Nominations for Best Actress

Each performance in this year’s Best Actress category is characterized by a very distinctive kind of energy. In each case, the performer brought something unique and personal to the role that made the character come to life. In a year when there were a very large number of accomplished performances, these actors left a particularly strong impression.

Kim Ju-ryeong, Sleepless Night
Kim Ju-ryeong, Sleepless Night

She has been acting in films since the year 2000, when she appeared in the late Kwak Ji-gyun’s Plum Blossom. She has had supporting roles in Memories of Murder (2003), You Are My Sunshine (2005), My Dear Enemy (2008), and Silenced (2011), and a more central role in Lee Sung-kang’s Texture of Skin (2005), but Sleepless Night is her most prominent leading role to date. Her very natural and thoughtful performance in this quiet, intimate film about marriage and life choices left an impression.

* Park Ji-soo, Mai Ratima
* Park Ji-soo, Mai Ratima

It was a controversial choice for director Yoo Ji-tae to cast a Korean in the role of a Thai woman, but debut actress Park Ji-soo took on the challenge with unusual poise. A performance art major at the Korean National University of Arts, Park was widely praised for her focused and intense performance.

* Yang Jo-a, Fatal
* Yang Jo-a, Fatal

In Fatal, Yang Jo-a plays a young woman who carries lasting emotional wounds beneath her warm and friendly appearance. An acting major at the Korean National University of Arts, Yang has appeared in only this one feature film to date, in addition to several short films.

Yoon Jin-seo, Do You Hear She Sings?
Yoon Jin-seo, Do You Hear She Sings?

Best known for playing Woo-jin’s sister in Oldboy (2003), Yoon Jin-seo has taken leading and supporting roles in over 20 films including All for Love (2005), A Day for an Affair (2007), and Iri (2008). Her character in director Park Eun-hyeong’s Do You Hear She Sings? is a reserved but fiercely independent-minded woman who ignores the expectations and criticisms of other people. It’s an unusual sort of protagonist for contemporary Korean cinema, and Yoon helps to make the character both convinci

Jung Yu-mi, Our Sunhi
Jung Yu-mi, Our Sunhi

One of the most naturally talented and praised actresses of her generation, Jung Yu-mi has appeared in a mix of mainstream and independent films including Blossom Again (2005), Family Ties (2006), Cafe Noir (2009), My Dear Desperado (2010), Come Closer (2010) and Silenced (2011). Our Sunhi is her fifth appearance in a film by director Hong Sang-soo.

* Jung Eun-chae
* Jung Eun-chae

Nobody's Daughter Haewon Rising star Jung Eun-chae started work as a model and studied art in the UK before making her film debut with a supporting role in Haunters (2010). In Nobody’s Daughter Haewon she attracted widespread attention for her sensitive portrayal of a young woman facing a crossroads in her life.

Nominations for Best Actor

Independent and low-budget films may not get the wide distribution and expensive marketing campaigns of mainstream commercial films. But that doesn’t mean they have no star power. Of the 60+ independent fiction films released in Korea in 2013, there was a tremendous diversity of performances from new actors, veterans, and well-known stars. This year our six nominees for best actor are primarily young, up-and-coming performers who show great potential for the future.

* Kang Shin-hyo, The Russian Novel
* Kang Shin-hyo, The Russian Novel

Kang Shin-hyo begin studying acting in classes run by director Shin Yeon-shick. Convinced of his abilities, Shin cast him in the leading role of his independent feature film The Russian Novel. The character, who is also named Shin-hyo, is a young, unschooled writer struggling to find his literary voice. Kang won praise for his natural performance, then also attracted notice in a memorable supporting role in Shin Yeon-shick’s Rough Play.

* Kim Soo-hyun, Sleepless Night
* Kim Soo-hyun, Sleepless Night

Kim Soo-hyun has 26 acting credits, having appeared as a supporting actor in all of director Ryoo Seung-wan’s feature films except The Berlin File, as well as in Failan (2001), Take Care of My Cat (2003), Oldboy (2003), and others. However his appearance in Sleepless Night is his first leading role in a feature length film. He and actress Kim Joo-ryeong created a very convincing portrait of a young married couple looking ahead into the future with uncertainty.

* Nam Yeon-woo, Fatal
* Nam Yeon-woo, Fatal

Nam Yeon-woo studied acting at the Korea National University of Arts. His memorable performance in Fatal was his first leading role in a feature film. He has also acted in several short films, and made a brief appearance in director Pang Eun-jin’s Perfect Number (2012).

Um Tae-gu, Ingtoogi
Um Tae-gu, Ingtoogi

Ingtoogi: The Battle of Internet Trolls Um Tae-gu’s appearance in the film Ingtoogi reminds many viewers of the actor Ryoo Seung-beom. This is not because of a similarity in acting styles, but rather for the simple reason that Um too forms a potent combination with his brother, director Um Tae-hwa (who also received a Best New Director nomination). But Um also has extensive experience working with other directors, including as the lead actor in independent film Choked (2012).

Lee David, Pluto
Lee David, Pluto

Despite being only 20 years old, David Lee already has a decade of acting experience in film and television. His performances in Poetry (2010), The Front Line (2011), Romance Joe (2011), and The Terror Live (2013) have all attracted notice. In Pluto he portrays a student who is pushed to extremes after becoming caught up in the cutthroat competition at an elite Korean high school. His performance expresses great inner turmoil within a naturally reticent personality.

* Lee Joon, Rough Play
* Lee Joon, Rough Play

Lee Joon started his career as a model and played the teenage Raizo in the Hollywood film Ninja Assassin (2009). However his rise to stardom was as a member of the idol group MBLAQ. His appearance in Shin Yeon-shick’s Rough Play, about the rise and fall of a popular actor, is his first leading role in a feature film. Nonetheless he was critically praised for his complete immersion in this dynamic and rather difficult role.

Best New Director + Cinematography