The Baeksang Arts Awards night promises to deliver fun and major star power every single year. This year was no different, despite the event having no in-person attendance due to pandemic-related restrictions. The show was hosted by comedian Shin Dong-yup and “Baeksang Goddess” Bae Suzy for the fifth consecutive year in a row. It was broadcast domestically by JTBC and internationally via TikTok, letting worldwide fans catch up with the excitement and surprises.
JTBC’s Beyond Evil emerged as the single biggest winner of the night, snagging three of the most prestigious awards. Scriptwriter Kim Su-jin began the winning streak by taking home Best Screenplay for crafting the the exquisitely thrilling plot of the show. Veteran actor Shin Ha-kyun snagged the much-coveted Best Actor award, despite the tough competition like Kim Soo-hyun, Song Joong-ki, Lee Joon-gi, and Uhm Ki-joon. It is a testament to Shin’s stunning portrayal of the flawed anti-hero in the show that he managed to beat out much younger and popular actors for the award. Finally, the show snagged Best Drama over rating monsters It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, My Unfamiliar Family, Flower of Evil, and the gritty Netflix original series Extracurricular. What a night for this underrated gem of a show!
Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Yea-ji’s It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, despite earning the most number of nominations in the TV category with eight, only managed to win two awards—the very well-deserved Best Supporting Actor award for Oh Jung-se, who won both hearts and critical acclaim as Kim Soo-hyun’s autistic older brother Moon Sang-tae. Coincidentally, Oh was also last year’s winner for When the Camellia Blooms, which meant he ended up announcing his own win, earning quite a few laughs in the process. It’s Okay To Not Be Okay‘s costume director Cho Sang-kyung won the show’s second award in the Technical Awards category for putting the show’s breakout star Seo Yea-ji in stunning designer dresses. Unfortunately, due to a barrage of controversies, Seo Yea-ji ended up skipping the show.
The leading star of SBS’s Penthouse, Kim So-yeon, who plays the unhinged and ruthless Cheon Seo-jin, won Best Actress. The actress has become iconic due to her exaggerated but brilliant performance in the makjang drama (dramas with exaggerated elements), which is well on its way to air a third season this coming June. Kim So-yeon beat Birthcare Center‘s Uhm Ji-won, Mr. Queen‘s Shin Hye-sun, It’s Okay To Not Be Okay‘s Seo Yea-ji, and River Where the Moon Rises‘ Kim So-hyun in claiming the award.
Another much-deserved win of the night was The Uncanny Counter‘s Yeom Hye-ran, who won her very first Baeksang Arts Award for Best Supporting Actress. This is surprising, especially because the beloved Yeom has done iconic roles in shows like When the Camellia Blooms, Hospital Playlist (2020), and Mystic Pop-up Bar (2020). With Oh Jung-se winning Best Supporting Actor, fans joked that the secondary couple of last year’s Daesang-winner (Grand Prize winner) When the Camellia Blooms had reunited.
Flower of Evil was nominated in as many as five categories but won only one of them—Best Director for Kim Cheol-kyu. Kim is best known for directing the Lee Bo-young starrer Mother (2018), which won Best Drama at the 54th Baeksang Arts Awards. This time, too, he directed tvN’s Lee Joon-gi and Moon Chae-won-led family drama thriller with a delicious balance of thrill and melo.
When is comes to rookies, star of the currently airing KBS2 drama Youth of May Lee Do-hyun took home his maiden Baeksang Arts Award for Best New Actor. The well-deserved win was for his performance in the fantasy coming-of-age drama 18 Again, where he played a failing 37-year-old caught in an 18-year-old’s body with charm and finesse. Best New Actress went to the star of the Netflix original series Extracurricular, Park Ju-hyun, who made a strong first impression as the morally gray Bae Gyu-ri. The young actress is currently starring in the Lee Seung-gi-led thriller Mouse.
Baeksang Arts Awards are known as Korea’s version of the Oscars, honoring the best in television, films, and theater. For the full list of this year’s nominees in the TV and film categories, click here.