Mark your calendars: On June 5, 2020, the prestigious 56th Baeksang Arts Awards will hold its annual celebration of Korean productions.
Having been one of the most robustly entertaining year of K-Dramas (from April 2019 to April 2020), viewers are curious as to who will take home the “Best Rookie TV Actor” award. For decades, this particular award has been the official “unofficial certification” of rising talent with the potential to become the next leading superstar. Hence, the competition is exceptionally fierce: The rookie award line up always consists of the hottest, trendiest, and most deserving new faces in the house. Here are 2020’s candidates — Who are you rooting for?
1. Child Actor Kim Kang Hoon
Since his convincing portrayal of Pilgu in When The Camellia Blooms, child actor Kim Kang Hoon has frequently been discussed to have a bright future ahead of him. He may be young, but he boasts an incredible depth in his ability to grasp the entirety of his character. Any viewer who watched When The Camellia Blooms will agree: When Pilgu smiled, the room lit up in sunshine and rainbow. But boy when he cried, the world came crumbling down.
2. Actor Ahn Bo Hyun
Actor Ahn Bo Hyun debuted in 2014, so he may not be a rookie-rookie. But he rose to stardom relatively recently — thanks to his chilling portrayal of the villain Jang Geun Won in Itaewon Class. For many, Ahn Bo Hyun became the definition of that peculiar “psychotic sexy“, meaning the viewers have found his character to be despicable since the very first moment… but also unstoppably sexy. Will this unrivaled duality secure him a long-awaited rookie award?
3. Actor Ahn Hyo Seop
In Dr. Romantic 2, actor Ahn Hyo Seop “matured” right alongside his traumatized and ostracized character of the medical fellow Dr. Seo Woo Jin — and K-Drama viewers are all about that coming-of-age character. As for Ahn Hyo Seop, it is not only his visual, but also his acting style which earned him a spot on this list. His refreshingly fun chemistry with his co-star, the seasoned veteran actor Han Suk Kyu, has been eye-catching for the viewers. And producers are keeping their eyes on this rookie with a substantial fandom already.
4. Idol-Turned-Actor Ong Seong Wu
As a former Wanna One member turned soloist and actor, Ong Seong Wu initially confronted the tainted stereotype, that “Idols don’t know how to act.” Fortunately, his most intricate portrayal of the complex character Choi Jun Woo in At Eighteen blasted all the skepticism away. As the series’s main producer once commented in an interview about Ong Seong Wu, he “gave the show 100/100 of what he has” and actively helped in boosting the viewer rating.
5. Actor Lee Jae Wook
Finally, actor Lee Jae Wook became nominated for his evil-but-adorable character Baek Kyung in the beloved series Extraordinary You; But it is important to note that this superstar-in-the-making has built himself an impressive filmography in the short period of two years since his debut in 2018. His previous roles in shows like Memories of The Alhambra and Search: WWW already proved to K-Drama viewers that Lee Jae Wook comes with a spectrum that runs wide… so wide that some couldn’t even recognize that he had been in all three shows!