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Monday, September 26, 2022

How ‘Squid Game’ made history multiple times over at the Emmys

“Squid Game” didn’t just have a big night at the Emmys. It had a historic one.

After earning 14 nominations in July, as well as prizes from the Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice Awards earlier this year, Netflix’s brutal blockbuster capped off its run Monday by becoming the first Korean series, and the first TV series not in English, to win a major Primetime Emmy Award.

The series, about a deadly game of survival in which contestants with money troubles compete for a cash prize, earned series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk the Emmy for drama series directing, “Squid Game’s” first prize of the night. He is the first Asian and first South Korean to take home the award. (Hwang, however, was bested by “Succession’s” Jesse Armstrong for the drama series writing award, and defending champion “Succession” also beat out “Squid Game” for the drama series Emmy.)

Accepting the directing award, Hwang joked that he wouldn’t have time to use his interpreter and expressed his hope that more non-English language series appear at the Emmys in future.

“Squid Game” star Lee Jung-jae also made history Monday, winning for his lead performance as Seong Gi-hun. Like the series creator, he is the first Asian and first South Korean to take home the prize.

Earlier in the night, Jung Ho-yeon lost out to “Ozark’s” Julia Garner for supporting actress, while supporting actor nominees Park Hae-soo and Oh Yeong-su were defeated by “Succession’s” Matthew Macfadyen.

Monday night’s haul added to the four Emmys “Squid Game” picked up at last weekend’s Creative Arts ceremony: special visual effects in a single episode; stunt performance; production design and guest actress Lee You-mi for her memorable performance as contestant Ji-yeong.

One of Netflix’s most-watched shows, “Squid Game” has already been greenlit for a second season, so it will have a chance to increase its Emmy take in future. Whether Monday’s honors open the door for other foreign-language series to receive Emmy love remains to be seen, though recent years have seen no shortage of acclaimed contenders, including HBO’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, “My Brilliant Friend”; Apple TV+’s lush, multilingual “Pachinko,” and the French-language Netflix hits “Call My Agent!” and “Lupin.”

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