Friday, May 10, 2013

Top "Combination" Actors

Recently an article came out listing the top actors in Korea based on their abilities to perform in multiple genres and have a wide appeal. Thirty Korean directors were asked to name their top picks among actors who have been active within the past five years. reposted the article while omitting the list of actresses;  how rude!  So we dug up the original article and went through the Hangul with much confusion.

After watching The King of Dramas, I've been suspicious about how entertainers are picked for awards or lists such as these.  In case the selections were not anonymously made, wouldn't the directors have to take into consideration the network and which actors they wanted to earn brownie points with?  Did they pick actors who have done the most amount of genres over those who did exceptional work in a lesser amount?  Looking into the matter brought me face to face with the fact of how much I'm lacking as far as sheer volume of dramas watched.  There is just not enough time in the day!

1st: Lee Byung Hun (20 votes)
Lee received recognition for good sales in the Japanese market.  From what I've seen of his work, he's earned his spot at first place.  The man has range and a body to die for.

What you may have seen him in: Joint Security Area, Bungee Jumping of Their Own, Road, Beautiful Days, My Beautiful Girl, Mari, Addicted, All In, Everybody Has Secrets, Three... Extremes, A Bittersweet Life, Once in a Summer, Hero, The Good, the Bad, the WeirdI Come with the RainG.I. JoeIRISI Saw the DevilDiplomat Kuroda Kousaku

2nd: Jo In Sung (12 votes)
There was some mention of him appealing to women with his performance in That Winter, the Wind Blows which got double digit ratings throughout.

He actually portrayed Oh Soo with more vulnerability than I expected which I came to appreciate, then fall in love with.  Also, let me just say, A Frozen Flower.  Ohhh A Frozen Flower!  He brought us sex, swordplay and serious drama in a role that lesser men would balk at.

What you may have seen him in: School 3, Drama City, Nonstop 2, Public Toilet, Madeleine, Piano, Daemang (cameo), Shoot for the Star, Love of South & North, What Happened in Bali, Spring Day, A Dirty Carnival, Frozen FlowerKwon Bob/The Art of Fist DuelThat Winter, The Wind Blows

3rd: Song Joong Ki (10 votes)
Batzy-Chan's JoongKi was praised for his roles in Nice Guy and Wolf Boy. Not just another pretty face, he is charming and has a wide range which brings each character he plays to life.

I became so enamored of him in Sungkyunkwan Scandal. He really stole the show for me. And then he was so gracious when he was presented with the Best Couple Award with Yoo Ah In, who looked like he was going to die of embarrassment. Joon Ki is a class act.

What you may have seen him in: Frozen FlowerLove RacingMy Precious ChildOgamdoThe Case of Itaewon HomicideTripleTake Care of the Young Lady (cameo), Will it Snow at Christmas?Obstetrics and Gynecology DoctorsSungkyunkwan ScandalRioMany a Little RomanceTree With Deep RootsNice GuyWolf Boy

4th: Hyun Bin (8 votes)
After sweeping the SBS Drama Awards and winning the Actor of the Year Award Grand Prize at the 47th Paeksang Arts Awards for his performance in Secret Garden, Hyun Bin enlisted in the Marine Corps. This amped up his appeal with both men and women.

This man has charisma! He's so versatile and a joy to watch. I was so excited when he finished his military service, I wanted to push him straight into a studio. I wonder what his first project will be?

What you may have seen him in: Bodyguard, Nonstop 4, Spin Kick, Ireland, Daddy Long Legs, My Name is Kim Sam-Soon, A Millionaire's First Love, The Snow Queen, The World that They Live InI'm Very HappyFriend, Our LegendLate AutumnTears of AfricaSecret GardenCome Rain Come Shine

5th: Kim Soo Hyun (7 votes)
He's given credit for performing in widely different roles in such productions as The Moon that Embraces the Sun and The Thieves. He received KBS Drama awards and Korea Drama awards for his role in Dream High, and various awards for The Moon that Embraces the Sun.

This puppy is pretty impressive with not just his acting, but his singing ability. He contributed to the soundtracks of both Dream High and The Moon that Embraces the Sun, and his voice is as gorgeous as he is.

What you may have seen him in: Kimchi Cheese SmileJungle FishWill it Snow at Christmas?Father's HouseGiantDream HighThe ThievesThe Moon That Embraces the Sun

6th: So Ji Sub (6 votes)
So has worked on Japanese and Chinese productions as well as contributed to soundtracks.  I'm actually surprised he didn't place higher since he's won so many awards for roles in a variety of genres.

