Political drama The King ( ) leads the nomination list for the 54th Grand Bell Awards. The nominations for the 18 categories were chosen by a panel of 32 experts, including film critics and academics.

Directed by Han Jae-rim (The Face Reader 관상), the 1980s-set film stars Zo In-sung as an ambitious attorney who joins an elite team of prosecutors in the capital. The Next Entertainment World release earned 14 nominations, including best film, best director, best screenplay, best actor (for Jo In-sung), and best supporting actor (Bae Seong-woo). Co-star Jung Woo-sung was not nominated.

Lee Joon-ik’s Anarchist From Colony (박열) earned 12 nominations, including best film, best director, best screenplay, best actor (Lee Je-hoon), best actress (Choi Hee-seo), and best supporting actor (Kim Yin-woo).

Hit drama A Taxi Driver (택시운전사) earned 11 nominations, including best film, best director, and best screenplay. However, Song Kang-ho was the only member of the cast nominated in the acting categories.

Crime drama The Merciless (불한당나쁜 놈들의 세상) and disaster thriller Pandora (판도라) and their respective directors round out the best picture category. However, the two films were left out in the best screenplay category, replaced by time-traveling fantasy Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned (가려진 시간) and kidnapping thriller Missing (미씽사라진 여자).

Midnight Runners’s (청년경찰) Jason Kim, The Prison’s (프리즌) Na Hyun, Yongsoon’s (용순) Shin Joon, Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned’s Uhm Tae-hwa, and One-Line’s (원라인) Yang Gyung-mo are nominated for best new director.

There are two notable absentees in this year’s nomination list: Ryoo Seung-won’s big-budget epic drama Battleship Island (군함도) and Bong Joon-ho’s Okja (옥자). Battleship Island received largely negative reviews and was considered a box office disappointment. Meanwhile, Okja may not have been eligible because it was financed by a foreign company, even though a significant portion of the film was shot in Korea with a largely Korean crew.

Despite its long history, the Grand Bell Awards have been caught in controversies in recent years. In addition to criticisms about its voting system and accounting practices, nominees have been boycotting the ceremony for the past two years when the awards announced that only winners who attend would receive awards. The award committee retracted the attendance policy just before last year’s edition, but a number of nominees boycotted the ceremony.

This year’s Grand Bell Awards will be held on October 25th in Seoul.

54th Grand Bell Awards Nominations (major categories)

Best Film

The King

A Taxi Driver

The Merciless


Anarchist From Colony

Best Director

Han Jae-rim – The King

Jang Hoon – A Taxi Driver

Byun Sung-hyun – The Merciless

Park Jung-woo – Pandora

Lee Joon-ik – Anarchist From Colony

Best Screenplay

The King

A Taxi Driver

Anarchist From Colony


Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned

Best Actor

Sol Kyung-gu – The Merciless

Song Kang-ho – A Taxi Driver

Lee Je-hoon – Anarchist From Colony

Jo In-sung – The King

Han Suk-kyu – The Prison

Best Actress

Gong Hyo-jin – Missing

Kim Ok-bin – The Villainess (악녀)

Yum Jung-ah – The Mimic (장산범)

Chun Woo-Hee – One Day (어느날)

Choi Hee-seo – Anarchist From Colony

Best Supporting Actor

Kwok Do-won – The Mayor (특별시민)

Kim Yin-woo – Anarchist From Colony

Kim Hee-won – The Merciless

Bae Sung-woo – The King

Jung Jin-young – Pandora

Best Supporting Actress

Kim Young-ae – Pandora

Kim So-jin – The King

Kim Hae-sook – New Trial (재심)

Moon So-ri – The Mayor

Jeon Hye-jin – The Merciless

Best New Director

Jason Kim – Midnight Runner

Na Hyun – The Prison

Shin Joon – Yongsoon

Uhm Tae-hwa – Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned

Yang Gyung-mo – One-Line

Best New Actor

Kim Joon-han – Anarchist From Colony

Park Seo-joon – Midnight Runners

Min Jin-woong – New Trial

Byun Yo-han – Will You Be There? (당신 거기 있어줄래요)

Choi Min-ho – Derailed ( 남자)

Best New Actress

Shin Eun-soo – Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned

Oh Ye-seol – My Little Baby, Jaya (지렁이)

Lee Soo-kyung – Yongsoon

Im Yoon-ah (YoonA) – Confidential Assignment (공조)

Choi Hee-seo – Anarchist From Colony