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Kamenashi Kazuya stars in supernatural-themed film by Nakata Hideo

  January 22, 2020  
KAT-TUN's Kamenashi Kazuya has been cast in the film adaptation of comedian Matsubara Tanishi's book Jiko Bukken Kaidan Kowai Madori. Matsubara is known for seeking out and staying in stigmatized properties that are rented out cheap because of their gruesome histories. J-Horror master Nakata Hideo of Ring fame directs the film.

Kamenashi plays unsuccessful entertainer Yamano Yamame who starts staying in possibly haunted properties because it provides material for television appearances. As he moves from one shady home to another in search of stories, he encounters various strange phenomena, and makes a name for himself in showbiz as the comedian who lives in stigmatized properties.

The film will shoot from late January to late February. It is slated to open in Japan on August 28.

Text / Sanwei

26th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards

  January 21, 2020  
The winners of the 26th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards were announced on January 20. Ray Yeung's gentle queer indie drama Suk Suk was named the Best Film of 2019.

Veteran actor Tai Bo, who plays a closeted married man in Suk Suk, shared Best Actor honors with Terrance Lau from Chow Kwun Wai's romance drama Beyond the Dream. This is the first time the HKFCS has selected two winners for Best Actor. Beyond the Dream's female lead, Cecilia Choi, also won Best Actress.

Derek Tsang won Best Director for his blockbuster youth drama Better Days. Also representing a younger generation of Hong Kong filmmakers, Norris Wong won Best Screenplay for her directorial debut My Prince Edward.

Beyond the Dream, Better Days and My Prince Edward were all shortlisted as Recommended Films along with the documentary Bamboo Theatre, the animated film The Great Detective Sherlock Holmes - The Greatest Jail-Breaker and Stephen Chow's The New King of Comedy.

Text / Sanwei

Big White Duel wins Best Drama at 2019 TVB Anniversary Awards

  January 13, 2020  
Hong Kong broadcaster TVB's TV Awards Presentation for 2019 was held on January 12. A total of 14 awards were presented. The medical series Big White Duel won Best Drama as well as Best Actor for leading man Kenneth Ma, who finally bagged the TV King award after being nominated 12 times. Three-time Hong Kong Film Awards Best Actress winner Kara Hui wins her first Best Actress in television for her performance in the police crime series The Defected.

Wonder Woman's Pakho Chau and Miriam Yeung won Most Popular Male and Female Character, and Chau's song "Let Love Fly High" for the series was also named the Most Popular Drama Theme Song. Barrack O'Karma also received considerable support, winning Most Popular Female Character for Selena Lee and Most Popular Onscreen Partnership for her pairing with Joel Chan.

Best Supporting Actor and Actress went to Lo and Behold's Kalok Chow and Barrack O'Karma's Candice Chiu, respectively. Owen Cheung and Kelly Cheung won the Most Improved Male and Female Artists awards.

In the variety/infotainment categories, Liza's Online hosts Liza Wang, Sammy Leung, William So and Dickson Yu won Best Host. Faraway Brides 3, A Chef and a Gentleman, Do Do Midnight Quests, Sammy on the Go and Here We Go Again were awarded the Best Non-Drama Programme prizes.

Veteran actor Lau Dan was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Text / Garden
Translation / Sanwei

Gong Hyo Jin, Kim Nam Gil & Kim Dong Wook win Grand Prizes at KBS, SBS & MBC Drama Awards

  January 3, 2020  
South Korea's three largest TV networks KBS, SBS and MBC recently wrapped up 2019 with their own year-end award ceremonies in late December. Gong Hyo Jin (When The Camellia Blooms), Kim Nam Gil (The Fiery Priest) and Kim Dong Wook (Special Labor Inspector Jo) won their first ever Grand Prizes at the 2019 KBS, SBS and MBS Drama Awards, respectively.

For SBS Drama Awards 2019, The Fiery Priest garnered a total of eight trophies, including Grand Prize (Kim Nam Gil), Top Excellence Award (Honey Lee), Excellence Award (Kim Sung Kyun), Best Supporting Actor (Go Joon), Best Supporting Team, Wayve Award, Best New Actor (Eun Mon Suk) and Best New Actress (Geum Sae Rok). Lee Seung Gi and Suzy Bae were both recognized with Top Excellence Awards and the Best Couple Award for their chemistry in Vagabond, which was selected as the winner of Hallyu Contents Award. Jo Jung Suk (Nokdu Flower) also grabbed a Top Excellence Award, and VIP's Jang Nara (Producer Award), Lee Sang Yoon (Excellence Award), Pyo Ye Jin (Best Character) and Lee Chung Ah (Best Supporting Actress) each walked away with a prize.

