Nominees Announced for the APAN Star Awards 2014

It’s awards season again, the time of year when top stars trot out to accept recognition for their work in TV/film/entertainment and impress (or shock) us all with their red carpet fashion choices. The list of nominations have been released for the APAN Star Awards 2014, which covers all dramas that aired on the Big 3 channels (SBS, MBC, KBS) as well as cable networks from October 1st, 2013 to September 31st, 2014. Along with the nominee roster is confirmation of the special guest performers who will grace the event, which includes Chen of EXO, Ailee, Red Velvet, T-ara and Dae Guk Nam Ah.

The APAN Star Awards is part of the Daejeon Drama Festival and a relatively new event – this year will mark the third time the awards have been held. This year’s ceremony will take place on November 15th (5:00-10:00 PM KST) at the Hall of Jeongsimhwa International Cultural Center, Chungnam National University in Daejeon.¬†Despite its fairly new status, it’s an interesting way to see which dramas and its actors stood out most across the board (the network-hosted award shows every year are really an excuse for broadcasters to give everyone who gave them ratings a pat on the back).

With that said, the nominees this year are fairly obvious on the whole (in particular, Kim Soo Hyun and Jeon Ji Hyun being nominated for You Who Came From the Stars and Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin for It’s Okay, It’s Love in the Top Excellence Actor/Actress categories), though not without its fair share of head-scratchers (like Kang So Ra and Jin Se Yeon both being nominated for Excellence Actress for Doctor Stranger – why that drama is even included on an awards list is beyond me). There’s also the Daesang to consider – last year’s Daesang was taken home by Song Hye Kyo for That Winter, The Wind Blows. I’d say it’ll come down to either Stars or It’s Okay, It’s Love for the big winners, but we won’t know until November 15th – in the meantime, what are everyone’s choices for each category?

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Korean Actors Singing for Drama OSTs: A Trend with Curious Success

Korean actors lending their voices to their dramas’ official soundtracks is nothing new, but it’s impossible not to notice that it’s becoming such a trend that some popular actors are actually expected to sing at least one song with every new drama. Take Kim Soo Hyun, for example (you may have heard of his most recent role as a certain alien from You Who Came From the Stars?); thanks to the rave reviews over his previous OST tracks for Dream High and The Moon That Embraces the Sun as well as his skyrocketing popularity, many fans weren’t just hoping he would also sing for Stars – they were expecting it. Others like Park Shin Hye and Lee Min Ho (The Heirs),¬†Joo Won (Good Doctor, Gaksital) or even A-listers such as Gong Yoo (Big) and Jang Dong Gun (A Gentleman’s Dignity) have found similar success with their OST contributions – if not on the music charts, then at least in fan fervour.

That begs the question: Why exactly have Korean actors found such success through singing for soundtracks? The general approval towards “singing actors” is particularly curious when one considers the widespread negativity that idols-turned-actors face – two sides of the same coin, but the reactions they garner are polar opposites. Is it due to difference in talent for their new craft, or is it really rooted in difference of perspective?

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