Yet another anniversary season has been concluded! And to be honest? Some of this year's winners were extremely surprising, but in the best way possible. In fact, though TVB has done a good job of being generally fair the last few years, they really got it right this time around. Sure, this was mostly a desperate attempt to show the audience these awards aren't rigged, but hey, I don't mind. With that, here are my comments about this year's awards results…
Most Improved Actor
Winner: Vincent Wong
To be honest, this is the win I'm most happy about. Vincent emerged as a front runner at the very last minute, but was up until then probably the nominee with the least noise. Unlike the others, he had no true advantage, whether it was biased support of an executive or a top-rated series. He relied on his acting merit and work ethic alone through his wide variety of roles this year. Although I initially could not stand Vincent (remember his debut in "War of In-Laws 2"?), I have seen potential and likability in him since "Gun Metal Grey", though I couldn't say he was an outstanding actor. In the last year, I've seen him prove me wrong. He has genuinely improved more than any other actor this year, portraying both comedic, lovable characters, despicable villains, and characters that fall in between.
Additionally, he's probably the young actor who has made the most sacrifices for his job. I can not understand why TVB allows the one siu sang who is both a husband and father of a young child to do so many dangerous and painful scenes. In his series, he has been slapped silly, dangled off a bridge, had his characters die violent deaths, and more. The most touching part though is when he thanked Yoyo and apologized for all the pain he must have caused his family whenever he "takes his character home" (all battered up and sore).
There have been a few artists who I sincerely love and have supported for a long time. I have loved Ruco and Edwin since their return to TVB and predicted and cheered for them to be recognized and promoted to lead, and they have. I am hoping the same will come true for Vincent as well. Alright, end of tangent.
Most Improved Actress
Winner: Eliza Sam
Surprise? No. I was neither excited by Eliza's win, nor upset over it. Though Eliza was an impressive newcomer, she did not actually improve much this year. She is extremely likable in comedic and lighthearted roles, but I have trouble seeing her as more than the bubbly and charismatic happy go lucky girl, as shown in her stiff performance in "Sniper Standoff."
Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Benz Hui for "Bounty Lady"
Wow! Now this was a surprise. Honestly, I was disappointed that Edwin did not win this award after receiving a whooping four nominations (a rather desperate attempt to give Edwin something it seems). However, how can I not be happy for Benz? He has long been a phenomenal and reliable supporting actor who never fails to generate laughs and smiles, and his performance in "Bounty Lady" is no different.
On a side note, I highly disliked how all the nominees were announced instead of revealing the top 5, or even the top 2 like last year. With a nomination already not meaning much, I always liked seeing who the top contenders were. Reiterating all 15 just made it unnecessarily long, but it was nice to see so many people attending.
Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Elena Kong for "Triumph in the Skies 2"
Hearing her name called was such a touching moment as almost everyone in the room gave her a standing ovation (and not to mention funny, as she was announced as the actress who got to kiss Kenneth). It's clear that it is widely recognized how talented and hardworking Elena is! She has been a top contender for this award for several years, starting with "Angela Auntie" in "Beauty Knows No Pain." Her winning portrayal as "Heather" in "Triumph in the Skies 2" was a much more calm and low key performance that was not one of her most notable, but it was the top rated series that finally allowed her to take it home. However, it would have been more justified for her to win for "Bounty Lady."
My Favorite Male Character
Winner: Chilam Cheung as "Jayden Koo" for "Triumph in the Skies 2"
Was he my favorite male character of the year? By no means. "Captain Cool" actually greatly irritated me in the latter half of the series, suddenly going from a notorious playboy to a lovesick puppy dog without any justification. Yet, this would have only made complete sense if Chilam won, as he is the only one who received widespread attention outside of Hong Kong, a hard feat. However, I sincerely hope Chilam was kidding in his acceptance speech. My humor can be pretty dry and sarcastic as well sometimes, but even if this was just Chilam showing his sense of humor, it was nevertheless the wrong time and place for it. With the "My Favorite Character" awards this year being completely determined by online voting, the award is more than a consolation for Best Actor/Actress, but actually quite meaningful, and Chilam failed to show gratefulness to his fans.
My Favorite Female Character
Winner: Kristal Tin as "You Man Ying" for "Brother's Keeper"
Linda was probably assuming she would (finally) win this. However, with TVB struggling to bring themselves to show how fair and not rigged this is, of course "Yiu Man Ying" took the cake instead. She was easily the most loved character of the year and the under dog character that audiences couldn't help but root for.
Winner: Dayo Wong for "Bounty Lady"
Surprising? Yes! But oh, what a great surprise it is. I was in complete and total shock when Dayo's name was announced. While I did not enjoy Dayo's performance in "Bounty Lady" as much as in one of my favorite series "You're Hired", he nevertheless deserved the award. He is a very unique comedic actor in that his performances not only provide humor, but philosophy and soul. He may make the audience laugh with his clever and witty lines, but also does well in giving more depth to his characters and nailing his more serious and dramatic scenes. Former "War of the Genders" co-star Dodo Cheng calling Dayo on her personal phone to tell him the news and his impromptu speech and quips like "How many Best Actor winners are there?" was the cherry on top of a priceless moment.
Winner: Kristal Tin for "Brother's Keeper"
Kristal and Edwin were originally predicted by the press to be nominated in the supporting categories for their performances in "Brother's Keeper" in order to boost their chances of winning, though they were second leads. I was initially nervous when she was revealed to be nominated in the leading category (as she should have). However, my gut feeling that said TVB would decide against giving it to Linda and instead give it to Kristal turned out to be true. There was no one more deserving than her. What a touching and genuine moment. Congratulations Kristal on your double win! You are unanimously the "Best Actress" of the year, having been selected by professional judges, the public, and your own colleagues.
Winner: "Triumph in the Skies 2"
My reaction to this was the same as for Eliza's win. Though I had hoped "Brother's Keeper" or a black horse such as "Inbound Troubles" would win, it was no doubt going to go to "Triumph in the Skies 2" one way or another. I am slightly surprised that "Triumph" won even with the professional panel of judges, but I guess there's no defeating this top rated hit.
Additional Comments: Overall, I was probably most happy with this year's results. While some were more deserving than others, there is no winner that does not make sense or feels rigged. I was either over the moon or accepting of all the winners. I really like the new system TVB used to determine Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Drama, which consisted of 50% a panel of professional judges and 50% fan voting, and hope they will continue to use it in the future. Once again, congratulations to the winners!