Best Actor/Actress Analysis

The TVB Anniversary awards are coming up soon, so I thought I would just take a look back on the previous winners. I'm only going to start from 2004, since that was the first year I started paying attention to the awards, and I'll begin with the Best Actor and Actress recipients. In the upcoming posts, I'll talk about the Supporting and Most Improved Awards. 

Bowie Lam and Gigi Lai
War and Beauty was a big hit this year. It dominated the award show and took up a lot of nominations. Bowie was no surprise but the Best Actress award was between Gigi, Sheren Teng, Maggie Cheung, and Charmaine Sheh. I think it was expected to go towards Sheren or Maggie so it was a shocker when Gigi got it instead. There was uproar and talks about how she traded a contract for the award since many people were upset she got it.

2005-2011 and other thoughts

Roger Kwok and Liza Wang
Life Made Simple was the popular sequel of Square Pegs where Roger won his first Best Actor award. His biggest competition was Moses Chan but Roger's character and series was just too popular to overcome.
Best Actress was between Liza Wang (War of In Laws) and Kenix Kwok (Revolving Doors of Vengeance) with Myolie Wu (War of In Laws) as the dark horse. Liza surprised the audience as a bratty and funny mother-in-law while Kenix had never received the award before. Her contract was also up for renewal and people thought that there might be a trade-off. However, her series did not get ideal ratings and her character and acting was not memorable. She either needed really high ratings or a critically acclaimed performance to capture the award, but since neither happened, the award was given to the more popular War of In Laws' Liza Wang.

Kevin Cheng and Charmaine Sheh
Since Myolie was a popular candidate last year, there was a push to rise her status with To Grow With Love. There was a lot of talk about the series since she had to gain weight, but the series did not live up to the hype. Instead, Best Actress went to Charmaine who was commended for playing 4 different roles in Maiden's Vow.
Joe Ma was the hot candidate for Best Actor since Maiden's Vow did so well with Moses Chan as the other big candidate but Dance of Passion was widely panned. However, the award went to Kevin Cheng which was a shock. Under The Canopy of Love was very popular but many people said that Kevin didn't deserve the award since his role was not that difficult to portray and that favoritism was the only reason he got the award. Although I didn't think Kevin was the best choice to win, I was mainly happy because I was not a fan of Joe Ma. haha

Moses Chan and Louise Lee

Heart of Greed was the big hit of the year so it was no surprise that they swept the top acting awards. I think TVB had been wanting to award Moses with the Best Actor award for some time and it was the perfect opportunity since he had a popular role in a popular series. Raymond Lam is another actor that TVB seems to want to award the Best Actor award to but his role in Drive of Life was just not as popular. This was Moses' year. Louise didn't really have any competition either and she was also the popular choice with the audience.

Ha Yu and Michelle Yim
Moonlight Resonance was the popular sequel to Heart of Greed and they swept the top acting awards for this year as well. Ha Yu actively campaigned for the Best Actor award since he mentioned how much he wanted it in most of his interviews. His biggest competition was Raymond Lam but his role was not as buzz worthy as his role in Heart of Greed. Actually, I read an article at the time which revealed that Kevin Cheng had actually won the audience vote for his role in Last One Standing, which I think he should have gotten an award for instead of Under the Canopy of Love.
They did a big change for the awards this year which limited the Best Actor/Actress award to only 10 nominations per category and limited it to only one actor per series except for Moonlight Resonance. That seemed so unfair since most series has more than one lead actor and they only made an exception for that one series. Because of this, a lot of contendors were shut out of nominations such as Myolie who did not receive nomination for War of In Laws 2 since Liza is the bigger star and got the nomination instead.. The biggest travesty was that Tavia Yeung was nominated as a supporting actress instead of  lead even though she had more screen time than Michelle. Her acting was superb in this and stole the show and she would have been my pick for Best Actress this year. Of the actual people nominated, it was no surprise when Michelle won since she was greatly praised for her evil role.

Wayne Lai and Sheren Teng
Due to Tavia's popularity in Moonlight Resonance, she was given a villainous role in Beyond the Realm of Conscience to help secure a Best Actress win for her. However, she was criticized for her role (and the series basically sucked. lol), Sheren became the hot favorite with Rosy Business and many were rooting for her to get her Best Actress award since they felt she was robbed for her role in War and Beauty.
Wayne also became the unlikely hot favorite in one of his first lead roles. He had a lot of memorable lines and was able to balance the good and bad of his character which made people really connect to his character. There was no competition and he was able 3 awards: Popularity, Favorite Male Character and Best Actor.

Wayne Lai and Sheren Teng
No Regrets helped Wayne and Sheren continue their dominance. Their main competitors were other former winners, Moses and Charmaine, due to the high ratings of Can't Buy Me Love. Raymond Lam and Tavia had an outside shot since they were heavily promoted in order to be part of the new generation to receive the awards, but their series had a lot of criticisms that it was a copycat and unoriginal so they didn't really have a chance. Actually, Wayne received some criticisms for this role because they thought he exaggerated too much, and both Pierre Ngo and Evergreen Mak stole the show with their portrayals, but even so, Wayne was still the favorite for this award. The only reason that they weren't a sure thing was because people weren't sure if TVB would award them twice in a row.

