I had said earlier that I'm not going to do a full-fledged "predictions" post for the 2011 TVB Anniversary Awards and I'm still standing by my decision. The main reason for this is because I didn't like majority of the series that aired this year and was not impressed by most of the performances -- plus I only watched 1 series completely from beginning to end so far this year (goes to show how BAD this year's series were if I wasn't able to bring myself to sit through most of them). [As a means of clarification, when I say that I only watched 1 series completely from beginning to end, that means that I watched every single episode without distraction….the rest of the series I either didn’t finish watching, watched only a few episodes here and there, or was doing something else while watching so didn’t really pay close attention]. Therefore, it would be a waste of time for me to do a full predictions post in all categories when none of the performances really stood out.
With that said, the 'hype' this year among the general public seems to revolve around the TV King category and since that's the only category that I actually have a strong opinion on this time around, I figured it would be more appropriate for me to just write about that particular category and forfeit all the rest of them.
So far this year, here are some of the 'names' that I've seen come up the most often (in the Media as well as on discussion forums) in terms of potential candidates for TV King:
Note 1: I am just listing out names I’ve heard, regardless of whether they are truly in contention or not (some of the roles may actually be considered supporting roles – I realize that, but please keep in mind that this post is meant to be hypothetical only).
Note 2: This list is not all-inclusive by any means – there may be male artists you feel should belong on this list in addition to the ones I listed…that’s fine – if I missed anyone or you disagree with any of what I wrote, feel free to comment and state your argument.
Note 3: The numbers next to each name do not mean anything – numbering is my way of bullet-pointing in this post
List of 'potentials':
Bobby Au Yeung
Based on the above list as well as my knowledge of TVB, below is my assessment of what I think each candidate’s chances are:
1) Steven Ma
I already outlined in detail how I feel about Steven’s performance in my earlier review of “The Life and Times of a Sentinel”, so I’m not going to rehash all of that here (those interested can read the review at this link). As I stated in my review, Steven is definitely my number one choice for TV King this year, as his performance was truly phenomenal in my opinion (though some can argue that he’s just doing what he does best – either way, doesn’t matter to me – he still turned in the best performance so far in my opinion). So far, Steven has been the only one to move me emotionally with his performance this year. Of course, we all know that Steven’s chances of getting the award this year is pretty much ZERO given that whole fiasco with Virginia Lok a few months back and the early contract termination issue (plus add to that the fact that TVB traditionally frowns upon artists who are ‘disobedient’ and ‘vocal’ – two “sore spots” that, in TVB’s eyes, Steven has been ‘guilty’ of pressing recently). Even though he is the most deserving of the bunch and my vote goes to him for sure, I have pretty much resigned myself to the reality that he will once again be denied the award (unless by some miracle, Mona Fong intervenes and orders for justice to be done – not likely though). Nonetheless, I will continue to support him all the way!
2) Roger Kwok
Roger is actually my second choice for TV King this year, as his performance in “Wax & Wane” was truly awesome (despite the series itself being hugely mediocre). In fact, he was pretty much the only ‘saving grace’ to that series (in my opinion anyways) – if it weren’t for his steady performance, I doubt too many people would have bothered watching. Unfortunately though, his chances of getting the award this year is pretty much zero as well – for obvious reasons. First, with TVB’s focus on promoting their favorites the past few years, a lot of the veterans have pretty much been thrown by the wayside – Roger is already an established actor plus he already received the award twice, so from TVB’s perspective, how important is it to give him the award again? Plus in recent years, Roger has shifted his career to the Mainland and pretty much only films one series per year for TVB nowadays – so with a lot less exposure in the HK market (which translates to less audience exposure) and the fact that Roger will still work for TVB (when he’s in HK that is) irregardless of what happens, there’s really no incentive for TVB to give him the award. I actually don’t even think that Roger will get into Top 5 for that matter (remember that when it comes to awards, TVB is all about the politics, not about who is deserving or who is not). Regardless, I still feel that he turned in one of the best performances so far this year!