What you may have seen him in: Wang Rung's Land, Joa Joa, Cheers for the Women, Delicious Proposal, Law Firm, Can't Live Without Robbery, We Are Dating Now, Glass Slippers, Thousand Years of Love, What Happened in Bali, Sorry I Love You, A Destiny, Movie is MovieKitaro and the Millennium CurseU-TurnSophie's RevengeCain and AbelRoad Number OneA Company ManGhost

7th: Park Yoo Chun (4 votes)
Yoo Chun won many awards for his roles in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Miss Ripley and Rooftop Prince.

Also known as Mickey Yoochun, this sweetheart is part of JYJ, formerly of TVXQ.  I read in an interview that Song Joong Ki modeled his portrayal of Goo Yong Ha on Yoo Chun's light-hearted, jokester personality.  You can see that in his acting, but Yoo Chun can get very serious as well.

What you may have seen him in: Banjun Drama, Rainbow Romance, VacationSungkyunkwan ScandalMiss RipleyRooftop PrinceI Miss You

8th: Park Shin Yang (3 votes)
Park has won multiple awards starting with his debut performance in Yuri.

I loved him in The Painter of the Wind.  He is charming and hilarious and acted with a warmth that created chemistry with his fellow actors, and even though his leading lady was much younger than he is, he made the pairing believable.

What you may have seen him in: Kilimanjaro, Hi, Dharma!, Indian Summer, The Uninvited, The Big Swindle, Lovers in Paris, Shiny Day, Money's Warfare, The Painter of the WindSign

9th: A 7-way tie with two votes each:
Tree With Deep Roots
Han Suk Kyu

Black Honeymoon, Libera Me, Kick the Moon, Break Out, Jail Breakers, Project X, My Teacher, Mr. Kim, Bodyguard, Ghost House, Blood Rain, Murder, Take One, Somewhere Over the Border, A Day With My Son, Eye for an Eye, 71-Into The Fire, Secret, City Hall, Athena: Goddess of War, Blades of Blood, The Greatest Love
Cha Seung Won
Hotelier, Winter Sonata, Untold Scandal, April Snow Hotelier (TV Asahi), The Legend, Dream High
Bae Yong Joon
Someone Special, 1.3.6, Murder, Take One, Good Girl, If You Were Me 2, Righteous Ties, Cruel Winter Blues, Beyond the Years, Hwang Jin-yi, My 11th Mother, Love, First, Chosun Police, The Painter of the Wind, IRIS, My Girlfriend is an Agent, Possessed, Good Morning President, Secret, Best Seller, Loving You Today, Blades of Blood, The Quiz Show Scandal, Personal Preference, The Recipe, Battlefield Heroes, Children..., Earth Rep Rolling Stars, The Front Line, War of the Arrows, All About My Wife, Masquerade, December 23, Miracle in Cell No. 7, Battle of Myeongryang, Whirlwind Sea
Ryu Seung Ryong
Do You Like Spring Bear? (cameo), Silmido, My Family, Public Enemy, Drama City, Nine Tailed Fox, Delightful Girl Choon Hyang, Resurrection, Family Ties, Wolf, Stranger Than Paradise, My Love, Iri, The Devil, The Best Moment of Our Lives, Sunny, Chaw, Fight, Handphone, Queen Seon Deok, Cyrano; Dating Agency, Dr. Champ, SIU, Never Ending Story, Introduction to Architecture, The Equator Man, 7th Grade Civil Servant, Sword and Flower
Uhm Tae Woong
Popcorn, Autumn Tale, Law Firm, Make It Big, So Close, Summer Scent, Ice Rain, He Was Cool, Fate, East of Eden, The Invincible, Love and Soul, My Princess, Time Slip Dr. Jin, When a Man Loves
Song Seung Heon
Nonstop 5, Famous Princesses, Shining Inheritance, My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox, The Greatest Love (cameo), The King 2 Hearts, Gu Family Book
Lee Seung Gi

 I'm pretty happy with this group. They're all versatile swoon-worthy actors who draw viewers in.

