Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Third Annual Dramafever 2014 Awards Review

Note: This post was written in early 2015, but was never published until now.



Hello, all, I'm back! Welcome to the Third Annual Dramafever 2014 Awards Review! If I'm not blogging regularly, at least I should blog annual, right? Even though I haven't been keeping up with Wehaiyo!, I have been watching my dramas for the most part. I excited and can't wait to review the awards for last year.



This year, the Dramafever awards location has upgraded to the Hudson Theatre in New York City. Presented by Toyota (Let's Go Places) and Imagine Your Korea (who also hosted the awards last year), the Dramafever awards prove to be on a larger scale than the cramped Highline Ballroom location last year.

First of all, why go to the Dramafever Awards?  Is it that exciting as it is hyped up to be? Well, that depends on whether or not the ticket buyer is starstruck or not. To be honest, I probably wouldn't go to the awards show if there weren't any actual Asian celebrities attending the show. Ticket prices aren't cheap either, going up to $2500 or its discounted price, $1950 in order to secure a Premium VIP Table that seats ten people. Besides getting a great view of the stage, a gift bag, I don't see how else a ticket holder can get his or her money's worth unless he or she drinks it up all night long with cocktails and the use of the full open bar. I heard a lot of people got wasted there and couldn't conduct themselves properly, but that's not my concern. Those people who don't like to drink and are not into celebrities sightings probably won't enjoy the awards show too much. Me? I'm happy with my general admission, second-tier balcony ticket for a discounted price of $25. I suppose I'm too old to be fan girling and getting myself wasted with alcohol. I would have loved to meet more people at the show, but people mostly mingled with their friends, at least, up in the second-tier balcony.

I voted for the Dramafever awards again this year, not half-heartedly this time, but I still feel as thought it isn't a completely fair voting system. All awards show seem to have an unfair element to it anyway. I think it's only fair to vote only if the voter has actually seen all the dramas that were nominated. I have not. Who has watched everything? I think the voter is inclined to vote for the dramas that he or she has seen already or his or her bias. I'm the type of person to tell it like it is no matter how much I like a nominee. It would be very interesting to compare last year's experience to this year's experience.

First, allow me to explain the background. On the awards day, it was snowy and bone-chillingly cold. I could not allow myself to dress in skimpy ways with short skirts and the like. My husband even told me that I should go without make-up and dress normally. How could I do that when I look like that 364 days a year? I'm exaggerating, but it's best to look pretty. All I know is that I won't be dressing like this:


I'm a overwhelmed mom who has to get ready on the go so I choose to look simple, but legging would be a must.



This is actually one of my mom's dresses, haha! I haven't really lost my baby weight, but close enough. Who can I blame? I'm not even trying to diet. The dress that I would love to wear is not fitting me. I always find it boring to dress in black because it seems that everybody wants to dress in black for an awards show, but I simply was not inspired to find another dress.

There would be no way I can make it to the Dramafever Awards early because of work and my baby, but at least I went! As I made my way around Times Square shivering in the cold, I saw two young, Asian ladies who wore black mini-dresses and superior heels walking in front of me and I knew I was in the right place.

Again, similar to last year, there was a problem getting into the venue right away. The staff member who was trying to scan or manually type the tickets couldn't figure out how to find the tickets because somebody had bought the tickets for the girls under a different name. I wasted precious minutes waiting patiently for my turn. Afterwards, I was given a white bracelet.


Then, a cheerful Dramafever greeter took my red carpet picture. I guess she thought that taking only my upper half was great so that was the only picture I have. She also taught me how to activate my camera quickly on the iPhone by flipping the screen upwards from the bottom.

I saw other people snapped a picture of a Dramafever ice sculpture, but I guess I missed it while I was trying to wildly find my way around before the show started.

I knew I had to go to the top section of the theater, but I didn't know where I was going. I started off by moving towards the VIP entrance, where a ticket checker promptly stopped me. Then, he told me to go to another entrance on the side. I passed by two beer/wine tables, but I wasn't sure if it was for VIP members and I had this impression that there will be a separate table upstairs. The ticket checker on the side entrance denied me again and asked me to go back to the red carpet side entrance. At the corner was a lot of "Imagine Your Korea" pamphlets on the table by the stairs.

At the stairs, I am finally allowed into the theater. I made my way up the long tedious staircase, which is really bad for people who have been drinking because, with unlimited drinks on the premises, what if somebody has an accident going up or down this long staircase?

