Stars absent from Daejong Film Awards

By 원호정

Winners in 11 categories boycott ceremony amid controversy

  • Published : Nov 22, 2015 - 17:30
  • Updated : Nov 22, 2015 - 17:30

The 52nd Daejong Film Awards on Friday were not quite a star-studded affair as the nominees for top prizes, including Best Actor and Actress, skipped the annual ceremony. 

Although many nominees who did not attend gave reasons such as scheduling conflicts, others openly boycotted the awards, criticizing the organizing committee for poor management and lack of independence from the government.

Daejong Film Awards ceremony at KBS Hall in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul (Yonhap)

The Daejong Film Awards organizers announced at a press conference on Oct. 14 that attendance at the actual ceremony would be prerequisite for winning awards, immediately provoking accusations it was giving out “attendance awards” to try to coerce stars into coming to the event. 

Soon after the announcement, all nine of the nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress said they would not be attending the ceremony for various reasons. The nominees included Hwang Jung-min (“Ode to My Father”), Ha Jung-woo (“Assassination”), Son Hyun-ju (“Chronicles of Evil”) and Yoo Ah-in (“Veteran,” “The Throne”) for Best Actor and Jun Ji-hyun (“Assassination”), Kim Yun-jin (“Ode to My Father”), Kim Hye-soo (“Coin Locker Girl”), Uhm Jeong-hwa (“Wonderful Nightmare”) and Han Hyo-joo (“The Beauty Inside”) for Best Actress.

Hwang Jung-min and Jun Ji-hyun were named the winners, but neither were present to accept the awards. They were not alone; a total of 11 categories found their winners absent from the scene. Kim Soo-hyun and Gong Hyo-jin, who had been voted Most Popular Actor and Actress, respectively, also did not attend to accept -- ostensibly because of complaints over Daejong’s decision to charge a fee to fans who voted. 

The ceremony was filled with awkward silences as the few stars who were present accepted trophies on the winners’ behalf. Director Lee Byoung-heon (“Twenty”), who was nominated for Best Director, was asked to accept the award for fellow nominee Baik (“The Beauty Inside”), although according to Lee the two directors had never met. 

The tension only escalated as the night progressed when it turned out that “Ode to My Father” won 10 categories, including Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Photography and Best Editing, leading director JK Youn to apologize out of embarrassment for coming up on stage so often during the event.

By Won Ho-jung and news reports (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)