‘Squid Game’ Makes Emmys History As First-Ever Non-English Drama Series Nominee
Netflix’s “Squid Game” continues to make history. The brutal South Korean drama about class, power, wealth and kiddie games has just landed an Emmy nomination for outstanding drama — making it the first-ever non-English language show to receive a series nod by the Television Academy. “Squid Game” earned a total of 14 Emmy nominations, including Lee Jung-jae for lead actor, Jung Ho-yeon for supporting actress, Park Hae-soo and Oh Yeong-su for supporting actor and Lee You-mi for guest actress.
Until this year, non-English projects have never won — or have even been nominated in — a major category at the SAG Awards, Golden Globes or the Primetime Emmys. But that has changed this year, as “Squid Game” already has been nominated at the SAG Awards for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series and by the Globes for best drama.
Hwang Dong-hyuk created the series for Netflix; the first season starred Lee Jung-jae (who plays Gi-hun), Park Hae-soo (Sang-woo) and Jung Ho-yeon (Sae-byeok).
And in the win column, the show received SAG Awards honors for male actor (Lee) and female actor (Jung). Lee also won the Independent Spirit Award for male performance in a new scripted series, and drama actor at the Critics Choice Awards. (Additionally, O Yeong-su won at this year’s untelevised Golden Globes for supporting actor in a drama.)
Other wins have included breakthrough series (long form) at the Gotham Awards, as well as “bingeworthy show of the year” at the People’s Choice Awards, and best actor (Lee) and best foreign language series at the Critics Choice Awards. Next up, “Squid Game” is nominated for program of the year, outstanding achievement in drama and individual achievement in drama (Lee) for the Television Critics Association awards, which will be announced next month.
In almost every instance, “Squid Game” has made history. For the Globes, O was the first Korean-born actor to win the award.
“Squid Game” dominated the fall TV conversation, leading Netflix’s Top 10 chart in the U.S. for 24 days and hitting No. 1 in 94 territories. According to the streamer, the show attracted 1.65 billion hours of viewing in the first 28 days after its Sept. 17 premiere.
Hwang is now at work on Season 2 of “Squid Game”; he recently told Variety’s Kate Aurthur that the show’s Season 1 ending allowed for a continuation: “There are very small loose knots throughout the first season, so to speak, things that I didn’t conclude, and put in little rooms for further expansion.”
Hwang also confirmed that Lee will be back, as will Lee Byung-hun, who plays the sinister Front Man who oversees the games.
Meanwhile, the “Squid Game” franchise has also expanded to the reality competition “Squid Game: The Challenge,” which the streamer announced last month as “the biggest reality competition series ever.” In the series, just like on the drama, 456 players will compete in a series of games — in this case, for the chance at winning $4.56 million.