I finally made my way to the top and huffed and puffed to catch my breath. A skinny, beautiful Dramafever awards attendee, who was standing at the top, was enjoying the view. I looked around and realized that there was no assigned seats. If I had come earlier, I could have gotten a better seat at the front, though I can still get a great view from the top seats. I was thrilled to even have a seat because while I was pregnant last year, I almost fainted from standing up too long at the awards.

I asked the skinny, beautiful Dramafever awards attendee if we can sit anywhere and she happily confirmed that we could. Later on, she even sat down a few seats from me in my row with who I believe is her boyfriend. Oddly though, she got up midway during the awards and never came back. Her boyfriend got up a while later and never returned either. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem except that she left her bag next to me and that me me nervous that she wasn't coming back for it. During intermission, I saw her cheerful self again, who finally went to retrieve her bag. She seemed high on alcohol, but I assume her boyfriend would take care of her, though I never saw them again after intermission.

Let's begin by reviewing the awards! I can't wait!


Dramafever Awards Hosts: Arden Cho and George Hu

Continuing from last year, Arden Cho continues to dress impressively at the Dramafever Awards show, changing into three outfits throughout the evening. She still made a few mistakes during the night and it was confusing and entertaining to see her present an award before the nominees were announced.

George Hu spoke impressive English throughout the night. I didn't know he had such great English skills and his charisma took center stage throughout the evening. I'm still watching his drama, The Prince of Lan Ling, where his character seems to be underused, but I can't seem to get myself to watch a drama where he is the main character. Taiwanese dramas could be overly silly, but perhaps, I will watch George Hu's dramas one day.


Arden and George recreated a popular "Pinocchio" toast kiss scene where Arden is holding a piece of toast in her mouth, but George failed to secure the "kiss."

First Presenters: Dan and Mike Chen from the "Double Chen" Youtube show.


I've always enjoyed watching the Double Chen show that parodies Asian, mostly Chinese, culture. It is educational, but mostly fun videos on Asian culture. They will be joining Dramafever in the DramaFever Studios with their "Double Chen Report" show coming soon.

Dan and Mike appropriately presented the awards for "Best Bromance." Actually, I think Dan and Mike have a pretty awesome bromance themselves, but too bad they are not included in the nominations.



BEST BROMANCE

Love Family, Chris Wang & Jack Li
It's Okay That's Love, Sung Dong Il & Lee Kwang Soo
High School - Love On, Nam Woo Hyun & Lee Sung Yeol
Perfect Couple, Wallace Huo & Huang Ming
Sly and Single Again, Joo Sang Wook & Seo Kang Joon
ST: Scientific Task Force, Okada Masaki & Fujiwara Tatsuya







WINNER: Sly and Single Again, Joo Sang Wook & Seo Kang Joon

All I can say about this one is, "huh?" I admit, I was watching Sly and Single Again, peeking here and there while my husband was watching it, but I saw almost no bromance in this drama between Joo Sang Wook's character and Seo Kang Joon's character. I can't say anything about ST: Scientific Task Force, but I have seen the other dramas. I'm not sure who should have won for best bromance, but I definitely would not have picked Sly and Single Again. My idea of a bromance is to have the guys on an equal level, supporting each other so I probably would have picked It's Okay That's Love's Sung Dong Il and Lee Kwang Soo because at least their characters knew how to retaliate against each other.



RISING STAR

Temptation, Lee Jung Shin
Doctor Stranger, Kang So Ra
Bride of the Century, Yang Jin Sung
High School - Love On, Kim Sae Ron
My Lovable Girl, Kim Myung Soo (L)
Love Myself or You, Jasper Liu








WINNER: Temptation, Lee Jung Shin 

What's going on here? I admit that actor Lee Jung Shin did a great job, but there were definitely other winners in my mind. I think Kang So Ra's performance in Doctor Stranger was impressive and she was so strikingly beautiful that I felt that she should have been the main lead instead of Jin Se Yeon. Furthermore, I could not believe Yang Jin Sung did not win for Bride of the Century. She had to act in two roles for that drama and she pulled it off so well. For somebody who previously played a side role in City Hunger, Yang Jin Sung was hardly on my mind as a main lead in a drama. She definitely deserves a Rising Star award for Bride of the Century.