3) Bowie Lam
Bowie only has 1 series in contention this year – “River of Wine” – which just finished airing a week or so ago. Though he turned in a solid performance, the series overall was not well-received, as many people considered the cast ‘weak’ and also the storyline was way too draggy. Irregardless of what people thought of the series though, TVB is still not going to give him the award anyway because 1) he already left the company in May, and 2) he could care less about that particular award, since he already won the ‘Asia TV King’ award and that is WAY more prestigious than a stupid old TVB award. Also, it has already been made known (loud and clear in fact) that Bowie definitely has options – in Mainland China as well as other parts of Asia…so in comparisons, TVB is ‘small potatoes’ to him. There’s no point for TVB to give him the award because they are not going to get any return for their investment (except maybe his participation in the “War and Beauty” sequel next year – but if the schedule works out, he will probably still participate anyway regardless of the award).
** As a side note: I find it laughable that certain gossip mags placed Bowie in Top 5 contention for the TV King award based on his performance in “Heaven and Earth” (yes, I literally laughed out loud) – um, unless they got some sort of sneak preview that the rest of us audiences weren’t privvy to (which I doubt), there is no basis whatsoever for that ‘prediction’. I mean, come on now – that series isn’t even scheduled to air until mid to late November – which means that it’s not even going to finish in time for the awards ceremony! Besides, it makes no sense whatsoever to nominate someone for top 5 contention in an award category based on how they WILL perform in a series that no one has seen yet rather than how they ALREADY performed in a series that everyone has seen. All the more reason why people shouldn’t take what the gossip mags write seriously!
4) Bobby Au Yeung
Ah, dear ole Bobby – gotta love the guy (I certainly do..LOL)! He only has 1 series in contention this year (“Men with No Shadows”), but unfortunately, that series did not do too well in the ratings category. I actually see Bobby’s situation as similar to Roger’s in that there is no need to give him any awards because he’s pretty much already past that point in his career. Besides, he has a certain loyalty to TVB and has already said that he will make time in his schedule to film 1 series per year for them regardless of what happens – so then from TVB’s perspective, there is no need to reward him. For me, I’m at the point where I don’t care if TVB gives him an award or not because he already received the award a long time ago and it’s not like it’s going to change his status in our (audience’s) hearts anyway. Sort of off-topic, but I just wish that TVB would stop “using” him to promote their own biological sons and daughters….is that too much to ask?
5) Sunny Chan
I’ve ranted about Sunny so much over the past 7 to 8 years, I’m starting to sound like a broken record! I’ve always liked Sunny (ever since the 90s) and he is definitely a great actor, but unfortunately, TVB hasn’t treated him too well all these years. It’s interesting that he actually has the most series on the air this year amongst the veteran first line male leads (“Wax and Wane”, “River of Wine”, “Curse of the Royal Harem”, cameo role in “The Life and Times of a Sentinel”), but yet he has the least chance of even making it to Top 5 (forget about winning)! Maybe he’s just unlucky or TVB just hates his guts – whatever the reason, he’s gotten very few ‘decent’ roles this past decade, as most of the roles were mostly forgettable ones in forgettable series (for example: the series "The Wintermelon Tale" -- I mean, really? TVB put him in THAT ridiculous series?). Also, a lot of his series that he did in the past 7-8 years had been warehoused (for example: “Strike At Heart”, “The Slicing of the Demon”, “Phoenix Rising”, “The Greatness of a Hero”, etc. “The Wintermelon Tale” was warehoused for 1 year before it aired). He's had the most series warehoused out of all the artists -- to the point that he's dubbed "Warehouse King" by some insiders). Since his return, I have not seen a single breakthrough role for him (and he had plenty of them in the 90s)....plus I don't see him getting promoted either (despite being a skilled actor). Oh, and he is currently a TVB managed artist, but obviously to TVB, he's less important than the others that they are promoting right now...In any case, I feel sorry for him because I know that he is pretty much going to stay at TVB forever now (he wants to remain in HK to take care of his wife and son and has no interest in re-locating), which means that he is going to continue to get crappy roles and waste all that talent of his. Such a shame!
