‘Squid Game’ breaks records at SAG Awards; series stars Lee Jung-jae, Jung Ho-yeon win big

09:22 AM Feb 28, 2022 | PTI |

Los Angeles: ”Squid Game” continues to chart history at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards 2022 as the superhit Korean survival drama earned three top honours, including Outstanding Action Performance as a Stunt Ensemble, at the Sunday night ceremony.


Korean star Lee Jung-Jae won his first-ever SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and model-turned actor Jung Ho-Yeon also bagged her first award in the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series category.

Created and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, ”Squid Game” follows a group of cash-strapped and debt-ridden people who agree to take part in a mysterious contest based on Korean children games that promises the sole survivor a cash prize of 45.6 billion won (USD 37.8 million).

Lee and Jung now join fellow Korean actor Youn Yuh-jung (”Minari”) to have won a trophy at the SAG Awards, given by the actors to their fellow actors.

The hit drama was also nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, but lost out to HBO’s satirical family drama ”Succession”.


Lee, a massive star in native South Korea courtesy of K-dramas like ”Chief of Staff” and films ”Along With the Gods” series, ”The Face Reader” and ”The Housemaid”, appeared overwhelmed on his win as he accepted the award on stage and spoke with the help of an interpreter.

”Oh my, thank you so much! This is truly huge that it’s happened to me. I did write something but I don’t think I’ll get to reading it. Thank you so much SAG-AFTRA awards and thank you to the global audience for all of your love for ‘Squid Game’. And thank you ‘Squid Game’ team,” he said.

Lee, who played Seong Gi-hun aka player 456 who emerges winner by the end of the show, bested Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin and Jeremy Strong (”Succession”) and Billy Crudup (”The Morning Show”). He has previously been nominated at the Golden Globes 2022 for his performance.

For Jung, this moment was even more special as she won the trophy for her acting debut. She essayed the role of North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok (player no 067) who participates in this deadly competition to rescue her parents from across the border.

”First and foremost, thank you so much. I have sat many-a-times watching you on the big screen dreaming of one day becoming an actor. I just want to say thank you so much,” the rising star said through the interpreter.

An emotional Jung later said in English, ”Thank you (for making my) dream and opening the door for me. I love my ‘Squid Game’ crew!” Her fellow nominees in the category were Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon (”The Morning Show”), Elisabeth Moss (”The Handmaid’s Tale”) and Sarah Snook (”Succession”).

In the Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a TV series category, ”Squid Game” emerged victorious leaving ”Mare of Easttown”, ”The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” ”Loki” and ”Cobra Kai” behind.

Veteran actor O Yeong-su registered a Golden Globe win earlier this year for the show and with three wins at the SAG Awards, ”Squid Game” seems unstoppable.

The show broke records as the first Korean TV series and first foreign-language show to be nominated for SAG Awards.

It also became the trending buzzword upon its premiere on Netflix last September with the streamer claiming that it had become its ”biggest series launch” with 111 million views since debut.

On the show’s three SAG wins, Hwang said as the director of the show ”today has to be the happiest moment”.

”I am reminded of all the days spent on first meetings with the cast, the auditions, visiting theatres to see their performances, the script readings, rehearsals and the days on set.

”I want to truly thank not only the cast who have been nominated today but also all of the supporting and the near-300 background talent. ‘Squid Game’ would never have been what it became without the devotion and hard work of every single one of you. You deserve all the glory and credit,” Hwang said in a statement to E! Online.

”Squid Game” will return for a second season and a potential third chapter. In 2020, Bong Joon-ho’s acclaimed film ”Parasite” was awarded the best ensemble trophy at the SAG and went on to dominate the Academy Awards, including the honour for Best Picture.

The SAG Awards are honours given by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) to recognise outstanding performances in film and prime time television.


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