Baeksang’s Five Nominees For Best Drama 2023

Baeksang Arts Awards, one of the most prestigious entertainment awards in South Korea, has officially announced the nominees for this year’s ceremony. The candidates in television (TV), film, and theater categories for the 59th ceremony were selected from works that were released in South Korea from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.

📷 Netflix

Looking at the top five selections for Best Picture in television, all candidates address social issues and humanity’s struggles in life such as bullying, poverty, and mental health concerns explored in different genres and style. Add to that, the excellent script, cinematography, plot, casting, and performances. It is interesting to note that all these five shows were released for international viewing on the streaming giant, Netflix, and recorded among the most watched Korean titles worldwide. Here are some insights into what makes these dramas stand out among the rest:

1. My Liberation Notes (2022)

“How have you been? Have you managed to liberate yourself?”

JTBC’s My Liberation Notes (2022) is a warmhearted tale of three siblings with Mr. Gu, the stranger and their inmost quest for life’s meaning and purpose. Set in the quiet, slow-paced countryside of Sanpo, the story elements from theme to character development stand out in this series as the writer, in a pensive mode, impressively and beautifully utters the unspoken words of humanity about yearning for wholeness and freedom from the mundane. You will find yourself contemplating with the characters as the drama presents engaging dialogues about multiple relatable topics such as family, career, money, lifestyle, and relationships. All the actors are commendable and believable in portraying their given roles, starring Son Su-kku, Kim Ji-won, Lee Min-ki, and Lee El. Whether the assignment is being introvert or one who speaks his mind out loud, each one has brought the character to life with much delight. This drama captivates you from the start and leaves a meaningful message of liberation from the complexities of life to discovering who you were simply meant to be.

2. The Glory (2022-23)

“Don’t bully another student because you wear better clothes, because you ride in a better car, or because you live in a better house.” 

Netflix’s The Glory (2022-23) is a two-part gripping series that navigates the shocking and painful reality of school violence, its narrative raising public awareness on such issues. It also bravely tackles the impact of extreme bullying to a person’s psychological well-being. In Moon Dong-eun’s case, school bullying is extremely brutal and violent to the point of driving her to the edge—making her incline to seek revenge, excellently played by Song Hye-kyo. She spends years carefully plotting to ruin the lives of her high school bullies who tormented her body, mind, and soul. However, her journey also conveys that all endings are new beginnings. As presented, the grace of heavens will always rain down in the form of miracles—an unexpected call, an uninvited stranger, or a coincidental turn of event. The screenplay is excellently written by Kim Eun-sook and helmed by Ahn Gil-ho. All cast performers from the lead to secondary to cameo perfectly carried every scene and totally convinced the audience that they were the character with their amazing range in acting.

3. Our Blues (2022)

“You can’t always have everything your way in life. That’s life.”

A star-studded drama, tvN’s Our Blues (2022) feels like a tour to a museum of stories that depict humanity’s sorrows in various canvases of circumstances. Teenage pregnancy, clinical depression, bullying, parental neglect, abandonment, divorce, poverty, discrimination, friendship conflicts, Down Syndrome, career setbacks, are some of the real-life topics presented in the series. It’s amazing how these multiple characters are strongly interconnected to each other with Jeju Island as the main common element. You will be drawn to the top-notch performances from the cast, the visual charm of Jeju, as well as the excellent screenplay that reminds us that we are lifelong learners, changing and maturing through life’s series of ups and downs. At the end of the day, what matters the most is to be with the significant people in your life and keeping them close to your heart.

4. Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022)

“Though my life is unusual and peculiar, it’s valuable and beautiful.”

ENA’s Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022) is a heartfelt legal drama that explores a wide range of courtroom cases handled by a brilliant lawyer who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Realistic topics such as discrimination against the disabled, parental abandonment, workplace politics, family feuds, phishing, and others are discussed in episodic manner. Besides the interesting courtroom battles experienced by ordinary people, the drama also highlights the character growth of Attorney Woo where viewers are allowed to experience life through her perspective, her heartbreaking past, and struggles around people and emotions, romance included. Actress Park Eun-bin displayed an impressive performance enough for Attorney Woo to be one of the most iconic and inspiring characters in the history of Korean dramas.

5. Little Women (2022)

“People believe that they have free will. But the truth is that we are controlled by money. If we were cut in half, we’d find ourselves infested by a money-hungry centipede.”

tvN’s Little Women (2022) tells the story of three sisters from a poor family whose lives turn around after encountering mysteries surrrounding Korea’s powerful and rich people, starring Kim Go-eun, Nam Ji-hyun, and Park Ji-hoo. Their journey revolves around the social issues and humanity struggles of poverty, money, greed, and dirty politics told in a thrilling plot. It also highlights the ups and downs of dealing with relationships at home, the differences, detachment, and priorities. You will be drawn to the different personalities of the Oh sisters namely In-joo, a skilled accountant who loves money, In-kyung, a passionate reporter who faces challenges without fear, and In-hye, a talented painter who is quiet but finds solutions to her problems her way—and their quest to achieve their dreams, survive life, and fight with the faceless beasts. Overall, the dark drama explores a life-changing lesson about the power of money and the dangers it holds when you become enslaved by it.

Which drama do you think will be named the Best Picture?

The 59th Baeksang Arts Awards will be held at the Incheon Paradise City in Incheon on April 28, 2023 at 17:30 KST. It will also be broadcast live in South Korea on JTBC and internationally through TikTok.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Copyright Myra Bansale for KORB Blog | Instagram | Twitter

Images: Baeksang Arts Awards | Netflix