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Blue Dragon Awards: ‘Mother’ Snub Surprise + Where’s Anne of Green Gables?

Mother Kim Hye-ja. Blue Dragon Awards Best Film shocking Best Actress + Director loserMother with Kim Hye-ja. The Blue Dragon Film Awards’ Best Korean Film (and Best Foreign Film Spirit Award nominee), Bong Joon-ho’s Mother strangely ended up taking home only two other statuettes: Best Supporting Actor (Jin Ku) and Best Lighting. Veteran television star Kim Hye-ja lost the Best Actress Blue Dragon to Ha Ji-won for Park Jin-pyo’s drama Closer to Heaven; the Best Director was Kim Yong-hwa for Take Off; and Possessed, written by Lee Yong-ju, topped the Best Screenplay category.

‘Mother’ is Blue Dragon Awards’ top film – but takes home only three statuettes

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Directed by Bong Joon-ho, Mother, South Korea’s submission for the 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, won the top prize at the 2009 Blue Dragon Awards ceremony held on Dec. 2 at KBS Hall in Seoul. (See further below the full list of Blue Dragon Award winners and nominations.)

Despite its important victory, Mother strangely failed to take home many more trophies. The tale of a middle-aged woman (Kim Hye-ja) fiercely determined to prove the innocence of her mentally handicapped son (Won Bin) after he’s accused of murder, Mother won only two other awards: Best Supporting Actor (Jin Ku) and Best Lighting (which is not quite the same thing as Best Cinematography, as cinematographers have their own category).

The Blue Dragon Awards’ Best Director was Kim Yong-hwa for Take Off, an action film about Korea’s national ski jumping team. In the Best Screenplay category, Mother (Bong Joon-ho & Park Eun-kyo) lost out to Possessed (Lee Yong-ju).

Ha Ji-won is surprising Best Actress + Jang Jin-young posthumous homage

Surprisingly – at least from an outsider’s perspective – Kim Hye-ja lost the Best Actress Blue Dragon to Ha Ji-won for Park Jin-pyo’s Closer to Heaven, the story of a funeral director (Ha) whose husband – Best Actor winner Kim Myung-min – is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Actress Jang Jin-young, among whose credits are Over the Rainbow, Scent of Chrysanthemums, and Between Love and Hate, and who died of stomach cancer at age 35 last September, was the recipient of a special posthumous award.

December 2010 update: A year after her surprising loss at the Blue Dragon Awards, Kim Hye-ja was the surprise Best Actress winner at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards.

See also: “Spirit Awards: Where’s Oscar Season Favorite & How American Is Tolstoy? + Split Annies.”

Blue Dragon Awards: Winners & nominations

Below is the full list of Blue Dragon Award winners and nominees. Further below is the list of winners at the 2009 Asian Festival of 1st Films, held from Nov. 28–Dec. 4 in Singapore.

Some of the nominees below are listed in the “Western” style: first name followed by family name.

Best Film
Take Off – Kim Yong-hwa.
Good Morning President – Jang Jin.
* Mother – Bong Joon-ho.
Thirst – Park Chan-wook.
Haeundae – Yun Je-gyun.

Best Director
* Kim Yong-hwa, Take Off.
Jang Jin, Good Morning President.
Bong Joon-ho, Mother.
Park Chan-wook, Thirst.
Yun Je-gyun, Haeundae.

Best Actor
* Kim Myung-min, Closer to Heaven.
Kim Yun-seok, Running Turtle.
Song Kang-ho, Thirst.
Jang Dong-Kun, Good Morning President.
Ha Jung-woo, Take Off.

Best Actress
Kim Ok-bin, Thirst.
Kim Ha-Neul, My Girlfriend Is an Agent.
Kim Hye-ja, Mother.
Choi Kang-hee, Aeja.
* Ha Ji-won, Closer to Heaven.

Best Supporting Actor
In-kwon Kim, Haeundae.
Dong-il Song, Take Off.
Ha-kyun Shin, Thirst.
Min-ki Lee, Haeundae.
* Jin Ku, Mother.

Best Supporting Actress
Bo-yeon Kim, Possessed.
Yeong-ae Kim, Aeja.
* Hae-suk Kim, Thirst.
Yeong-nam Jang, My Girlfriend Is an Agent.
Ja-Hyeon Chu, Portrait of a Beauty.

