Only 10 days to the 1st Star Awards show!
But without the technical expertise to dissect the contributions of the background crew, the 1st show lacks that bit of passion. It becomes akin to a dress rehearsal – even to the viewer – for the main show the week after. Still, I find myself attracted to an award that has no nominee list thus far: Rocket Award 年度飞跃奖 .
It is given in honour of a MediaCorp artiste who have made most improvement in the performance of his/her respective field of profession for the past year. The nominees are determined by a team of judges employed by MediaCorp; winners are selected by a majority vote from the entire judging panel. (From Wikipedia)
It seems that anyone can win it. Is that really the case? These are the past winners:
2010: Elvin Ng 黄俊雄 (Together 当我们同在一起)
2011: Pornsak (Food Source 食在好源头)
2012: Desmond Tan 陈泂江 (A Song to Remember 星洲之夜)
2013: Romeo Tan 陈罗密欧 (Joys of Life 花样人间)
Even in its short history, there seem to be trends to the award recipients. First, they are all young and rising stars. This includes Pornsak, who in 2011 also won his first of 4 consecutive nominations (and counting) for Best Variety Show Host. Second, they are all backed by a major production. This includes Pornsak, whose Food Source 食在好源头 series won nominations and topped in viewership for the following 2 seasons. Third, they are all Singaporean males. This includes Pornsak, who has a better command of English, Mandarin and Singlish than many of us, despite being born Thai. Just catch him in Say It! 好好说 慢慢讲!
I believe the third trend to be merely transient. Among the other 2 trends, the first appears stronger. This is backed by last year’s last-minute nominee list, which apart from Romeo Tan, included Ian Fang 方伟杰 (Don’t Stop Believin’ 我们等你), Sora Ma 马艺瑄 (It’s A Wonderful Life 好运到) and Julie Tan 陈欣淇 (It’s A Wonderful Life 好运到). These are all promising young artistes in relatively smaller productions. (Note that 好运到, which aired in Jan 2013, was considered.)
With this understanding, the likes of Jeanette Aw 欧萱, Terence Cao 曹国辉 and Pierre Png 方展发 will probably need to look at the Best Actor/Actress awards for due recognition. Despite stand-out performances in major productions (The Dream Makers 志在四方 / The Journey: A Voyage 信约: 唐山到南洋) and strong ones elsewhere, they are already regarded as accomplished acts and hence the ‘improvement’ will not appear as pronounced.
With this point clarified, here is my list of 5 possible Rocket Award contenders this year!(Productions that aired in Jan 2014 are included.)
1. Rebecca Lim 林慧玲
Works: Sudden 骤变, The Dream Makers 志在四方, Yes We Can! 我们一定行!
Her stock skyrocketed after her sinister role in Unriddle 2 最火搭档2 in 2012. This followed her Best Actress accolade at the Asian Television Awards for Channel 5 law production, The Pupil. She has followed up with another 2 notable performances in 2013, garnering nominations in both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories. She is definitely tipped for future stardom, which would fit the mould of previous winners. Probably the favourite, unless she is already regarded as too experienced for this category. This is entirely possible, given her surprise omission from last year’s nominee list.
2. Jeffrey Xu 徐鸣杰
Works: Marry Me 我要嫁出去, Gonna Make It 小小传奇, The Recruit Diaries 阿兵新传, Scrum! 冲锋!
Despite winning Star Search 才华横溢出新秀 in 2010, Jeffrey has been overlooked for meatier roles that have gone to fellow contestant Romeo Tan 陈罗密欧. However, having patiently worked with smaller roles, he was awarded with a surprise Best Supporting Actor at the Asian Television Awards for his role in Wawa production, Marry Me 我要嫁出去. This has also led to a Star Awards nomination in the same category. As he hasn’t had a breakthrough role yet, it is hard to predict how his Mediacorp career will pan out. His positivity bodes well, though. A dark horse for this Rocket Award.
3. Ian Fang 方伟杰
Works: My Working Holiday 打工看世界, 96°C Café, The Dream Makers 志在四方, Sudden 骤变, Served H.O.T. 烧。卖
Starting out in the background, Ian had a breakthrough when On The Fringe 边缘父子 came round in 2011. He has progressed fastest among the lot, impressing under Christopher Lee 李铭顺’s tutelage in Show Hand 注定 and in Don’t Stop Believin’ 我们等你, culminating in a deserved Best Newcomer award last year. He has appeared in multiple dramas over the past year and has even netted a Best Info-Ed Programme Host nomination for 打工看世界. If my suspicions about Rebecca Lim’s “status” are right, this down-to-earth artiste should be considered a front-runner for this year’s Rocket Award. More importantly, his future in showbiz looks to burn bright.
4. Julie Tan 陈欣淇
Works: 96°C Café, Gonna Make It 小小传奇
Mediacorp’s confidence in Julie is clearly reflected this past year, as she played the lead role in 2 dramas. Her rapid rise on our TV screens are comparable to that of Rebecca Lim’s, but she hasn’t featured in the major productions, apart from A Song to Remember 星洲之夜 in end 2011. Indeed, both dramas she helmed were experimental and had no heavyweight names. Her true mettle will have to be proven in more challenging roles alongside veteran artistes. Still, her rise is almost meteoric and performances rather laudable, particularly alongside Bryan Wong 王禄江 in 小小传奇. A contender, though this award can wait till another year.
5. Bryan Wong 王禄江
Works: Behind Every Job 3 美差事, 苦差事之帮你找事做, Gonna Make It 小小传奇
All-Time Favourite Artiste. Best Actor nomination. This is a huge year for Bryan, even if he missed out on a hosting nomination. Which isn’t surprising, since he only really hosted 1 variety show. However, his turn as 刘阿满 in 小小传奇 is very well received; his emotive scenes throughout the drama were heartfelt and worthy of a veteran actor. A big compliment, considering how he is mostly recognized for his hosting abilities. Sure, he bucks the trend of young, promising stars. But many rooted for Dennis Chew 周崇庆 back in 2010 for his famous Auntie Lucy role. This is an almost comparable breakthrough, and one that may just hand Bryan this Rocket Award. Unless, of course, if he’s slated to win Best Actor. Now THAT would be huge.
Xu Bin 徐彬 – Gonna Make It 小小传奇, The Recruit Diaries 阿兵新传, Yes We Can! 我们一定行!
He needs to break the mould of a rich, well-to-do lad. His comedic turn in 阿兵新传 is a good start, but his performance in 小小传奇 was just passable in a young cast.
Aloysius Pang 洪伟衷 – I’m In Charge 小子当家, C.L.I.F. 2 警徽天职2, Served H.O.T. 烧。卖
There is still a lot to learn for this budding actor. His decent performances in 2013 were somewhat offset by a bland one in 烧。卖 early this year.
Sora Ma 马艺瑄 – Sudden 骤变, Yes We Can! 我们一定行!
Hasn’t moved forward from her previous roles in Yours Fatefully 孤男寡女 and Poetic Justice 微笑正义.
That’s all for now! I welcome shout-outs to other artistes in the comments!