Text: Joanna Goh
Photos: December Liow
Video: Teng Siew Eng

Rebecca Lim

It's time of the year again for the annual Star Awards ceremony, the biggest and glitziest entertainment awards show in Singapore where local stars are pit against one another in terms of popularity and size of fan bases. Think of it like a year-end report card in school, acting school that is, where artistes are being "graded" and "ranked" for the hard work and acting projects over the past year.

This year's Top 40 Most Popular Female and Male artistes, which was unveiled at a press conference held at the Marina Bay Sands yesterday, showed minor changes in the nomination list: Rayson Tan, Aileen Tan, Kate Pang and Rebecca Lim are now in the race to be in the Top 20, while Shaun Chen, Tay Ping Hui, Eelyn Kok, Lin Mei Jiao, Tiffany Leong and Quan Yi Fong are out of the game this year.

Unlike previous years' practice where results are collated from 50% telepoll voting and 50% survey results, to shake things up a little this year, the Top 20 Most Popular Artistes category's results will consist of 50% telepoll voting and 50% online voting. Yes, that means younger fans with no income or deep pockets can now let their fingers -- and not wallets -- do the talking and voting.

Nominated for the first-time since she entered showbiz, Unriddle 2 actress Rebecca Lim shared her surprise and elation in a phone interview with xinmsn.

"As an actress, you would want people to appreciate your acting skills, but popularity is also something that every artiste needs - to survive in the industry. It's been awhile since I joined MediaCorp and I'm actually really very happy with this nomination," she gleefully chirped, still bubbling with excitement.

Chen Liping and Rebecca Lim in Unriddle 2

While she reckons that chances of nailing a spot in the top 10 category remains slim-to-none, the actress says that there's "something more to look forward to" for this year's award ceremony -- and it's not just about it being her first nomination.

Rebecca quipped, "I feel that being nominated is not only for myself; even my hairstylist, Dexter, and makeup artiste, every year they put in efforts and help style me even though I'm not nominated. Now, I finally feel like I'm not wasting their time (chuckles)."

"I didn't expect this nomination at all. I didn't have much exposure last year and my meatiest role in Prosperity, was very unlikable as well," said the 26-year-old as she gave her take on her chances of winning, "I don't really like to hope for too much so I'll just take it as it comes (laughs)."

Fellow first-time nominee Kate Pang, who is also in the running for Best Newcomer and Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in On The Fringe, was surprised at her nominations and felt that her hard work over the past year has finally paid off.

"I was working non-stop and had no time to reflect on my own performance. The upcoming Star Awards will be a good time for me to rate myself," she added.

While some relished in the joy of their first-time nomination, Shaun Chen, whose heartland drama series Love Thy Neighbour, fared well amongst viewers last year, admitted to feeling a small tinge of disappointment at his no-nomination in both the Top 40 and acting categories.

After working in a couple of Malaysia-based productions, the 33-year-old felt that his absence here might have affected his chances of securing a nomination. He hopes to focus on work in Singapore this year and said in a long-distance phone interview with xinmsn, "I'm not going to be very particular about it [which country he'll be working in] as both markets are equally important to me."

For those not in the know, Ping Hui is officially out of the rat race this year and will join the ranks of Xiang Yun, Zoe Tay, Chris Lee, Fann Wong and Mark Lee on the All-Time Favourite Artiste pedestal, as he collected his tenth Most Popular Male Artiste trophy last year.

Find out which of your favourite actors and actresses are in the running at this year's awards ceremony.

Catch Star Awards 2012 Show 1 LIVE on Ch8, Sun 22 April, 7pm.
Catch Star Awards 2012 Show 2 LIVE on Ch8, Sun 29 April, 7pm.
Catch Star Awards Post Show Party LIVE on ChU, Sun 29 April, 10pm.

For more information on Star Awards 2012, check out the official site here.
Vote for your Top 10 Most Popular Artistes here!

Watch this video to find out what these Top 40 nominees have to say!