and the award goes to…

(this post is dedicated to mehmeh)

So another award-giving season is over in Taiwan (though there is still the Golden Horse next month) and what of the results?

I am happy that Bolin Chen won best actor. He deserves it. His role as Daren Ge in In Time With You was the more difficult one. Bolin has always been one of the best young actors in Taiwan and he finally gets recognized officially.

I wasn’t really invested in this year’s Golden Bell and didn’t even know the nominees. All I know is Qiu Ze did not get any nomination for Office Girls, which probably was too fluffy for the judges’ taste. And of course, non-nominees always have to answer questions from the media on how they feel for being overlooked, as if rubbing salt on an open wound.

But do awards really matter?

It would be pretentious to say they don’t. In any industry or line of work, official recognition does matter. But it’s not the only thing that matters. There are several elements too. In journalism, for example, I know of a lot of people who are good in their job but don’t get recognized and will never be in this lifetime. Why? For so many reasons, including the most important one: they don’t write about serious enough things. But they are good at what they do, admired by their peers and have an audience. Another factor is, they don’t market themselves (read: self-promotion) neither do they network. Alas, marketing and networking are two very crucial factors to gain recognition.

It’s the same with the entertainment industry. Or should I say, even more so in the entertainment industry. It’s not enough that you love your work, has a manager or a company to back you up and is good at what you do. You have to be good at promoting yourself too and rub elbows with the right people.

Look at Ethan Ruan. He could have languished forever in support roles if it was not by a stroke of luck he was cast in Fated To Love You. Then again, it could have all stopped there, like many idols who are known for a single work they did and forgotten or mismanaged afterwards. But either he knew how to play his cards well or he was Lady Luck’s favorite boy that period because he got Monga. He won best actor at that year’s Golden Horse and a door opened for him to the movie industry.

An idol cannot stay in television and act in dramas forever. He has to expand. Beyond Taiwan. And that’s what exactly Ethan did. He got the right moves and met the right people. So there he is now, even surpassing the success of his contemporaries and buddies Joe Cheng and Mike He. That’s just how it is.

Mark Chao is another example. He already had one foot inside the business thanks to his dad. But when he debuted in Black & White and defeated Zai Zai as best actor in that year’s Golden Bell, he was suddenly the new ‘it’ boy. Nevermind if his winning was highly controversial and started a series of other controversial wins at the Golden Bell.

Now, on the other side of the balance beam are actors like Joseph Chang. He has been known in the circle as a very good actor and had recently won an award, but his choice of roles has never aligned him with the idols. Even with Drunken To Love You under his belt. It’s not because he is balding and does not have the idol look, it’s just that he belongs to a different category. Yet for sure, he will not run out of jobs not because he has awards but because he is good with whatever role is given to him.

So do awards matter?

As with the Oscars, you also have to launch a good campaign to convince the judges that you deserve an award. And for people to work hard to do that, then yes, awards must really matter. But again, it’s not the be-all and end-all. Of course it adds credibility to one’s body of work and it’s always nice to have it on a resume. It boosts one’s chances but so does hard work, good PR, support of peers and luck. Awards cannot determine one’s success but it can help.

Besides, awards are also given by people who have their biases, preferences and points of view. They are not robots programmed to measure someone’s qualifications through a scientific or mathematical procedure. The judges behind these award-giving bodies have hearts and minds as well as reasons of their own why they give the award to one person and not to the other. Sometimes, we’ll agree with their decision, sometimes not. Just like how I thought Rainie Yang should have been recognized either for Miss No Good or Superstar Express than the overrated, overhyped Hi My Sweetheart. Though I do agree that Mark deserves that award more than Zai Zai. But that’s just me. And I’m not the judge.

On to the next award!

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14 thoughts on “and the award goes to…

  1. Well I for one am very happy In Time With You snatched wigs left and right at the recent Golden Bell. I hope Ariel can focus on bigger goals like…Golden Horse perhaps LOL although she did get nominated like 10 years ago. I’m scared Bolin will be typecasted, boy is everywhere right now.