6) Wayne Lai
I love Wayne and with his awesome acting skills, I’m confident he will deliver a great performance as he always does (after all, he’s known for being consistent and meticulous with his acting and so far, based on all the series that I’ve watched of his, I’ve never been disappointed). BUT, since “Forensic Heroes 3” just started airing yesterday, it’s still too early to tell whether his performance in the series will be ‘award-worthy’ (though I have no doubt that he will do a good job). Without commenting specifically on his performance in FH3 as of yet, l actually think that Wayne’s chances of pulling a ‘three-peat’ victory are extremely slim….now don’t get me wrong – the reason I think this way has nothing to do with his acting or even the series that he will be competing with…I’m basing it purely on the fact that he has already won 2 years in a row (the first year because he had tremendous audience support so they HAD to give it to him and the second year because he was the ‘safest’ choice given the ‘playing field’ at that time)….this year, the dynamics are a bit different -- because of all the negative publicity that TVB has been getting, there’s more incentive for them to use the awards as a political tool to further their agenda (plus the past 3 years or so, they’ve pretty much treated Wayne as a ‘cash cow’ anyway – as long as he continues to remain popular with audiences and business sponsors, then they will continue to benefit, so it’s not like it’s absolutely necessary to give him the award). Of course, if by chance Wayne does end up getting the award, I am totally fine with it (because the way I see it, TVB is making up for neglecting him for 20 years) – but I highly doubt it will happen.
7) Bosco Wong
One advantage that Bosco has is that all of his performances this year (as Bai Co in “Lives of Omission” and also his earlier performances in “Grace Under Fire” and “7 Days in Life”) were pretty well-received by audiences – in fact, some people even feel that his performance in LOO overshadowed primary lead Michael Tse. With that said though, Bosco is also the most ‘junior’ among the field of candidates and technically, he isn’t even considered a ‘first line’ siu sang yet – I honestly don’t think that it will sit well with people if he is given the award when there are others at a higher level than him in contention (TVB may be stupid, but not THAT stupid!). By the looks of things (i.e. a lot of the first line siu sangs leaving and TVB’s supposed focus on promoting the 2nd line to first line in the coming year, plus the fact that he is a biological son who is on the ‘favored’ list), Bosco will have a lot of opportunities in the coming year, so he still has time to refine his acting and gain more experience….there’s definitely no rush to give him the award right now.
8) Raymond Lam
Every year, TVB tries to push Raymond up onto the TV King throne and every year, it doesn’t work (that strategy is starting to get old now and TVB should seriously consider giving up on it! ). And honestly, this year, it’s not going to work either, considering both of his series (“Sister of Eternal Flower” and “Men with No Shadows”) pretty much tanked (in terms of ratings and word of mouth). Also, despite what people may say, the negative publicity he’s gotten this year with all those relationship issues (and the whole bed photos mess) truly did impact his image and reputation, which indirectly affected his chances. Of course, TVB could still give him the award if they wanted to, but I don’t think it would go over well because 1) the favoritism would be too obvious, especially if TVB is supposedly using the ratings of the series as a benchmark for the award – it’s too hard for them to justify why they would give him the award when his series flopped, and 2) it would create too much controversy due to the ‘Virginia Lok’ factor (I’m sure you all know what I mean) – VL has been ‘in the news’ a lot lately and not for ‘good’ reasons either…given all the bad press that she’s been getting (plus Raymond’s), it’s probably not a wise idea for TVB to pile even more controversy on top of that!