For KBS Drama Awards 2019, When The Camellia Blooms was the biggest winner, sweeping 12 awards including Grand Prize (Gong Hyo Jin), Top Excellence Award (Kang Ha Neul), Best Couple Awards (Kang Ha Neul and Gong Hyo Jin, Oh Jung Se and Yeon Hye Ran), Best Writer (Lim Sang Choon), Excellence Actor and Actress (Kim Ji Seok, Lee Jung Eun), Best Supporting Actor and Actress (Oh Jung Se, Yeom Hye Ran), Best New Actress (Son Dam Bi), Best Child Actor (Kim Kang Hoon) and Netizen Award (Kang Ha Neul). Top Excellence Awards were also presented to Yoon Jun Sang (Liver or Die), Jo Yeo Jeong (Woman of 9.9 Billion) and Shin Hye Sun (Angel's Last Mission: Love). Notable Excellence Award recipients include Choi Won Young (Doctor Prisoner), Jang Dong Yoon (The Tale of Nokdu), Kim So Hyun (The Tale of Nokdu), Nana (Justice), Choi Si Won (My Fellow Citizens!), Lee Si Young (Liver or Die), Ki Tae Young (Mother of Mine), Kim So Yeon (Mother of Mine) and Cha Ye Ryun (Gracious Revenge).

For MBC Drama Awards 2019, Special Labor Inspector Jo and Extraordinary You led with five prizes each. Besides Kim Dong Wook's Grand Prize, Special Labor Inspector also picked up Top Excellence Award (Kim Dong Wook), Excellence Award (Park Se Young), Best Supporting Cast (Oh Dae Hwan) and Writer of the Year (Kim Ban Di). Drama of the Year winner Extraordinary You's main leads Kim Hye Yoon, Ro Woon and Lee Jae Wook all received Best New Actress/Actor Awards. Kim Hye Yoon also unexpectedly received a second prize, the Excellence Award, along with Cha Eun Woo (Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung), Oh Man Seok (Partners for Justice, Ryu Soo Young (Love in Sadness) and Park Se Wan (Never Twice). Top Excellence Awards were given to One Spring Night's Han Ji Min and Jung Hae In, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung's Shin Se Kyung, The Golden Garden's Lee Sang Woo, Never Twice's Ye Ji Won and Welcome 2 Life's Lim Ji Yeon. No Min Woo (Partners for Justice 2) collected the Scene Stealer Award, while Shin Se Kyung and Cha Eun Woo were named the Best Couple.

Text / Garden
Translation / Violet

BLACKPINK's Lisa and Cai Xukun join as mentor and host for audition program Youth With You

  January 3, 2020  
China's popular idol audition program Youth With You (Qing Chun You Ni 2), also known as the third installment of iQIYI's Idol Producer series, has officially announced the mentor lineup for the new season. Following two seasons of male trainees, the upcoming season of Youth With You gathers 100 female trainees from different agencies to compete for a debuting spot.

As announced earlier in October, BLACKPINK's Lisa will participate as the dance mentor, marking her first appearance on Chinese program. Cai Xukun (Kun), who came in first on Idol Producer and debuted in project group Nine Percent two years ago, now returns to the series as the "Youth Producer." S.H.E's Ella is confirmed to take part as a vocal mentor, while The Rap of China's third runner-up Jony J will join as a rap mentor.

The top nine contestants with the most votes in the finale will be selected as members of the new project group. Youth With You is slated to air in the first quarter of 2020.

Text / Violet

Arashi crowned Japan's best-selling artist of 2019

  December 24, 2019  
Japan's Oricon music chart has announced its annual sales rankings for 2019. Arashi is the first sales king of the Reiwa era with total sales valued at 20.33 billion yen. This is the group's eighth time as the top-selling artist.

Arashi's best-of compilation 5x20 All the BEST!! 1999-2019 sold over 2.1 million copies to become the best-selling album of the year. Their 5x20 All the BEST!! CLIPS 1999-2019 tops the DVD and Blu-ray charts with combined sales of 789,628 copies. Their single Brave also sold 709,813 copies and ranks seventh on the singles chart.