We now take a break to see a fun Nutty Nomad video: If You Could Live in K-Drama for One Day. This seems to be a huge hit with the audience.


My favorite part would be when Christina parks her car any way she likes to because it's Drama Land! The chance of getting a random phone call from a hot guy? Nah. I think cat fights are more part of American culture than Korean culture, unless it is a school bully drama.


FAN FAVORITE

Fated to Love You, Jang Hyuk
Discovery of Romance, Eric Moon
Trot Lovers, Jung Eun Ji
It's Okay That's Love, Jo In Sung
Roommate, Park Bom
Blade Man, Lee Dong Wook






WINNER: It's Okay That's Love, Jo In Sung

I don't really have too much of an opinion for fan favorite because this award is a true fan vote. I do like the fact that Jo In Sung won because he really did a great job playing a healthy man degrading into a schizophrenia. His heartfelt performances continue to touch my heart.

BEST ACTRESS


Emergency Couple, Song Ji Hyo
My Lovely Girl, Krystal Jung
Tomorrow's Cantabile, Shim Eun-kyung
The Time In Between, Adriana Ugarte
It's Okay That's Love, Gong Hyo Jin
Angel Eyes, Gu Hye Sun




WINNER: Emergency Couple, Song Ji Hyo

Wow! I'm actually very happy for Song Ji Ho's win. She was up for some tough competition against Gong Hyo Jin in my opinion. It seems that the Dramafever crowd cheered the loudest for Gong Hyo Jin. I thought Song Ji Ho pulled off her role very well in Emergency Couple. The Emergency Couple audience got to see a full range of emotions from this character as she struggled to put her life back together after a painful divorce.

At this point of the awards show, Arden and George mentioned about getting a free gift for all the attendees and also a free gift under select seats for those attendees who are sitting in the upper level. In the second-tier balcony, nobody got a gift under their seats. I wonder what the gift is for those who got it.

And now, for a musical distraction: 5urprise performs the song, "Hey U, Come On."


These actor-singer idols were all in the 2013 drama, After School: Lucky or Not where they play a bunch of high school students doing all sorts of mysterious, weird antics. They also remind me of the American fictional boyband, 2gether.

BEST KISS

Joseon Gunman, Nam Sang Mi and Lee Joon Ki
It's Okay That's Love, Gong Hyo Jin and Jo In Sung
Doctor Stranger, Jin Se Yeon and Lee Jong Suk
I Need Romance 3, Kim So Yeon and Sung Joon
Fall In Love With Me, Tia Li and Aaron Yan
Tomorrow's CantabileShim Eun Kyung and Joo Won





WINNER: It's Okay That's Love, Gong Hyo Jin and Jo In Sung 

Actually, I'm not sure how some of the nominees for this category was picked. Some of these kisses from the nominees look too uncomfortable for me to watch. Any kiss from Lee Joon Ki makes me feel squirmy because of his feminine looks. He plays a manly character in Joseon Gunman, but I don't want to see him kiss anyone. Tia Lee and Aaron Yan's kiss in Fall In Love With Me was good except their environment and situation was weird. I think it's weird to kiss half naked in the middle of a forest (with a paparazzi man taking pictures of them on the side in secret). In addition, Aaron's character is engaged to another woman so to make out like this when he's about to get married make me feel uncomfortable. I am not feeling any chemistry between Shim Eun Kyung and Joo Won in Tomorrow's Cantabile and they didn't really kiss either. Jin Se Yeon and Lee Jong Suk's Doctor Stranger kiss also made me confused and uncomfortable because I really wanted Lee Jong Suk's character to be with Kang So Ra's character instead. Besides, Lee Jong Suk and Jin Se Yeon's chemistry was so mild throughout the drama.

By process of elimination, this leaves the I Need Romance 3 or It's Okay That's Love kiss. I'm more looking for the true love type of kiss to be a winner in this category. If anybody has seen Jo In Sung kiss, he or she would know that he is a passionate kisser. I'm still thinking about his role in That Winter, The Wind Blows. I think Gong Hyo Jin and Jo In Sung appropriately won in this category.

At this time, Dramafever is promoting their Dramafever Studios. They are trying to expand on their Youtube channel. I am the most excited for the Double Chen Report as I previously mentioned (to debut on Valentines Day, February 14th!



Youtube Dramafever personalities, Mister Popo (K-Trend)  and Feiii (Fridays with Feiii) came out to present the next awards.