10th: An 8-way tie with two votes each:
The Anarchist, All About Eve, Friend, 2009 Lost Memories, The Coast Guard, Taegukgi, Typhoon, The Promise, Laundry Warrior, Good Morning, President, The Warrior's Way, My Way, Dangerous Liaisons, A Gentleman's Dignity
Jang Dong Gun

Musa the Warrior, Mutt Boy, A Moment to Remember, Sad Movie, Daisy, The Restless, The Good, the Bad and the Strange, The War of the Red Cliff, Chengdu, I Love You, Reign of Assassins, Athena: Goddess of War, Friends & Love, Good Life~Arigato, Papa. Sayonara (cameo), Padam Padam, The Killer
Jung Woo Sung
Coming Out, The Foul King (cameo), Joint Security Area, Guns & Talks, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, No Comment, Surprise Party, Save the Green Planet, A Man Who Went to Mars, A Good Person, Hair, My Brother, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (cameo), Welcome to Dongmak Valley, The Big Scene, No Mercy for the Rude, A Day With My Son (cameo), The Devil's Game, Thirst, Quiz King, Foxy Festival, Cafe Noir, Harvest Villa, The Front Line, Brain, All About My Romance
Shin Ha Kyun
Real Fiction, Butterfly, Break Out, Survival Game, Rewind, Spring Breeze, My Right to Ravage Myself, Rosemary,Spider Forest, Ghost House, Springtime, Feathers in the Wind, Terms of  Endearment, Precious Family, Never to Lose, Princess Aurora, Love is a Crazy Thing, The Magicians, Romance, Our Happy Time, Great Inheritance, My Love, The Best Romance, Femme Fatale, White Tower, The Great Gatsby, Golden Era of Daugher in Law, Seoul's Sad Song, New Heart, The Scale of Providence, City of Glass, The Tale of Jangwha and Hongryeon, Jejoongwon, Gumiho: Tale of the Fox's Child, Pure Pumpkin Flower, Sign, Vampire Prosecutor, A Thousand Days' Promise, For the Sake of Son, History of the Salaryman, A Wife's Credentials, Ghost, Big, Five Fingers, The King of Dramas, The End of the World
Jang Hyun
Say It With Your Eyes, Mothers and Sisters, Piano, Age of Innocence, My Fair Lady, Some, When a Man is in Love, Green Rose, Marrying a Millionaire, Into the White Night, Will It Snow at Christmas?, Psychic, The Front Line, Love 911
Ko Soo
School 4, Whenever the Heart Beats, Hard Love, My Tutor Friend, 20 Years, Screen, Spy Girl, Superstar Mr. Gam, S Diary, She's on Duty, Hello My Teacher, One Fine Day, Ryu ga Gotoku, The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, Finding Mr. Destiny, The Crucible, Big
Gong Yoo
Low Life, Be Strong Geum Soon, Don't Look Back, No Regrets, Goodbye Solo, Lovers, When Spring Comes, Several Questions that Make Us Happy, Kang Chul Jung: Public Enemy 1-1, Modern Boy, Portrait of a Beauty, Terroir, Hand Phone (cameo), Queen Seon Deok, Lovers Vanished, Personal Prefernce (cameo), Bad Guy, Shark
Kim Nam Gil
Romance, Sharp 1, Ghost Lives, Nonstop 5, Arang, Secret Campus, Humming, Mackerel Run, I'm Sam, Public Enemy Returns, Our School E.T, Get Up, Boys Before Flowers, Personal Preference, City Hunter, Faith
Lee Min Ho

I'm not sure if Jang Hyun Sung is the Jang Hyun that the article referred to, but I think it's a good guess based on the work that he's done. I'm glad Jang Dong Gun and Gong Yoo made it onto the list. I always look forward to seeing their work. And thank goodness Lee Min Ho is on there as well or Batzy-Chan would have gone wild.

There is one name conspicously missing, though, and that is Jang Geun Seok. I would think that his performances in Hong Gil DongBeethoven VirusYou're BeautifulItaewon Murder Case and Love Rain were diverse enough to put him on the list. Unfortunately, the single digit ratings for a few of his dramas must have held him back.

I would have also liked to see Kim Myung Min make the cut. He's won many awards for dramas in a variety of genres including Beethoven Virus and Closer to Heaven.

According to the article, (I think, because my Korean is horrible) less actresses were chosen than actors due to considerations such as sales in the Japanese market. I guess the majority female viewership make male actors the more influential factor when it comes to sales and ratings. However, without our charismatic and talented actresses, dramas would not be nearly as charming.