Nogizaka46 comes in second among artists with total sales of 8.2 billion yen. Their singles Sing Out! (1,200,182 copies sold) and Yoake made Tsuyogaranakutemoii (1,142,807) rank third and fourth. In addition, their album Ima ga Omoide ni Naru made also passed the half-million benchmark (518,444) and ranks third on the album chart.

King & Prince rises to third among artists with sales of 5.87 billion yen from their first album King & Prince (556,153) and First Concert Tour 2018 (351,052), which rank second on the album and DVD/Blu-ray charts, respectively.

K-pop groups Twice and BTS also pulled in over 5 billion yen as the fourth and fifth best-selling artists. Twice's album #TWICE2 ranks sixth with 308,699 copies sold. BTS comes in fifth on the album chart with their Korean album Map of the Soul: Persona (338,540) and sixth on the single chart with Lights/Boy With Luv (765,997).

48 and 46 groups dominate the single chart. AKB48 grabs the top two spots with million sellers Sustainable (1,410,206) and Jiwaru Days (1,309,063), continuing their reign for the tenth consecutive year. Besides AKB48 and Nogizaka46, Keyakizaka46 ranks fifth with Kuroi Hitsuji (920,842), and Hinatazaka46 takes the last three spots in the top ten with Kyun (621,565), Konna ni Suki ni Nacchatte Ino? (551,397) and DoReMiSoLaTiDo (535,090).

For albums, Hoshino Gen's Virus breaks through the idol wall at fourth with 442,325 copies sold. Virus is also the highest-selling digital album of the year. Meanwhile, Yonezu Kenshi's Lemon and Uma to Shika top the digital chart for singles. Official HIGE DANdism unsurprisingly tops the annual streaming ranking with Pretender.

Text / tabo
Translation / Sanwei

Produce 101 Japan reveals debut lineup of JO1

  December 13, 2019  
The finale of survival program Produce 101 Japan was aired live on December 11. The 11 contestants with the most votes were selected to debut as the long-term group JOI.

Mamehara Issei was crowned first with a total of 261,583 votes. Tsukame~ It's Coming~'s center Kawashiri Ren came in second with 256,527 votes, while Kawanishi Takumi ranked third with 252,885 votes. The fourth to eleventh positions went to Ohira Shosei (220,594 votes), Tsurubo Shion (204,045 votes), Shiroiwa Ruki (194,919 votes), Sato Keigo (186,309 votes), Kimata Syoya (171,205 votes), Kono Junki (159,057 votes), Kinjo Sukai (157,373 votes) and Yonashiro Sho (140,003 votes).

JO1 is scheduled to debut in 2020 under Laptone Entertainment.

Text / Violet

Mnet's World Klass announces debut lineup of TOO

  December 9, 2019  
Mnet's latest idol survival program World Klass wrapped on December 6 and revealed the debut lineup of n.CH Entertainment's new K-pop group TOO.

TOO, which stands for "Ten Oriented Orchestra," consists of the top ten contestants from World Klass. The new global K-pop group includes members J.You, Chan, Woong Gi, Kyung Ho, Dong Geon, Min Su, Chi Hoon, Jerome, Ji Su and Jae Yun, who ranked #11 in the finale. n.CH Entertainment announced on December 8 that Jae Yun would become the tenth member of the group after Han Jun, who placed third, was removed from the lineup.

TOO is slated to make their debut in early 2020.

Text / Violet

BTS again claims all four Grand Prizes at 2019 Mnet Asian Music Awards

  December 5, 2019  
The 2019 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) ceremony was held at Nagoya Dome on December 4. After breaking records at the Melon Music Awards, BTS rewrites history again by sweeping all four Grand Prizes at MAMA, including Artist of the Year, Album of the Year (Map of the Soul: Persona), Worldwide Icon of the Year and Song of the Year (Boy With Luv). They also claimed the trophies for Best Male Group, Best Male Dance Performance (Boy With Luv), Best Music Video (Boy With Luv), Worldwide Fans' Choice Top 10 and Qoo10 Favorite Male Artist, accumulating a total of nine awards.