  2. Hi there! How are you? πŸ™‚

    Well, I’m sure you know, I’m one of the happiest person on earth because of this. I love Ariel so much that I watched the live stream of the GBA via yahoo, hehehe!!! I was surprised that I can actually watched it live. I really wanted to see Ariel & Bolin again, and I wasn’t disappointed because they were so adorable on stage. They truly work great together, even just for presenting awards. Love that they are obviously good friends.

    I love how the whole ITWY team was so supportive of each other & was so happy for everyone’s success. I’m happy for Bolin, he was so cute when his name was announced, he was obviously overwhelmed that he was speechless, so cute! He said he was so happy and being in the industry for ten years, now he knows the feeling of finally winning an award. I really feel ITWY did so much for Bolin’s career. It’s a fact that he’s a good actor but after he did ITWY, he’s popularity has skyrocketed to immense proportions, too many endorsement offers that he said he had to decline some of them.

    And what makes me soooo ecstatic about Ariel’s win, is the fact that after going through that brain surgery after her 1st GBA win last 2008, she truly has regained success via ITWY. There’s no such thing as a GBA curse when you’re good in what you do and love your craft. I really believe Ariel just proved to many that she’s not just an “idol actress” but an actress in its true essence. She loves her craft & continues to improve on it. Watching Ariel during the awards, I feel she’s just so happy for the win of ITWY & the rest of the team, more than her win. Love Bolin’s reaction to Ariel’s win, that smile of his tells it all, so adorable!

    Yes, an award is not the be-all & end-all for an actor’s career, but it is human nature that we need the affirmation and I think awards do that. Now, it’s up to the actor what he does after. Does winning gets to his/her head or just simply raise the bar & strive to improve more on his/her craft. I think in Bolin & Ariel’s case, they apt to do the latter because they simply love their craft. As Hu Ge once described Ariel, she’s not in the industry mainly because of the fame but more on her love for acting, it’s her life. I guess that’s applicable to Bolin as well. When you love what you do & don’t treat it only as a job, it will love you in return.

    Sorry for the long comment, I’m just very happy for the whole ITWY team for the big win, you know how much I’ve loved ITWY since episode 1. Btw, I hope you won’t mind, but I just have to greet Ariel a Happy 30th birthday today. Love her so much, no amount of words can describe my love for this lady, she’s an inspiration.

    Thank you so much for this post. Regards & God bless… :))))


      • Oh thanks! I’m doing well, Just got back from the US. Been there for several months since my husband is now assigned there. Anyways, I always read your posts, its just that I don’t comment anymore. Well, unless it’s about Ariel, hehehe! πŸ™‚ And I read your tweets as well. It’s fun reading your tweets especially about Filipino actors & politicians, hahaha!!!
        Take care & God bless… πŸ™‚


      • I read both actually. Fun to read tweets, fastest way to get the latest news. πŸ™‚
        No, I’m back in Manila with my son. No place like home. I would rather live here & my son grows up here than in the States & my husband feels the same.
        Take care! πŸ™‚


      • sorry for the very late response, was out-of-town for the long all souls day weekend. anyways, i don’t have a twitter account.


  3. Apparently the mehmeh has different and similar views of yours. I agree that the whole team is very bonded is this is one of a very important key to marketing the drama. People likes to see teams getting bonding the likes to see interaction between the crew and cast, which I think not many dramas does that. Most of the time bonded teams or imaged to be interactive teams are rather successful and I do think this is part of marketing. This is partly why bands sold well I think… more than just solo characters, bands are platforms, gains for attention etc…

    Definitely awards is affirmation and everyone needs that…no doubt they acted well, but I have reserves if they are the best ones. And I do think there were many people who were not nominated performed very well. But did they not win or get nominated? I wonder. People like Joseph, yes, they do well and imaged to be professional, less of an idol and they do still get their jobs. But actually, frankly, Joseph has a lesser market demand abroad, altho he gets his job but it’s mainly local based. More often than not, the idol-type so called professional movie people gets the good deals ethan, eddie, michelle, zaizai, etc what not because the idol word appeals to a broader market based, to the end of the day, most film makers aim to earn money and those people helps with their fan base or popularity. But fans are a small group, people with high popularity are more preferred which is why many artistes choose the low way to keep themselves on the news coverage.