1st: Ha Ji Won (12 votes)
Ha was praised for playing heroines who were pivotal to the success of dramas such as DamoHwang Jin YiSecret Garden and What Happened in Bali.

This woman can do anything.  Action and romance?  No problem!

What you may have seen her in:  Nightmare, Truth Game, Ditto , The Scissors, Secret, Life is Beautiful, Phone, Sex is Zero, Days in the Sun, Reversal of Fortune, Love That's Bigger Than Love, Damo, 100 Day with Mr Arrogant, Quija Board, Love So Divine, What Happened in Bali, All For Love (cameo), Daddy Long Legs, Duelist, Hwang Jin Yi, Miracle on 1st Street, Sex is Zero 2 (cameo), His Last Gift (cameo), Fool/BA:BOSeven RemediesHaeundaeMy Love By My SideSector 7Secret GardenAs OneThe King 2 Hearts

2nd: A 2-way tie:
Kim Tae Hee
Kim is praised for both beauty and intelligence, having obtained a degree from Seoul National University. In addition, she was a CF star.

Her beauty combined with her bright personality really reminds me of Anne Hathaway.  They're both so talented and graceful.

What you may have seen her in:  Last Present, New Citizen, Let's Go, Screen, A Problem at my Younger Brother's House, Stairway to Heaven, Nine Tailed Fox, Love Story in Harvard, The Restless, Quarrel, IRISGrand PrixMy PrincessBoku to Star no 99 NichiJang Ok Jung

Go Hyeon Jeong
Go is exceptional for being able to make a comeback after leaving acting at the peak of her success, for a marriage that lasted eight years and ended badly. Despite the stigma of being a divorcee, her beauty and acting skills restored her top star status. She's now over 40 and still going strong.

What you may have seen her in:  Spring Day, Woman on the Beach, What's Up Fox?, H.I.T.Like You Know It AllActressesQueen Seon DeokDae Mul

3rd: Son Ye Jin (6 votes)
Son Ye Jin has won an impressive collection of awards for her acting and modelling.

I loved her in Personal Preference.  She plays slovenly very well!  I'm excited that her next drama is a thriller, pairing her with Kim Nam Gil of Bad Guy.  Incidentally, he had a cameo in Personal Preference.

What you may have seen her in:  Delicious Proposal, Sun-hee and Jin-hee, Secret Tears, Chihwaseon, Daemang, Lover's Concerto, The Classic, Crazy First Love, Summer Scent, A Moment to Remember, April Snow, The Art of  Seduction, Alone in Love, Yobi the Fox, My Wife is MarriedSpotlightInto the White NightPersonal PreferenceSecret Garden (cameo), The Tower

4th: Song Hye Kyo (8 votes)
Considered one of Korea's most beautiful women, Song also has an impressive array of endorsements and awards. She learned Cantonese and martial arts for the film, The Grandmaster.

Song is seriously one of the most gorgeous women ever!  Even when she's in pajamas and goofy hair.  She's so expressive and a joy to watch.

What you may have seen her in:  Autumn Tale, Hotelier, Guardian Angel, All In, Shining Days, Full House, My Girl and I, Hwang Jin Yi, The World that They Live InFetishCamellia Love for SaleNobody SomebodyThe GrandmasterThat Winter, the Wind Blows

5th: A 3-way tie with 3 votes each:
Han Hyo Joo
Han boasts a plethora of awards including a Best Actress Award from the 20th Singapore International Film Festival.

What I especially like about her is that she disappears into her character so that you're left wondering, "Is that the same actress?"

What you may have seen her in:  My Boss, My Teacher, Nonstop 5, Ad-Lib Night, Spring Waltz, By Land and Skky, Ride AwayIljimaeShining InheritanceSoul SpecialDong YiPostman to HeavenOnly You/AlwaysLove 911Masquerade

Gong Hyo Jin
Gong has won many awards, including one for Best Actress at the 2006 Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Additionally, she has recorded songs with other artists, designed apparel and published a collection of essays on the environment that includes tips on going green.

Gong Hyo Jin is one of my favorite actresses because of the thoughtful depth she brings to each role.  I'm so excited that she will be in a Horror/Rom Com opposite So Ji Sub, written by the Hong sisters later this year.

