Every year, TV and film actors get recognized and receive honor for their talents at one of the most prestigious entertainment awards in South Korea, Baeksang Arts Awards. This award-giving body is known to present awards to the most excellent Korean films, dramas, theaters, and actors who look for quality across various genres. The Grand Prize (Daesang) award is considered to be their highest honor in the ceremony.
From psychological-thriller to historical-political to fantasy-romance to crime-action genres, here’s a rundown of Baeksang’s Best TV Actors from 2012 to 2021:
2012: Kim Soo-hyun for Moon Embracing The Sun
Kim Soo-hyun played as the King of Joseon in the historical-fantasy series, Moon Embracing The Sun (2012). He investigates the truth about the sudden death of the woman he loves and fights for his throne amid dark and dirty politics.
2013: Son Hyun-joo for The Chaser
Son Hyun-joo played a detective in the action-thriller series, The Chaser (2012), which is one of the highest rated and award-winning dramas of all time. The detective pursues revenge against a politician who leads a conspiracy that caused the death of his beloved wife and daughter.
2014: Cho Jae-hyun for Jeong Do-jeon
Cho Jae-hyun played as Jeong Do-jeon, a powerful politician in the history of Korea who seized power and established the Joseon dynasty. The periodic drama shows his leadership and the hurdles he overcame to create a legacy and impact in Joseon.
2015: Lee Sung-min for Misaeng, Incomplete Life
In the workplace drama, Misaeng: Incomplete Life (2014), Lee Sung-min played as Oh Sang-shik, a manager at a large trading company. He is the hard-working, workaholic yet warm type of boss who deals with all kinds of workplace challenges and leads his people with a positive spirit.
2016: Yoo Ah-in for Six Flying Dragons
Yoo Ah-in played as a young prince in the historical-political drama, Six Flying Dragons (2015-2016). He grew up with a great ambition for his country and helped his father, the king, establish Joseon Dynasty, amid rise and fall.
2017: Gong Yoo for Guardian, The Lonely And Great God
Gong Yoo played as the immortal goblin in the fantasy-romance, Guardian, The Lonely And Great God (2016-2017). For centuries, he searches for the bride who is the key to break the immortality curse and attain his freedom to eternal rest.
2018: Cho Seung-woo for Stranger
Cho Seung-woo played a prosecutor in the crime-thriller series, Stranger (2017-2020). After undergoing surgery, he suddenly displays poor social skills, lacking empathy. He meets a policewoman and together they become allies in investigating a mysterious case.
2019: Lee Byung-hun for Mr. Sunshine
Lee Byung-hun played as Captain Eugene Choi, an American citizen of Joseon descent, in the historical-romance series, Mr. Sunshine (2018). He was born in a poor family whose parents died from political abuse. He manages to escape to USA with the help of an American missionary and where he grows up to be a great soldier. He returns to Joseon to accomplish a mission and falls in love with a noblewoman.
2020: Kang Ha-neul for When The Camellia Blooms
In the romantic-thriller series, When The Camellia Blooms (2019), Kang Ha-neul played as a countryside police officer who falls in love with a single mother. He does his best to protect her and her son from the mysterious serial killer who is a threat in the town.
2021: Shin Ha-kyun for Beyond Evil
Shin Ha-kyun played a small town policeman in the psychological-thriller, Beyond Evil (2021). He was accused as a murderer when he was a teenager and suffered all kinds of psychological trauma from public shaming. He becomes a fearless yet impulsive policeman who works by his own rules. His life gets entangled with a new police officer from Seoul who is secretly investigating an unsolved murder case.