Twice took home their third Best Female Group and Best Female Dance Performance (Fancy) trophies at MAMA along with Worldwide Fans' Choice Top 10 and Qoo10 Favorite Female Artist awards. Worldwide Fans' Choice Top 10 winners also include GOT7, Seventeen, TXT, ATEEZ, Monsta X, BLACKPINK, EXO and X1. Last year's Best Solo Dance Performance winner Chung Ha won again with "Gotta Go," and she got her first Best Female Artist award. Best Male Artist was presented to EXO's Baek Hyun.

Following their wins at the MMAs, TXT and ITZY again collected the Best New Male and Female Artist awards. Mamamoo walked away with Favorite Vocal Performance, while GOT7 was given Favorite Dance Performance. Monsta X and Seventeen picked up the World Performer and Breakthrough Achievement prizes, respectively. Heize prevailed in the Best Hip Hop & Urban Music category with She's Fine. Produced by Epik High's Tablo, Lee So Ra's hit single "Song Request" featuring BTS's Suga was crowned Best Collaboration.

BOL4 reclaimed the title of Best Vocal Performance Group with "BOM" and Tae Yeon won Best Vocal Performance Solo for the first time with "Four Seasons." Jannabi's "For Lovers Who Hesitate" was awarded Best Band Performance, while Gummy's "Remember Me" from Hotel Del Luna won Best OST again after the MMAs. British singer-songwrtier Dua Lipa, who was named International Favorite Artist at the ceremony, stunned audience with a collaboration stage with Mamamoo's Hwasa.

NCT's China subunit WayV won their first award, Best New Asian Artist. The rest of the Best New Asian Artist prize recipients include King Gnu (Japan), OSN (Mandarin), WANYAi (Thailand), Stephani Poetri (Indonesia) and K-ICM & Jack (Vietnam). Best Asian Artist awards went to Aimyon (Japan), Li Ronghao (Mandarin), Nont Tanont (Thailand), Andmesh Kamaleng (Indonesia) and Hoang Thuy Linh (Vietnam).

Big Hit Entertainment's CEO Bang Si Hyuk was recognized as Best Executive Producer of the Year for the second consecutive year. Pdogg, who won Best Producer of the Year the last two years, received Best Composer of the Year for BTS's Boy With Luv. Howe Chen, Starr Chen and RAZOR were honored with Best Producer of the Year for producing Jolin Tsai's Ugly Beauty. Other winners of special awards include Kwon Nam Woo (Best Engineer of the Year, Crush's NAPPA), Lumpens (Best Video Director of the Year, BTS's Boy With Luv), Kiel Tutin (Best Choreography of the Year, Jolin Tsai's "Womxnly") and Yuni Yoshida (Best Art Director of the Year, Hoshino Gen's Pop Virus).

Text / Violet

BTS sweeps all four Grand Prizes at 2019 Melon Music Awards

  December 2, 2019  
BTS makes history again as the first artist ever to sweep all four Grand Prizes – Artist of the Year, Song of the Year (Boy With Luv), Album of the Year (Map of the Soul: Persona) and Record of the Year – at the Melon Music Awards (MMAs). On November 30, the world sensation garnered a total of eight trophies including Top 10 Artist, Best Dance (Male), Netizen Popularity Award and Kakao Hot Star award.

Apart from BTS, Top 10 Artist winners include EXO, Mamamoo, Bolbbalgan4, M.C The Max, Jannabi, Jang Beom June, Chung Ha, Tae Yeon and Heize. Chung Ha also picked up the Best Dance (Female) prize with "Gotta Go," while super rookies TXT and ITZY took home the Best New Artists awards. Popular newcomer group AB6IX walked away with the Hot Trend Award.

For music genre awards, Tae Yeon won Best Ballad with her chart-topping single "Four Seasons." Heize collected Best R&B/Soul for We don't talk together featuring Giriboy, and Epik High prevailed in the Best Rap/Hip Hop race with "Lovedrunk" featuring Crush. N.Flying attended their first MMAs and received the Best Rock award for their signature hit "Rooftop."

Gummy's "Remember Me" from Hotel Del Luna was named Best OST. Hong Jin Young came first in Best Trot again for the fifth consecutive year with "Love Tonight." MeloMance was also given the Best Indie Award for the third year in a row with their megahit single You&I. Billie Eilish's bad guy won the Best Pop award.

