By Han Sang-hee
Movie fans may have highly anticipated the 46th Grand Bell (Daejong) Film Festival, which took place Friday in southern Seoul, but the outcome of the event was unexpected.
The festival's award ceremony had many shaking their heads, as some of the most successful films took home fewer trophies than expected, while the lack of participating stars left the event feelfeel a bit empty.
This year's Best Picture award went to ``The Divine Weapon,'' pushing aside hit blockbusters ``Haeundae'' and ``Mother.''
``Mother,'' which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, managed only to win the Best Supporting Actor award, while ``Haeundae,'' which was nominated in nine categories and was one of the biggest films of the year, won only Best Producer.
``Take-Off'' was nominated in seven categories but only won Best Director, while ``Closer to Heaven'' took home Best Actor. ``Haeundae'' and ``Take-Off'' attracted a total of 12.93 million movies goers, alternating in first and second place in the box office for six consecutive weeks last August.
Another flaw in this year's event was the absence of top stars. Three out of the five nominees for the Best Actor award failed to appear for health or personal issues. Kim Myung-min, who eventually was named Best Actor for his role as a terminally ill man in ``Closer to Heaven'' was not able to receive the award as he was hospitalized, according to his agency.
Other stars, including Cheong Kyung-ho, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and Kim Hae-suk and Uhm Jung-hwa who were nominated for Best Supporting Actress, also missed the event. Those awards were given to Jin Goo for his role in ``Mother'' and Kim Young-ae in ``Aeja.''
Meanwhile, the Best Actress award was given to Su Ae for her appearance in the film ``Sunny,'' leaving Jang Na-ra, who had been in the middle of a debate regarding the festival's nomination process, trophy-less.
The festival committee had to explain its decision to nominate Jang for a film that had not even been in theaters at the time, and also for excluding Ha Ji-won, who starred in two of the biggest films of the year, ``Haeundae'' and ``Closer to Heaven."