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Comedian Yoo Jae-suk, film director Lee Joon-ik win top prize at Baeksang Arts Awards

Comedian Yoo Jae-suk (Baeksang Arts Awards)
Comedian Yoo Jae-suk (Baeksang Arts Awards)

Korean comedian Yoo Jae-suk and Lee Joon-ik, the director of period film “Book of Fish,” won the grand prizes in the TV and film categories respectively at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards.

This year’s award ceremony took place at Kintex exhibition hall in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province on Thursday night and it was hosted by comedian Shin Dong-yup and singer-actress Suzy.

Yoo, the winner of this year’s TV categories’ grand prize, was recognized for hosting multiple successful TV variety shows including MBC’s “Hangout with Yoo,” tvN’s “You Quiz on the Block” and “Running Man.”

“Many nowadays know me as a TV show program host, but I am actually a comedian who debuted in 1991. I will try to focus more on making people laugh,” Yoo said during his acceptance speech.

At last year’s Baeksang Arts Awards, Yoo was the winner of the best male variety performer prize for his work hosting MBC’s “Hangout with Yoo.” 

Director Lee Joon-ik (Baeksang Arts Awards)
Director Lee Joon-ik (Baeksang Arts Awards)

Yoo also recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of his career through some of the TV programs that he is hosting.

Lee, widely known as a master of period films here for his previous hits including “King and the Clown” (2005) and “The Throne” (2015), also attended the ceremony and expressed his gratitude after winning the grand prize in film on Thursday.

“The movie (‘Book of Fish’) failed to attract many audiences but (I think that) the value of the film was recognized as I receive this award. Thank you,” Lee said.

Lee’s black-and-white movie, which was released on Mar. 31, presents a fictional story based on a book by one of the leading scholars of the Joseon era. The scholar, Jeong Yak-jeon (Seol Gyeong-gu), was the older brother of Jeong Yak-yong, another leading scholar from the late Joseon era who is more widely known to the public.

At the beginning of the movie, Jeong Yak-jeon is sent into exile for accepting Christianity and other Western ideas. He arrives on Heuksando, a remote island off the coast of South Jeolla Province, and meets a young fisherman named Chang-dae (Byun Yo-han). With some help from Chang-dae, Jeong starts writing a book about animals and plants living in the ocean.

For the TV section, “Beyond Evil” earned three awards this year -- best picture, best screenplay and best actor for the performance by Shin Ha-kyun as the fearless Lee Dong-sik.

For the film section, Yoo Ah-in who played Tae-in, a character that does not have any lines, in “Voice of Silence” won best actor, while Jun Jong-seo, who played the reckless Oh Young-sook in thriller “The Call,” won the best actress award.

The awards ceremony has been held annually since 1965 to recognize achievements in the Korean TV and film industry. Like last year, this year’s event was held without any audience due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Song Seung-hyun (
Korea Herald daum