For special awards, Seventeen's world concert tour Ode To You in Seoul was recognized as Stage of the Year, while Kang Daniel won Best Music Video with "What are you up to." After winning a rookie award last year, The Boyz returned to the MMAs this year to receive the 1theK Performance Award. Songwriter Award went to Pdogg for BTS's Boy With Luv.

Text / Violet

IU's Love poem sets first-day and first-week sales records

  November 28, 2019  
IU claims the title for the top-selling female solo K-pop album with her fifth mini-album Love poem, which was released on November 19. As reported by Hanteo Chart, Love poem sold 125,388 copies on its first day of release and 147,856 copies in the first week.

Breaking the record set by Tae Yeon last month, IU now holds Korea's all-time record for highest first-day and first-week sales of a female solo album. She joins Tae Yeon as the only female soloists to surpass 100,000 copies of album sales in the first week. IU's record also puts her in the top three of first-week sales among all soloists, with first and second place belonging to Kang Daniel (Color On Me) and EXO's Baek Hyun (City Lights), respectively.

Love poem currently ranks third for the best-selling female artist albums of 2019, following Twice's Feel Special and Fancy You which both recorded sales of over 150,000.

Text / Violet

Arata Mackenyu, Miura Haruma & Matsuyama Kenichi in Gunjo Senki adaptation

  November 28, 2019  
Arata Mackenyu has been announced as the lead of the upcoming Sengoku-era fantasy action film Brave: Gunjo Senki based on Kasahara Masaki's manga. The young actor's star has been on the rise in recent years through works like Chihayafuru, Over Drive and 12 Suicidal Teens, and Gunjo Senki will mark his first solo leading film. The feature will be helmed by blockbuster director Motohiro Katsuyuki (Bayside Shakedown, Ajin:Demi-Human).

Brave: Gunjo Senki depicts the events that unfold when an entire sports high school is suddenly transported back in time to the Sengoku period before the Battle of Okehazama. Arata plays second-year student Aoi Nishino, a history geek and member of the archery club. With his archery skills and historical knowledge, he emerges as a leader in these dangerous times, and teams up with members of the baseball and football clubs to fight back.

Miura Haruma (Attack on Titan) will co-star as Tokugawa Ieyasu, while Matsuyama Kenichi (Death Note) will portray Oda Nobunaga. Yamazaki Hirona (As the Gods Will) plays Aoi's childhood friend and clubmate Seno Haruka.

Filming for Brave: Gunjo Senki will take place from December 2019 to January 2020. The film is expected to open in Japan in 2021.

Text / Sanwei

Wandering Earth & So Long, My Son win at 32nd Golden Rooster Awards

  November 25, 2019  
China's 32nd Golden Rooster Awards were held in Xiamen on November 23. Frant Gwo's futuristic sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth, the third biggest Chinese film of all time, took the top prize of Best Film as well as Best Sound Recording.

Following their wins at the Berlin Film Festival, Wang Jingchun and Yong Mei, the stars of Wang Xiaoshuai's family drama So Long, My Son, picked up Best Actor and Best Actress prizes again. The drama also won Best Screenplay.

Hong Kong filmmaker Dante Lam took Best Director for the war action blockbuster Operation Red Sea. His last film, Operation Mekong, won Best Film at the 31st Golden Rooster Awards. Dying to Survive director Wen Muye, who won Best New Director at last year's Golden Horse Awards, repeats the feat at this year's Golden Rooster.

Wu Yufang from Send Me the Clouds and Wang Zhifei from the wartime drama The Bugle from Gutian were named the Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor. The Bugle was also recognized for Best Music. Chen Kaige's period fantasy Legend of the Demon Cat received two prizes for Cinematography and Art Direction. Best Editing was awarded to Enter the Forbidden City.

Previously a biennial event, the Golden Rooster Awards has become an annual ceremony starting this year.

Text / Sanwei

Chung Mong Hong's A Sun wins Best Film at 56th Golden Horse Film Awards

  November 25, 2019  
The 56th Golden Horse Awards were held in Taipei on November 24. Chung Mong Hong's family drama A Sun emerged as the biggest winner, sweeping Best Film, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Actor for Chen Yi Wen, and Best Supporting Actor for Liu Kuan Ting. This marks the second Golden Horse Best Director trophy for Chung following 2010's The Fourth Portrait.

Psychological horror film Detention, which had led with 12 nominations, also bagged five awards, including Best New Director for John Hsu, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Original Song and Best Visual Effects.

