‘Squid Game’ makes Screen Actors Guild history as first foreign-language TV nominee

Netflix’s Korean drama Squid Game has become the first foreign-language TV nominee in the history of the Screen Actors Guild Awards. That’s after it snagged a nomination on Wednesday for Outstanding Cast in a Drama Series, pitting it against Succession, Yellowstone, The Morning Show, and The Handmaid’s Tale. In addition, Squid Game also scored nominations for the Actor in a Drama Series (Lee Jung-jae), Actress in a Drama Series (Jung Ho-yeon), and Stunt Ensemble categories.

Since it premiered on Netflix in September 2021, Squid Game has surpassed the regency romance series Bridgerton as the most-watched Netflix original series in history. Besides its SAG Awards nominations, the Korean drama won three Golden Globe Awards — including Best Television Drama — at Sunday’s ceremony of sorts, with O Yeong-su (Oh Il-nam in Squid Game) walking away with a Best Supporting Actor award. Squid Game can also brag about its three Critics Choice Awards nominations and a Gotham Award win for breakthrough series.

Hwang Dong-hyuk, director of Squid Game, reacted to the nominations ecstatically. According to Variety, he said:

As the director of Squid Game, today has to be the happiest moment. I am reminded of all the days spent on first meetings with the cast, the auditions, visiting theaters to see their performances, the script readings, rehearsals and the days on set. I want to truly thank not only the cast who have been nominated today but also all of the supporting and the near-300 background talent. Squid Game would never have been what it became without the devotion and hard work of every single one of you. You deserve all the glory and credit.

When discussing her nomination, Jung Ho-yeon — who portrayed Kang Sae-byeok — also revealed via Variety:

I am truly excited for the best ensemble nomination, which has made all of our team’s time spent together on Squid Game even more valuable. Working on this series, and acting for the first time, I thought about how creating something ‘together,’ and ‘as an ensemble’ just might be the true value of our society. I feel empowered to be reminded of how ‘together’ is more precious than a solo achievement. I am truly grateful! I’m also reminded of our best stunt team, being nominated for the best stunt ensemble nomination. I send all the love and thanks to the best stunt team ever who made sure all of us were safe on the set.

These nominations demonstrate monumental progress for Korean-led entertainment content. Squid Game is the latest South Korean drama to make history at the SAG Awards over the last few years. In 2020, Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite won the SAG Award for best cast in a motion picture, becoming the first non-English-language film to win the top prize. At the 2021 SAG Awards, Minari stand-out, with Youn Yuh-jung becoming the first Korean actress to ever win the Best Supporting Actress award.

While Squid Game has yet to announce another season, the eighth episode leaves a suspenseful cliffhanger that promises more to come from the groundbreaking Korean drama series. Hwang Dong-hyuk has hinted at potential ideas to continue the story into what would be a welcome season 2.