BEST MOVIE

Secretly Greatly
Architecture 101
Always
The Huntresses
The Fatal Encounter
The Face Reader





WINNER: Secretly Greatly

I don't understand how the nominees were picked. Most of these movies wouldn't make nomination status in my opinion. The Huntresses was absolutely the most terrible movie nominated. It was so terrible that I lost interest, fell asleep, and then waited a long while before watching the second half of the movie. It was terribly cheesy and had a lot of nonsense. The Fatal Encounter was so difficult to follow and understand that I lost interest and never finished the other half of the movie even though it was Hyun Bin's comeback-from-the-army movie. Secretly Greatly, The Face Reader, and Architecture 101 was too sad for my liking. This leaves the film, Always, to be the winner in my opinion. I liked how despite a dreary, sad theme about a man who almost lost all hope, I couldn't help but watch until the end to see how So Ji Sub's character turned out in the end. After watching the whole movie, I realized that I wouldn't mind watching it again. This movie can be in the rerun category.

BEST CHINESE LANGUAGE DRAMA



Say I Do Again
Love Myself or You?
Fall in Love with Me
Aim High
In a Good Way
Prince of Lan Ling





WINNER: Fall in Love with Me

Maybe, Dramafever shouldn't call this category the best Chinese Language drama, but the best Taiwanese drama. All the nominees are Taiwanese dramas. I have only watched Prince of Lan Ling, Love Myself or You?, and Fall in Love with Me so far, only completing Fall in Love with Me. The drama, Fall in Love with Me, really had potential, but the plot and common sense died midway and the drama got worse and worse until it spiraled out of control. Because of the way the plot went, I really can't give Fall in Love with Me the final win despite seeing popular actors, Aaron Yan and Tia Li. I believe the Prince of Lan Ling had potential to win for its heroic plot and beautiful leads, Feng Shao Feng and Ariel Lin. I barely watched half way, but I love the drama! I can't comment on the other nominees since I didn't watch it so I can only vote based on what I have seen so far.

BEST JAPANESE DRAMA

I wonder why the category for Chinese drama had to include the word, "language," in the category, but the Korean and Japanese dramas have that word omitted. I feel like Dramafever is making the Chinese dramas stand out for no special reason.



After the awards show was over, I realized that there was a star I haven't seen: Hudson Yang from the American television series, Fresh Off the Boat. Why wasn't he a presenter? I guess he was just a VIP guest. Sadly, I could not attend the awards show earlier to see all the celebrities walk the red carpet.

The Hours of My Life
All About My Siblings
ST: Scientific Task Force
Love Affairs in the Afternoon
Partners by Blood
Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo





I can't comment too much on this category because I haven't been watching Japanese dramas. I have, however, saw some of The Hours of My Life and thought that it was such a sad drama. It's interesting to see Yuki Furukawa, the lead actor of Mischievour Kiss: Love in Tokyo, deliver his speech in Japanese (and the interpreter didn't understand Japanese) and then in English. He mentioned that he lived in New Year nine years ago so he was able to speak English. Bravo!



We have now arrived at Intermission. I saw Arden Cho come out to take more pictures in her second dress of the night, the black and white sparkling dress, but I didn't have any space left in my phone to capture the pictures. I went up to the bartender and asked what was good. Without smiling, the bartender asked me if I wanted red or white wine. I asked for red wine. The wine was strong! I suppose it was strong because I didn't eat dinner and had an empty stomach. Going back up the stairs was a bit scary. I'm still scared other people might fall down the long stairway. I spent the rest of the intermission enjoying my wine, looking at the stage, and looking at other people. The second-tier balcony wasn't for mingling. People were more interested in lining up for the bathroom.

Once intermission ended, 5urprise came back out to sing "From My Heart," a heartfelt song. This song really sticks in my mind.


Arden and George came back on stage with new outfits to present Favorite Dramafever Moments recreated by the fans. The Dramafever Fan Reanactment Challenge winner, Marisa Luckie from San Antonio, Texas, came onstage to present the next award.