9) Michael Tse
I will be upfront right now -- Michael Tse isn’t even on my list of potential ‘contenders’ for TV King because, frankly speaking, he ISN’T WORTHY!! His acting is ‘mediocre’ at best and the only reason why he’s so ‘popular’ right now is because of the Laughing Gor persona – it’s unfortunate that he let the whole Laughing Gor thing get to his head and as a result, has been acting all arrogant and cocky. He’s definitely NOT lead actor material (um, yea, let’s see him carry an entire series by himself, without any help from anyone!) and his acting isn’t even that great, yet he has the audacity to go around thinking that he is the ‘next best thing since sliced bread’!! (yea, right – in your dreams, dude!). Anyway, I highly doubt that TVB is going to give him the award (even if they considered it previously), especially after how poorly he handled the Steven Ma situation – a lot of audiences have a bad impression of him now (the number one comment I’ve been hearing on forums is: “I don’t care who gets the award, as long as it’s not Michael Tse!”). TVB is in a precarious position right now (given everything that has happened to them the past year or so) and I doubt that they can afford to take on the type of ‘backlash’ (similar to what they got back in 2006) that will inevitably come if they give the award to an undeserving jerk like MT.
10) Moses Chan
What are Moses’ chances of being crowned TV King for the 2nd time? Well, to be honest, it’s really hard to say…I personally couldn’t stand him in “Yes Sir, Sorry Sir” (in fact, I couldn’t stand that series PERIOD), but he IS a somewhat ‘safe’ choice because 1) he’s a biological son, 2) he’s gotten the award before, so that does put him up a notch over others who never got that recognition, and 3) though his acting in recent years hasn’t been good, it hasn’t been horrible either (generally speaking). I used to have a certain appreciation for Moses’ acting when he first started, but after so many years of watching one OTT (over the top) performance after another, it has started to become annoying to the point of boring. I don’t know how I’ll feel if he gets crowned TV King again – I guess it’s one of those ‘better him than MT’ situations for me. Realistically speaking though – unless TVB really has no other choice, I doubt that they will give him the award again (at least not this year).
11) Kevin Cheng
Very honestly speaking, I think that Kevin actually has a very good chance at the award this year (I know what you’re thinking.…I can’t believe I’m saying this either, but to be fair, I do have to give credit where it’s due). His acting definitely improved a lot in “Ghetto Justice” (and he wasn’t too bad in “Only You” either) and the ‘Law Ba’ role was a breakthrough for him – plus the feedback from the general public for his performance in that series has been overwhelmingly positive. Also, don’t forget that his popularity has soared in recent months due to his latest Mainland series "Bu Bu Jing Xin" (with Nicky Wu, Damian Lau, etc.) being a HUGE hit over there – he actually received much acclaim for his portrayal of the 8th Prince (I have yet to watch the series, so not going to pass judgement on the validity of those praises) – to the point that he now officially has a fan club with thousands of fans in the Mainland. True, it can be argued that the Mainland series shouldn’t have anything to do with the TV King award, but the point I’m trying to make is that the stars could potentially be aligned for it to be Kevin’s year this year. For the record, I am known for being ANTI-Kevin Cheng and to some extent, I still am (and yes I'm still adamant that TVB made a really BAD BS decision by giving him the award back in 2006 when he wasn't anywhere near deserving of it), but even I have to admit that his acting has improved in the past year or so. (And just to be very clear for people who may misunderstand….no, I'm not ‘suddenly changing course’ -- I'm merely giving an honest assessment of who I feel has the best chance based on how things look so far this year).
With the above, I tried as best I could to give an honest assessment and analysis of some of the actors who were mentioned at some point this year as a ‘possible candidate’ for TV King. Of course, with more than a month left until the awards show, pretty much anything can happen at this point.
One point that I do want to emphasize is that I pretty much stopped caring about the awards years ago – therefore, no matter who wins TV King this year, I probably won’t have any reaction to it from an emotional standpoint (that is, unless Steven wins….)