The reign of Squid Game is not over yet! The hit Netflix series made a splash yet again at the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG), where lead actor Lee Jung-jae bagged the coveted award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Seong Gi-hun.
“Oh my, thank you so much! This is [something] truly huge that has happened to me,” Lee exclaimed through a translator as he accepted his award onstage. “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,” he continued. “And thank you Squid Game team.”
The 49-year-old South Korean actor beat out notable contenders for the category, namely Billy Crudup from The Morning Show, and Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, and Kieran Culkin from Succession. The feat marks the first time a male actor from Asia and South Korea has won the award, making for another glorious moment for South Korean media, which has enjoyed immense attention this year for titles like Squid Game, Hellbound, Single’s Inferno, and All of Us Are Dead.
In the series, Lee played Gi-hun, a down-on-luck gambling addict who joins the mysterious games in order to pay off a number of debts and prove that he is financially capable of caring for his daughter. There, he encounters other cash-strapped players and soon realizes that the games are a do-or-die event.
The success of the survival series catapulted the cast into international fame, with the show and its actors going on to receive a number of accolades, like Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series at the same SAG Awards, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role on Television at the Golden Globes, and Bingeworthy Show of 2021 at the People’s Choice Awards.
Although Lee has been part of a number of famous Korean productions over the years, he felt that there was something quite special about Squid Game.
“On the first day when we were shooting red light, green light, I saw the gigantic Young-hee robot and 456 people in green sweats running for their lives, and I suddenly got the feeling that it was going to be very big,” he told People magazine. “So I went and told [creator Hwang Dong-hyuk] and the crew, ‘I think this is going to be really popular. You should make a theme park right now, you should make sure that that robot’s there, and people could play the six games that are in this show.’ “
Fans of Squid Game can rest assured because the show is slated to come back on Netflix. While there is no official release date, season two has officially been confirmed!
Art Macky Arquilla