Best New Director
* Hyeong-cheol Kang, Scandal Makers.
Keon-hong Park, Lifting King Kong.
Ik-jun Yang, Breathless.
Yong-ju Lee, Possessed.
Ki-hun Jeong, Aeja.

Best New Actor
Mu-yeol Kim, The Scam.
Ji-seok Kim, Take Off.
Chang-ui Song, Once Upon a Time in Seoul.
* Ik-jun Yang, Breathless.
Jae-woong Choi, The Sword with No Name.

Best New Actress (tie)
Hye-won Kang, Haeundae.
* Kot-bi Kim, Breathless.
* Bo-yeong Park, Scandal Makers.
Woo-seon Seon, Running Turtle.
Yeon-seo Oh, A Blood Pledge.

Best Screenplay
Kim Yong-hwa, Take Off.
Park Eun-kyo & Bong Joon-ho, Mother.
* Lee Yong-ju, Possessed.
Lee Hae-jun, Castaway on the Moon.
Jeong Ki-hun, Aeja.

Best Cinematography
Yeong-ho Kim, Haeundae.
* Hyeon-cheol Park, Take Off.
Jeong-hoon Jeong, Thirst.
Hyeon-ki Choi, A Frozen Flower.
Kyeong-pyo Hong, Mother.

Best Lighting
Song-kyu Kim, Portrait of a Beauty.
Hyeon-won Park, Thirst.
Ji-won Yun, A Frozen Flower.
Seol-hwan Lee, Take Off.
* Cheol-su Choi, Dong-sun Park, Mother.

Best Music
Jun-seok Kim, Scandal Makers.
Ki-heon Park, Closer to Heaven.
Byeong-woo Lee, Mother.
Jae-hak Lee, Take Off.
* Yeong-ok Jo, Thirst.

Best Art Direction
Ki-cheol Kim, A Frozen Flower.
Eon-ok Min, The Sword with No Name.
Seong-hee Ryu, Thirst.
Ha-jun Lee, Portrait of a Beauty.
* Hwa-seong Jo, Hyeon-seok Choi, Private Eye.

Technical Award
A Frozen Flower – Costume.
Private Eye – Make-up.
Take Off.
* Haeundae – Special Effects.
Chaw – Special Effects.

Best Short Film.
* Gookyeong.

Honored Popularity Award
Lee Byung-heon, Ha Jung-woo, Ha Ji-won, Choi Kang-hee.

Special Award
Jang Jin-young.

Looking for Anne: Asian Festival awards significance of Anne of Green Gables heroineLooking for Anne. The Asian Festival of 1st Films’ top pick was Takako Miyahira’s Looking for Anne, the story of a Japanese adolescent looking for her grandmother’s wartime Canadian lover while on a visit to modern-day Prince Edward Island, the setting of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. During her search, the teenager begins to understand the importance Montgomery’s novel and its heroine, the youthful Anne Shirley, had for Japanese women of her grandmother’s generation. Miyahira’s film is in no way related to Irene Gammel’s novel Looking for Anne.

Asian Festival of 1st Films Awards

Best Film: Looking for Anne.

Best Director: Takako Miyahira, Looking for Anne.

Best Male Actor: Sriharsh Sharma Churai, For Real.

Best Female Actor: Zoya S. Hasan, For Real.

Best Screenplay (tie): For Real, Sona Jain; Land Gold Woman, Avantika Hari.

Best Producer: Sona Jain, For Real.

Best Cinematographer / Editor: Shweta Venkat, Superman of Malegaon.

Best Documentary: Superman of Malegaon.

Best Director of Documentary (tie): Addicted in Afghanistan, Jawed Taiman; Superman of Malegaon, Faiza Ahmad Khan.

Best Short Film: Vitthal, dir: Vinoo Choliparambil.

Foreign Correspondents Orchid Award: Land Gold Woman, Avantika Hari & Vivek Agrawal.


Image of Kim Hye-ja in Blue Dragon Award winner Mother: CJ Entertainment.

Looking for Anne image: Zuno Films / Grand Jeté Productions, via the Enchanted Serenity of Period Films website.

“Blue Dragon Awards: Mother Snub Surprise + Where’s Anne of Green Gables?” last updated in April 2018.

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