“Squid Game” actor Lee Jung-jae makes history at the Emmy Awards

“Squid Game” actor Lee Jung-jae made history at the Emmys on Monday night. The star took home the award for best actor in a drama, becoming the first Asian actor to take home the honor. He also was the first actor from a non-English show to win an Emmy, Netflix announced. The awards show, which was hosted by “Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson, was held at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

“Squid Game,” which takes place in Korea, premiered on Netflix in 2021. Lee played the lead character, Seong Gi-hun, also known as Player 456. After falling on financially hard times, he enters a competition with 456 contestants to win $4.56 million – the only catch is that every other contestant must die, with the sole survivor becoming the winner of the “Squid Game.” 

During his acceptance speech, Lee thanked “God above” and the Television Academy. “Thank you to Netflix and thank you to the director for making realistic problems we all face come to life so creatively on the screen with a great script and amazing visuals. Thank you,” he said. “Thank you, ‘Squid Game’ team. Thank you to everyone watching in Korea. Thank you.”

Lee You-mi, who also appeared in “Squid Game,” won the Emmy for guest actress in a drama series, becoming the first Korean actress to win in that category. She played Ji-yeon, or player Player 240, who made a selfless decision during the game. She appeared in six out of nine episodes.

Jung Ho-yeon, who played Kang Sae-byeok, another main character who befriends Gi-hun, was nominated for best supporting actress in a drama series. Park Hae-soo, whose character tries to expose the corrupt Squid Game, and Oh Yeong-su, who plays elderly contestant 001, were both nominated for best supporting actor in a drama series. 

Writer Hwang Dong-hyuk was also nominated for outstanding writing, but lost to Jesse Armstrong from “Succession.” However, Hwang did win the Emmy for his directing.

Any of the nominees from this show would’ve made history with their wins, according to Entertainment Tonight.

The show was also nominated for outstanding drama series, but lost to “Succession.”

Zendaya, who won outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her role in “Euphoria,” also made history as the first Black woman to win an Emmy for lead actress in a drama series twice. 

In 2020, Zendaya also made history by becoming the youngest ever to win the award for best actress in a drama at age 24.

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