SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s Lee Jung-jae and Jung Ho-yeon have won best male actor and female actor in the TV drama category at the U.S. Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards for their roles in the survival Netflix drama “Squid Game.”
At the televised ceremony of the 2022 SAG Awards on Sunday (U.S. time), Lee was named the winner of Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series, beating Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin and Jeremy Strong of “Succession,” and Billy Crudup of “The Morning Show.”
Jung also brought home the prize of Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series over Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon of “The Morning Show,” Elisabeth Moss of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Sarah Snook of “Succession.”
They together became the second Korean actors ever to have won at the SAG Awards given by Hollywood actors, following Youn Yuh-jung last year.
And it is the first time that a non-English speaking performer has won SAG’s acting awards.
“Squid Game” was also awarded Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a TV series. It outdid “Cobra Kai,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Loki” and “Mare of Easttown.”
“It’s truly huge that’s happened to me. I did write something, but I didn’t think I was gonna get to read it,” he said in an acceptance speech. “Thank you so much to SAG for the award, and thank you to the global audience for all of your love.”
In the Netflix Korean original, Lee took the role of Gi-hoon, a down-on-his-luck middle-aged man drawn to a mysterious competition of traditional Korean kids’ games that will reward the only survivor with 45.6 billion won (US$37.8 million) in prize money.
Lee has been nominated for several U.S. TV awards, including the Gotham Awards and the Golden Globes, over the past few months for the show, but it is the first time that Lee actually took a trophy.
Jung said in an acceptance speech she had dreamed of becoming an actor while watching Hollywood movies.
In “Squid Game,” she played North Korean defector Sae-byeok who participates in the deadly game to earn prize money in order to rescue her parents across the North Korean border and buy a house for her family.
“Thank you for making me dream and opening the door for me,” she said. “And I love you my ‘Squid Game’ crew and director Hwang Dong-hyuk!”
“Squid Game” was also nominated for the highest prize of Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series but failed to win it. “Succession” took home the honor.
In 2020, on the film’s side, Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning sensation “Parasite” was awarded the best ensemble trophy and cruised to the Academy Awards, in which the film swept four Oscars, including Best Picture.
Directed and written by Hwang Dong-hyuk, the nine-part series became the most successful TV show in Netflix history with more than 1.65 billion hours of viewing in the first four weeks after its release on Sept. 17.
Later in the day, President Moon Jae-in congratulated the two actors, calling the awards an honor not only for the “Squid Game” team but also the Republic of Korea.
“‘Squid Game’ represents a new type of drama, as it deals with various states of the human mind using our traditional games as its subject matter and resonated with people around the world with its deep social consciousness,” Moon said in a social media post.
“In particular, the actors’ great performances added shine to the movie,” he added.