What you may have seen her in:  Last Present (cameo), Guns & Talks, Volcano High, Drama City, Surprise, Emergency Act 19, Taekwon Girl, Conduct Zero, Wonderful Days, Ruler of Your Own World, Snowman, Sang Doo, Let's Go To School, Heaven's Soldiers, Hello My Teacher, The Birth of a Family, A Day with My Son (cameo), Happiness (cameo), M, Thank You, I Like It This WayCrush & BlushDajjimawa LeeSisters on the RoadRolling Home with a BullPastaThe Greatest LoveFlower Boy Ramyun Shop (cameo)

Moon Chae Won
Moon has won multiple awards including three for her work in the film, War of the Arrows for which she took archery and horse riding lessons.

I'm not surprised she made the list after winning Top Excellence and Best Couple awards for her last two dramas, along with a Netizen's Award and a Popularity award.  All well deserved, of course!

What you may have seen her in:  Mackerel Run, The Painter of the WindShining InheritanceTake Care of the Young LadyRoad Number One (cameo), It's Okay, Daddy's GirlThe Princess' ManNice Guy

Receiving one vote each:
Golden Era, Kick the Moon!, Three, YMCA Baseball Team, Jang Hee Bin, The Hypnotized, Han River Ballad, The Red Shoes, Tazza, A Day for an Affair, Shim's Family, Eleventh Mom, Modern Boy, Style, Villain and Widow, Home Sweet Home, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop (cameo), The Thieves, The Face Reader, God of the Workplace
Kim Hye Soo

I Love You, Her House, Voice of Murderer, Queen of Housewives, Queen of Reversals, You Who Rolled In Unexpectedly
Kim Nam Ju
Ditto, Secret, Piano, Romance, My Tutor Friend, Ice Rain, Too Beautiful to Lie, Dead Friend, Stained Glass, Almost Love, 90 Days, Falling in Love Days, Six Years Love, on Air, 7 Grade Civil Servant, Paradise, Telecinema Paradise, Road Number One, Blind, You're My Pet, A Gentleman's Dignity
Kim Ha Neul
Great Great, Golden Era, Yesterday, Wet Dreams, Once Upon a Time in a Battlefield, The Greatest Expectation, Happy Naked Christmas, S Diary, She's On Duty, My Name is Kim Sam-Soon, The Worst Man of my Life (cameo), Girl Scout, Sweet Lies (cameo), When It's At Night, City Hall, Telecinema After Wedding Banquet, Scent of a Woman, I Do, I Do
Kim Sun Ah

Jak Sarang, Yeob Gi Bal Ral Hong Seon Saeng, The Glory Era of the Maeng's, Love Letter, Merry Go Round, Desire, A Family, April Kiss, Sea Good, Wedding Campaign, Once in a Summer, 9 End 2 Outs, Someone Dear is Far Away, Like Fireworks, Like Butterflies, And Us, Late Night FM, Athena: Goddess of War, A Thousand Days' Promise, Queen of Ambition
Soo Ae
Sunshine Hunting, Yellow Handkerchief, Spirit of Jeet Kune Do, Terms of Endearment, Super Rookie, Dr. Kkang, Witch Amusement, Bad Guy, Architecture 101, The Moon That Embraces the Sun
Han Ga In
Autumn Tale, Medical Center (cameo), On the Way, Life is Beautiful, Empress Myung Sung, Lover's Concerto, A Tale of Two Sisters, Wife, My Little Bride, Innocent teps, Love Me Not, The Painter of the Wind, Cinderella's Sister, Mary Stayed Out All night, Cheongdamdong Alice
Moon Geun Young
Rainbow Romance, The Legend of Seven Cutter, Goong, The Vineyard Man, The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, Take Care of the Young Lady, Personal Preference (cameo), My Black Mini Dress, Lie To Me, I Miss You
Yoon Eun Hye
Dream High, Human Casino, I Need a fairy (cameo), Dream High, Architecture 101, Big, Gu Family Book

I can't say I fully agree with this list. Soo Ae's emotions never seem authentic, so she always brings a cold feeling to her roles. Moon Geun Young's work was excellent through 2008, but she seems to have lost her expressive style and ability to connect with her co-stars. It's surprising that Suzy made the list considering her limited filmography and awards. It may be a mistake in my translation.

I think Jung Ryu Won deserved to be on this list. She's worked in a variety of genres, however perhaps she was overlooked because of single digit ratings for some of her dramas. She has received awards for her work in The King of DramasHistory of the SalarymanTwo Faces of My Girlfriend and My Lovely Sam Soon

**Please note that in this article I've listed only productions each actor has done from 2000 to the present.

Click here to read the original article in Korean.

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