    Frankly, if I am the one deciding, I would rather go the idol way because it gives me money in the pocket. And that’s important isn’t it? One thing about directors, I think maybe graded differently in a business perspective is… whether they make profitable films more than just good films. Profitable films of course, it has to be good and nice to watch but nice to watch isn’t profitable altho it makes the film/drama sells better. Director lin is definitely one good director for making profitable films, why? He’s fast and good, maybe not good at the time but at least okay standard and being fast he saves on the overheads which is what many “good” directors don’t. Sometimes I really do wonder if time is a variable to being good you know. Sweet relationship by winnie made angie lost 10 million because of the prolonged filming and it wasn’t good….esp when it’s by zaizai and patty. I wonder if it’s really just the talent, the marketing or just luck. DBY isn’t one of the best quality dramas but it appealed to many. Why? It didn’t have good marketing too. But it’s multiplier effects are just WOW.

    Another thing which is controversial is office girls… Not a single award. Good director too. Good marketing no doubt. I have to say I’ll be happy if ITWY wins a couple of awards to reward their good performance, but they won far too many to be fair if GBA is a game “add on glory”, many others need this glory as well. Clearly GBA isn’t just about having the best acting, so giving it to ariel twice in 4 years… Not that Ariel didn’t do well or what, just that I think many other people needs this because she has already been glorified.

    And of course, idols have to move out. But that’s only when the bosses and directors see value in you. More often than not the same usual people are cast in the similar range of movies.

    I hope I’m making sense. Late at night:D


    • I get some love from mehmeh hahaha!
      I am still bummed Office Girls did not get a single nomination. especially after I learned there was a best in marketing award. wth right? but awards can really be pretentious. they will go for the “serious” materials and snub the fluffy ones because they are not to be taken seriously. on the other hand, they take a fluffy material like Hi My Sweetheart and nominate the leads plus the drama. maybe the Angie Cai effect? between HMS and OG, OG is obviously the better more sensible drama, but then again, I may be biased. but heh, overhyped much that HMS it still irks me especially since there was a rise of the fantards after that.
      I don’t have a problem of people getting the award more than once if they deserve it. but for those who were overlooked, lucky for them if they get another work so that the body could give them “compensation” like what happened to Rainie in Miss No Good/Superstar Express. her award for HMS, imo, is compensation for being overlooked the previous year. but again, what about those who will not get that chance to do another project worth of an excuse of a nomination? just tragic, right?


      • P.S. to the “compensation” theory. who knows if Zai Zai did Sweet Relations AFTER Black & White, he could have been nominated and won best actor hahaha!


      • If it still matters, just to let you know, Office Girls was actually nominated for the best in marketing award, together with ITWY, another SETTV drama (Inborn Pair, I think) & 2 other idol dramas as well. I’m quite sure about that since I watched the live stream. But the award went to ITWY.


      • I actually didn’t really like OG’s, it was too long for one and somewhere through the plot it feels like I’m watching Office Peddlers from TVB with they typical Korean leads.

        Marketing wise…I can understand why ITWY won, while they were running concurrently ITWY had more hype then OG did even though their viewership was lower. The last episode even surpass OG and almost double their average rating, can’t remember correct number.

        that goes to show that although people didn’t watch the show, they at least knew about it to catch the last episode. that for me is good marketing. did you see some of the poster’s they put out each episode? they were very pretty. all wallpaper worthy.

        OG was steadily climbing so it was no surprise when it reached its deserving end. this i would have put down to more of word of mouth. their marketing team didn’t do much until after the show shot to fame.


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