Malaysian actress Yeo Yan Yan from Anthony Chen's Wet Season won Best Actress. She previously won Best Supporting Actress in 2013 for her performance in Chen's Ilo Ilo. This year's Best Supporting Actress went to Winnie Chang from the romance The Teacher, while Best New Performer went to Fandy Fan from the basketball drama We Are Champions.

Best Original Screenplay was given to Singapore director Yeo Siew Hua's Golden Leopard winner A Land Imagined, which also won for Best Original Score. Crime action film The Scoundrels scored two awards for Best Action Choreography and Best Cinematography. Midi Z's Nina Wu and Tom Lin's The Garden of Evening Mists received technical prizes for Best Sound Effects and Best Makeup and Costume Design, respectively.

Tsai Ming Liang's experimental piece Your Face was awarded Best Documentary. Best Short Film and Best Animated Short Film went to Chu Hoi Ying's 3 Generations 3 Days and Fish Wang's Gold Fish.

Shaw Brothers legend Jimmy Wang and Taiwanese New Wave pioneer Wang Toon, who was also the jury president, were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Sound recordist and documentary filmmaker Tang Shiang Chu was recognized as the Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year.

This year's Golden Horse Awards was mainly a celebration of Taiwan cinema, as the event was boycotted by mainland China and only a handful of Hong Kong entries were in the running.

Text / Sanwei

Bong Joon Ho's Parasite sweeps five prizes at 40th Blue Dragon Film Awards

  November 22, 2019  
The 40th Blue Dragon Film Awards ceremony, hosted by Kim Hye Soo (Default) and Yoo Yeon Seok (Love, Lies), was held on November 21. Bong Joon Ho's Parasite became the biggest winner of the night with five trophies, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress (Jo Yeo Jeong), Best Supporting Actress (Lee Jung Eun) and Best Art Direction (Lee Ha Joon).

After winning Grand Prize at this year's Baeksang Arts Awards, Jung Woo Sung also garnered the Best Actor award at the Blue Dragon's for his performance in Innocent Witness. Default's Jo Woo Jin won Best Supporting Actor, his first ever prize since debut. Best New Actor and Actress went to Park Hye Soo (By Quantum Physics: A Nightlife Venture) and Kim Hye Jun (Another Child), respectively. E.X.I.T's Lee Sang Geun picked up the Best New Director award, while writer-director Kim Bo Ra walked away with Best Screenplay for her feature House of Hummingbird.

Making his first public appearance in two and a half years, actor Kim Woo Bin presented the Best Short Film award to Milk from director Jang Yoo Jin. Box office hit Extreme Job was given the Audience Choice Award for Most Popular Film. Lee Kwang Soo (Inseparable Bros), Honey Lee (Extreme Job), Park Hyung Sik (Juror 8) and Lim Yoona (E.X.I.T) received Popular Star Awards.

Awards for Best Cinematography – Lighting (Kim Ji Yong, Jo Gyu Young, Swing Kids), Best Editing (Nam Na Yeong, Swing Kids), Technical Award – Stunts (Yoon Jin Yool and Kwon Ji Hoon, E.X.I.T) and Best Music (Kim Tae Sung, Svaha: The Sixth Finger) were also presented.

Text / Violet

Parasite leads 40th Blue Dragon Film Awards nominations

  October 31, 2019  
Nominations for the 40th Blue Dragon Film Awards were revealed on October 31. Bong Joon Ho's Parasite, which won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, leads with 12 nominations in 11 categories, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay. Blockbusters Extreme Job, Swing Kids and E.X.I.T received eight nominations each.

The four box office hits will compete for Best Film alongside House of Hummingbird. Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), Kang Hyung Chul (Swing Kids), Lee Byeong Heon (Extreme Job), Jang Jae Hyun (Svaha: The Sixth Finger) and Won Shin Yeon (The Battle: Roar to Victory) will go head to head for Best Director, while the directors of House of Hummingbird, E.X.I.T, Birthday, Another Child and Maggie are shortlisted in the Best New Director category. Nominees for Best Screenplay went to Default, Extreme Job, Parasite, House of Hummingbird and Svaha: The Sixth Finger.