Kevin Cheng and Myolie Wu
Both Kevin and Myolie were previously criticized for their acting was 2011 was their year. There is no doubt they deserved this award. Not only did they win the executive's votes, they also won with a majority of their fellow actor's votes and the audience vote.
Kevin's biggest opponent was Michael Tse who reprised his popular Laughing character. Although I think Michael did a great job, I don't think his role had an element of surprise that Kevin's had, and he had already won a Best Supporting Actor award for this same role. Another thing going against Michael was that he seemed to get more cocky, and even criticized Steven Ma as immature around anniversary time. On the other hand, Kevin was now perceived as playful and humorous (as opposed to cold and stone-faced) and was able to get the majority of the audience rooting for him.
All three of Myolie's series this year received high ratings so it was no surprise that she was the frontrunner to receive the Best Actress award. I think she would have won for any of her roles this year, but she was nominated for Curse of the Royal Harem to help boost the publicity for it since it was one of the anniversary series. Her main rival was touted to be Fala Chen's role as Madam Jo in Lives of Omission but she was never a threat since she was only in this position to raise her status.

Prediction so far for this year? I am pretty sure that Tavia Yeung will be receiving Best Actress. They've been wanting to give her this award a few times and she is naturally next in line after Myolie. Her closest competitors ones who have already received the award already or other young fadans whose "turn" is not up. Most importantly, it is her year. The Hippocratic Crush was praised and even though Three Kingdoms was not, it still had high ratings. She has one series left which is timed perfectly for awards time. One more strong performance and she will cinch the award.
Best Actor is a little tough. If they wanted to award it to a younger actor, I can imagine Raymond Lam getting it because he is the first in line of the new generation to receive it. However, if Highs and Lows does not get praised or ideal ratings, I can see them giving it to Kenneth instead. Like Tavia, he's had an excellent year with all his series. He was criticized for Three Kingdoms but was also praised for the variety of roles he had this year. He's also gone scandal free so it's no wonder TVB is trying to mold him as the next Moses Chan. Don't count out Michael Miu and Damian Lau as the veterans who have clout and might get this award. Michael's role in Highs and Lows seem complicated and Damian actually had a hand in being a scriptwriter for the anniversary series. They might reward him with the Best Actor award... that is if they want it. If they want it, they will show up at the awards. If they don't care about awards, they will skip it and it will go to someone from the younger generation.

I always see the same complaint every year. "X only won because he/she had weak competition! I miss the days when there was a lot of competition!" Well, that's not really true since the Best Actor/Actress award is usually only between 2 people, but there's usually one standout that seems like the obvious winner. Also, there's obviously a seniority ranking when it comes to these awards so some people are just basically waiting for their turn.
There were a few times that seem like the winner won at the wrong time. For example, when Gigi and Kevin won, there were a lot of complaints, but they both "proved" their win a few years later.
When there is hype around a series to push certain actors to get an award, people tend to get hyper critical about performances. A lot of times, these are from fans of the competition who want to make their own faves seem like the best by pushing other artists down. Sometimes it's better if a series did not have hype and just surprised the audience. For example, if you look at Lives of Omission as a stand-alone series that didn't air around anniversary time, I think more people would have praised Michael Tse's acting. Instead, there was a lot of hype about another movie sequel and how he will be awarded TV King, so it caused a lot of people to turn on him. People would rather root for the underdog.

Sometimes great acting is not just enough. Actors need the perfect role, high ratings, and good timing to be able to win. So good luck to all the siu sangs and fadans who want to win!  Just keep improving and hopefully it will be your time soon. In general, the awards should be seen as encouragement for the artists and nothing something super serious since there are a lot of factors that go into the award.

If you actually get to the end, I can't believe you read all of this! :P These are just all my thoughts, so feel free to leave your opinions in the comments.


scalae3 said...

Unlike a lot of people, I think that Maggie Cheung did the best among the 4 female leads of War and Beauty, but she already got the award in 2003 so it's almost unlikely that she would get it again in 2004. Sheren was good too but it wasn't her best. And her winning in both 2009 and 2010 is undeniable. She totally deserved it.

In 2006, I would pick Bowie to be Best Actor because his performance in The Dance of Passion was so good. Joe was a hot candidate but I thought he was a bit OTT in Maidens' Vow. And Kevin winning is just....O_o Even in 2008 Last One Standing, it was Roger that caught my attention, not Kevin. But Kevin has finally proven himself in Ghetto Justice and he deserved it for that series alone, because now I change my opinion after watching Ghetto 2.

This year will be Tavia's year (they're lining up to get Best Actress lol). As for Best Actor, I have yet to see Raymond in Highs and Lows. Kenneth is probably the hottest candidate for now.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say it is not necessarily true that last year's winners "also won with a majority of their fellow actor's votes" -- most people don't seem to realize it but certain magazines were very blatantly one-sided when it came to listing these votes, by excluding quite a number of those actors who were reported in various news supporting Michael Tse. As for audience votes, it's an open secret that there were fans voting multiple times on both sides, and Kevin Cheng obviously had the advantage there. Really, the only votes that actually counted were the executives' -- and there Michael Tse got played out by internal politics as well.

AC said...

@scalae3 Last One Standing is one of my favorite series and they both stood out to me because they played someone unexpected. Actually, I think Roger did the best in Wax and Wane, but too bad that series was panned. lol
It's definitely Tavia's turn, and then I think it'll be Linda, then Kate/Fala. :)

@Anonymous There were a couple magazines and interviews that reported who the actors voted for, including TVB Weekly. If their official magazine was biased too, then it definitely was not a good sign for Michael Tse. lol. Actually, the actors' votes are pretty biased too since they are rooting for their co-star or friend.
For the audience votes, I agree that it's always fans voting multiple times and Kevin had the advantage because he gained a lot of Mainland fans. (That's why I'm against 100% audience votes decided by the public!) A reason why internal politics did not work out in Michael's favor could be that they thought giving him another movie was enough?
Actually, there was a rumor earlier that they were going to give Michael Tse the Best Actor award this year but they ended up not airing Sergeant Tabloid yet.

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