CAMRY BOLDEST MOMENT



God’s Gift – 14 Days
Fated to Love You
Temptation
You’re All Surrounded
Emergency Couple
The Hours of My Life





WINNER: Emergency Couple

I'm not sure what would be considered a Camry's "boldest" moment, but I suppose Song Ji Hyo won because her character was so strong despite the fact that she was ridiculed for starting her medical career so "late" in life. I haven't seen God's Gift -- 14 Days, but that scene was so intense when actress Lee Bo Young unsuspectingly pulled out a knife. Based on the nomination video, I would definitely pick God's Gift -- 14 Days as the winner. I honestly thought the Temptation scene was bold too because it's not every day a rich person offers one thousand million won (one million US dollars!) to spend three days with someone with a one hour to think about it and make a decision. I would consider Temptation a runner-up for this award.

BEST COUPLE:



Emergency Couple, Song Ji Hyo and Choi Jin Hyuk
Joseon Gunman, Nam Sang Mi and Lee Joon Ki
It's Okay That's Love, Gong Hyo Jin and Jo In Sung
Tomorrow's Cantabile, Shim Eun Kyung and Joo Won
Fated to Love You, Jang Na Ra and Jang Hyuk
Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo, Miki Honoka and Furukawa Yuki






WINNER: Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo, Miki Honoka and Furukawa Yuki

It was a sweet win for Furukawa Yuki and Miki Honoka. Since Miki Honoka was not present for the award, she gave Furukawa Yuki her acceptance letter and Furukawa Yuki read it to the audience. I thought that was so sweet of Miki Honoka to compose a letter in English for her fans and the Dramafever audience. Unfortunately, out of all the nominees, none of the couples came to my mind to win this award.

BEST ACTOR:




Tomorrow's Cantabile, Joo Won
It's Okay That's Love, Jo In Sung
Emergency Couple, Choi Jin Hyuk
Joseon Gunman, Lee Joon Ki
Pinocchio, Lee Jong Suk
My Lovely Girl, Rain





WINNER: It's Okay That's Love, Jo In Sung

Honestly, I'm not all that suprised. Jo In Sung took on another ultimate role as a person with schizophrenia. This role required him to have so many layers on emotion. On the outside, his character seemed okay, but his world is constantly shattered by guilt for his brother, his illness, and his love. Without him, I'm not sure if the drama could be as touching. He seems to be impressing me every time I see him in a drama. Bravo!

It is time for a mini break for Dramafever to show us what type of dramas and movies are in store for 2015. How many movies can you identify?



BEST VARIETY SHOW



Running Man
We Got Married
2 Days 1 Night
Infinity Challenge
Roommate

WINNER: Running Man

Am I really that surprised? Running Man is the most popular variety show. I must admit that I don't watch the other variety shows all that much, but I can definitely say that Running Man gave me some good laughs at times.




BEST KOREAN DRAMA

Last, but not least, one of the highlights of the evening:



Emergency Couple
It's Okay That's Love
Tomorrow's Cantabile
Angel Eyes
Joseon Gunman

WINNER: Emergency Couple

I'm pretty darn proud that Emergency Couple won best Korean drama of the year. It also doesn't hurt that I "Hallyu Zombie" reviewed the drama right on Wehaiyo! The drama had a great list of underrated talented actors: Choi Jin Hyuk, Song Ji Hyo, Lee Pil Mo (Rapper Pilmo is what I affectionally call him because his name sounds like a name for a rapper to me.), and many more.

The drama lacked heavy romance, but in a divorce type of story line, how much of a romance can one expect? Compared to the other best drama contenders, Emergency Couple has the right amount of romance for a romantic comedy with our main couple fighting each other, caring for each other, being confused, and immersed into the emergency room full of medical drama.

Angel Eyes, also slightly a medical drama since Gu Hye Sun is an EMT and Lee Sang Yoon is a surgeon, in my opinion, was a bit too heavy on the romance, which sort of suffocated me.

It's Okay That's Love comes in close as a winner as well because the story line is very unique and interesting with a huge plot twist combined with amazingly talented actors. The story could drag on at times and if a viewer doesn't pay attention, they may miss many important details that lead to the twist in the story. The romance is also on the light realm compared to the other contenders.

Emergency Couple allowed Choi Jin Hyuk to rise up to leading actor status and introduced us to the awesome Lee Pil Mo, who is as cute as a bear. I can't wait to see them more in future dramas. More importantly, Emergency Couple revives drama enthusiasts to watch more medical dramas. May I also say that Choi Jin Hyuk's character, Oh Chang Min, has the most awesome Korean apartment ever?


I can now sadly announce that the Dramafever Awards has come to an end. With that said, I can't wait to review more dramas next year! See you all then.