Parasite's Song Kang Ho, Jo Yeo Jeong, Park Myung Hoon, Park So Dam and Lee Jung Eun are nominated for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Song Kang Ho seeks a fourth Best Actor trophy against Ryu Seung Ryong (Extreme Job), Sol Kyung Gu (Birthday), Jung Woo Sung (Innocent Witness) and Jo Jung Suk (E.X.I.T). Jo Yeo Jeong is joined by Ko Ah Sung (A Resistance), Kim Hye Su (Default), Lim Yoona (E.X.I.T) and Jeon Do Yeon (Birthday) in the Best Actress race.

Apart from the Parasite cast, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress nominations went to Kang Ki Young (Crazy Romance), Lee Kwang Soo (Inseparable Bros), Jo Woo Jin (Default), Jin Seon Kyu (Extreme Job), Kim Sae Byuk (House of Hummingbird), Honey Lee (Extreme Job) and Jang Young Nam (Metamorphosis). Notable nominees in the Best New Actress and Actor categories include Park Hye Soo (Swing Kids), Lee Jae In (Svaha: The Sixth Finger), Choi Soo Young (Miss & Mrs. Cops), Gong Myung (Extreme Job), Park Hye Soo (By Quantum Physics: A Nightlife Venture), Park Hyung Sik (Juror 8) and Jung Hae In (Tune in for Love).

40th Blue Dragon Film Awards ceremony will be held on November 21 in Incheon, Seoul.

Text / Violet

Johnnie To & Wai Ka Fai team up for romance film Chasing Dream

  October 30, 2019  
Director Johnnie To and writer Wai Ka Fai team up again after 2014's Don't Go Breaking My Heart for the new film Chasing Dream, which hits theaters in November. Johnnie To, who hasn't released a film since the 2016 crime thriller Three, returns to the romance genre in Chasing Dream. While the Hong Kong filmmaker is known for casting a certain set of actors in his films, this time he employs a fresh cast without his regulars.

Taking on their biggest roles to date, Jacky Heung (League of Gods) and Nina Wang Keru (Youth) star as Lu Hu, a boxer from the countryside, and aspiring singer Du Xiaojuan, respectively. The two cross paths in the city and support each other in this youthful story of love and striving for one's dreams. Besides the leads, the cast includes Shao Bing, Ma Xiaohui, Bin Zi, Wu Yitong, Yu Wenwen and Zhang Jincheng.

Chasing Dream opens in China on November 8.

Text / Sanwei

Tae Yeon breaks highest first-day sales record for female singers

  October 30, 2019  
Tae Yeon set a new record for the all-time highest first-day sales in Korea among female artists with her new album Purpose. The Girls' Generation member's second full-length album was released on October 28 and features the chart-topping title track "Spark."

As recorded by the Hanteo Chart, Tae Yeon's Purpose sold a record-breaking 96,749 copies on the first day of release. The previous record-holder for highest first-day album sales among female singers was BLACKPINK's Kill This Love, which sold 78,275 copies on April 5, 2019. Next on the chart are Twice's Feel Special (61,066 copies sold), IZ*ONE's HEART*IZ (46,790 copies sold) and Red Velvet's 'The ReVe Festival' Day 1 (45,080 copies sold).

Purpose's title track "Spark" achieved a "real-time all-kill" on Korean digital music charts on the first day of release. This marks the singer's third "all-kill single" of the year after "Four Seasons" and "All About You" from Hotel Del Luna.

Disney Korea has also announced that Tae Yeon will be performing the Korean version of Into the Unknown, the theme song of Frozen II.

Text / Violet

Ossan's Love returns with new season In the Sky

  October 29, 2019  
Following the release of the feature film Ossan's Love: Love or Dead in August, TV Asahi's hit gay romance series returns with a second television season for autumn 2019. Titled Ossan's Love: In the Sky, this installment, again starring Tanaka Kei and Yoshida Kotaro, reboots with a new love story set in the airline industry.

This time, Tanaka Kei's clumsy protagonist Haruta Soichi begins a new career as a flight attendant at Tenku Peach Airlines, which is modeled after the budget carrier Peach Aviation. Yoshida Kotaro's Kurosawa Musashi is a highly skilled pilot who holds a torch for Haruta. Chiba Yudai (My Brother Loves Me Too Much) and Totsugi Shigeyuki (Good Doctor) appear respectively as co-pilot Naruse Ryu and mechanic Shinomiya Kaname, both of whom will add to Haruta's confused relationship troubles.

Ossan's Love: Love or Dead begins airing on November 2.

Text / Sanwei

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