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One of Korea’s sweetest actresses, Lee Young-Ae, casts aside her popular image to play
the enigmatic Lee Geum-ja, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance’s angel of vengeance
Lee Young-Ae’s first substantial role came in 2000, when she co-starred in Park Chanwook’s
JSA: Joint Security Area. The serene young actress brought just the right amount of selfconfidence
to her role as a Swedish army major (of Korean descent) investigating an armistice threatening
scandal on the border between North and South Korea.
But Lee achieved fame throughout all of Asia later, first when she starred in Hur Jin-ho’s
One Fine Spring Day as an attractive but selfish divorcee, in a showcase for her special charms
and quietly nuanced acting. In 2003, she starred as the cheerful and strong character Jang-geum
in the hit TV drama ‘The Jewel in the Palace’, which drew the highest audience ratings for that
year for Korean television and went on to become an international success. Lee starred as a
simple, if self-possessed young countrywoman who becomes a cook to the imperial household
during the Chosun dynasty. Cast out of the palace thanks to the machinations of a ruthless rival,
she later returns as the first woman to become the royal family’s physician.
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is thus both a challenge to Lee’s talents and to her fans’
preconceptions of her. Based on the film’s overwhelming critical and audience responses, the
challenge was well met.
- 2006 - Baeksang award, Best Actress (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance)
- 2005 - Blue Dragon film award, Best Actress (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance)
- 2005 - International Film Festival of Catalunya, Best Actress (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance)
- 2003 - MBC Drama Awards, Grand Prize
- 2001 - Pusan Film Critics Awards, Best Actress (One Fine Spring Day)
- 2001 - Korea Movie & Music Awards, Photogenic Prize for Actress
- 1999 - KBS Drama Awards, Popularity Prize
- 1998 - SBS Drama Awards, Best Actress
- 1997 - SBS Drama Awards, Best Actress
- 1996 - MBC Drama Awards, Outstanding Actress
- 1995 - KBS Drama Awards, Popularity Prize
- 1994 - SBS Drama Awards, Best New Actress
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