One for the record books! Squid Game swept the 2022 Screen Actors Guild Awards with wins in nearly every category it was nominated for on Sunday, February 27 — and earned a place in Hollywood history.
The Netflix series racked up a total of three statues throughout the night, scoring a trophy for Outstanding Action Performance as a Stunt Ensemble. Lee Jung-Jae brought home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series, while Jung Ho-yeon rounded out the wins with Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series.
Squid Game was also nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, which ultimately went to Succession.
The television thriller already made history back in January when it became not only the first South Korean series to ever be nominated for a SAG Award, but also the first-ever foreign-language show to score a nod.
Jung-Jae, 49, (who portrayed Player 456, Seong Gi-hun) beat out three Succession leads (Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, Jeremy Strong) and The Morning Show‘s Billy Crudup. He became the first male actor from Korea to earn an individual nomination and win. Ho-yeon, 27, (Kang Sae-byeok, Player 067) went up against huge names like Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon (both for The Morning Show), as well as Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Sarah Snook (Succession) to score her prize, making her only the second actress of Asian descent to do so.
“Since we released the show Squid Game, we have experienced many surprising events,” director Hwang Dong-hyuk told Variety on January 12, the day the SAG nominations came out. “But today’s nomination for four categories with the SAG has to be one of the most surprising, and one of the happiest moments we’ve experienced.”
The Netflix favorite — it’s the streaming service’s biggest show to date — premiered in September 2021 and quickly riveted viewers who were hooked on the survivalist premise: people brutally competing against each other in children’s games to win a life-changing amount of money — or die trying.
“I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition,” Dong-hyuk told Variety about the show in September 2021, emphasizing how important it was to him to make the players relatable — “the kind of characters we’ve all met in real life.” (He even named them after his real-world family and friends.)
In fact, the director believes that a large part of the reason Squid Game has become such a global phenomenon is because viewers are able to “connect and empathize with the plight of the characters that are portrayed in the series,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in October 2021, citing economic inequality and the pandemic as real-life examples of “people being pushed to the edge of their livelihoods.”
Squid Game has been renewed for season 2.