Award This! Deciphering the Drama Awards Season

Tis the season, the awards season that is. Time to celebrate the dramas that captivated us, made us groan, and just made us wish that the awards were given out then and there- damn you drama gods, sometimes it is hard to wait!

Award this!

There are several different award shows celebrating the drama genre- in fact there are enough to make a drama newbie’s head spin (I know it made my head spin at first, I like context with my awards). Here is hoping this handy guide will help you decipher what awards are what and how they all fit into the larger drama awards season. I have included a list of 2012 award winners thus far as a gauge of where we are so far this awards season. Now the statue goes to….

Non-Network Specific Awards Shows


Advertised as the one and only festival that brings global TV productions together and fosters cultural diversity the Seoul International Drama Awards highlight the best dramas the world has to offer. Launched in 2006 by the Korean broadcasters association this awards show touts the lofty goals of: continuous development of the Korean Wave, promotion of healthy participation in festivals and vitalization of tourism in Seoul. There is a special section devoted to the best of the best in Korean drama (international submissions aside).

Broadcast: August

Founded: 2006

2012 Award Winners:

Grand Prize

Tree With Deep Roots

Series Drama, Golden Bird Prize

Princess’s Man

Excellent Korean Drama

Rooftop Prince

Outstanding Korean Drama

King 2 Hearts

Outstanding Korean Actor

Park Yoo Chun (Rooftop Prince)

Outstanding Korean Actress

Han Ji Min (Rooftop Prince)

Outstanding Korean Drama OST

Missing You Like Crazy (Tae Yeonm, King 2 Hearts)


Honoring both film and television, the Paeksang Arts Awards are similar to the stateside Golden Globes.  IS PLUS Corp started the awards in 1965 to honor the best in Korean entertainment. The name Paeksang refers to the pen name of Chang Key-young, founder of Hankook Ilbo newspaper.

Broadcast: April or May

Founded: 1965

Note- Excluding “2012” award winners as they are actually 2011 award winners based on the air date of this program. 2013 awards will be counted as 2012 award winners. If that makes sense. Suddenly I am confused…



A new awards show as of 2012, the K-drama star awards celebrates the, well the stars of K-drama (who would have thunk it by the title?) A fan service, at least in my opinion, it will be interesting to see where this awards show goes in the years to come.

Broadcast: December

Founded: 2012

2012 Award Winners:

Grand Prize (Daesang)
Son Hyun Joo (The Chaser)

Best Leading Actor
Song Joong Ki (The Innocent Man)

Best Leading Actress
Kim Nam Joo (My Husband Got a Family)

Excellent Actor Award
Yun Jun Sang (My Husband Got a Family)
Kim Soo Hyeon (The Moon That Embraces The Sun)

Excellent Actress Award
Han Ji Min (Rooftop Prince)

Acting Award
Lee Sung Min (Golden Time)
Kim Jung Nan (Gentlemen’s Dignity)

Best Child Actors/Actress
Park Gun Tae (The King 2 Hearts, May Queen)
Kim Yoo Jung (May Queen, The Moon That Embraces The Sun)
Kim So Hyun (Rooftop Prince)

Best Villain
Yoon Yong Hyeon (History of the Salaryman)

Best Couple
Seo In Guk and Jung Eun Ji (Reply 1997)

Achievement Award
Lee Soon Jae (High Kick Through The Roof, Good Morning President)

Fashionista Award
Go Se Won (Moon and Stars For You)
Jeon Hye Bin (Queen In Hyun’s Man)

Rising Stars Award
Kang Min Hyuk
Oh Yeon Seo
Jung Eun Ji
Yoon Jin Yi
Seo In Gook
Yoo In Na
Kim Hyung Joon

Hallyu Star Award
Jung Yonghwa (A Gentleman’s Dignity)

Popularity Award
Yoo Joon Sang (My Husband Got a Family)

Best Stunt
Bridal Mask

Best OST
Jung Eun Ji and Seo In Guk (Reply 1997)

Best Director
Jo Nam Kook (The Chaser)

Best Screenwriter
Park Ji Eun (My Husband Got a Family)



Network Awards Show

Broadcast: December

Okay. I will admit it- this is extremely puzzling to the western viewer. The networks have their own awards shows where they give awards to, well, their own shows. Huh?! Of course they think their own programs are awesome- they aired them after all! Not to mention they have more than one awards show; they divide their awards extravaganzas between entertainment (variety, reality) and dramas. So confused! Stressss!

However after much pondering (a headache, some background music that mysteriously played, and long sessions of gazing at Lee Min Ho photos) I think I may get it. Kind of. Not only do the network’s shows compete against each other in ratings their awards shows do the same. Who has the bestest awards show of them all is a big deal at the end of the year. So not only do the dramas airing throughout the year compete against each other for market share the shows that award the drama lineup compete against each other as well. Okay- I lied, I still don’t get it. All of the big three networks air their awards shows in late December.


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