards and 52nd Paeksang Arts Awards.

Lee wasn’t the only person to nab an award out of “Inside Men.” Directed by Woo Min-ho, the film collected four more awards out of 23 categories: best film, best production, best director and best scriptwriter.

Other winners at Daejong included Son Ye-jin, who won the best actress award for her role in the historical drama “The Last Princess,” Um Tae-goo, who won best supporting actor for his role in the historical espionage film “The Age of Shadows” and La Mi-ran, who nabbed the best supporting actress for her role in “The Last Princess.”

Most of the award-winners and nominees, including Son, did not attend the event, and therefore, the final awards for actors and actresses were received in proxy by each film’s producers.

Over the past few years, the movie industry has turned away from the Daejong Film Awards for its lack of fairness in giving out awards. The problem grew last year, when the organizing committee warned that only actors and actresses that attended the ceremony would be honored. The announcement led many of the best actor and actress nominees, including Hwang Jung-min, Jun Ji-hyun and Son Hyun-joo to not show up to the film event.

Although this year’s ceremony wasn’t much better than the one held last year in terms of the number of attendees, the general public has shown agreement towards the winners, saying that the results were relatively fair. However, it remains to be seen whether the ceremony will be able to change the hearts of the film industry and the general public to recover its prestige, and how long it would take if it does.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]


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