Squid Game makes Emmy history as first non-English-language nominee

LOS ANGELES • Netflix's Squid Game became the first non-English-language drama series shortlisted for glory at the Emmys on Tuesday, as HBO's Succession topped this year's nominations, earning 25 nods for television's equivalent of the Oscars.

Netflix's most-watched series ever, Squid Game is a violent South Korean satire in which society's marginalised compete for cash in fatal versions of children's games.

It will compete for best drama at the Emmys, with creator and director Hwang Dong-hyuk nominated for best directing and writing in a drama series.

Squid Game also picked up multiple acting nominations, including best lead actor for Lee Jung-jae, best supporting actor for Oh Young-soo and best supporting actress for Jung Ho-yeon.

The groundbreaking show is hoping to follow in the footsteps of South Korean film Parasite (2019), which rocked Hollywood in 2020 by becoming the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars.

Succession, which follows a rich, powerful family vying to inherit a media empire, led the drama nominees at the Emmys, while Ted Lasso and The White Lotus topped the comedy and limited-series categories with 20 nominations each.

Two other comedies - HBO's Hacks and Hulu's Only Murders In The Building - each racked up 17 nominations for the 74th Emmy Awards, to be handed out at a glitzy ceremony in Los Angeles on Sept 12.

"With production at a historic high, the academy has received a record number of Emmy submissions this season," said Television Academy chief executive Frank Scherma.

"As we prepare for the entertainment industry's biggest night, we are thrilled to honour the innovators, creators, performers and storytellers who are propelling this platinum age of television."

In addition to Squid Game and Succession, others in the running for the best drama Emmy include Euphoria, Ozark, Better Call Saul and Stranger Things.

Succession actors Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong will compete with Squid Game's Lee for best actor in a drama series.

Euphoria star and past Emmy winner Zendaya became the youngest acting nominee to be shortlisted twice, for best actress in a drama - a category in which The Morning Show actress Jennifer Aniston lost to co-star Reese Witherspoon.

HBO - and its streaming platform HBO Max - won the network nominations battle, earning a combined 140 compared with Netflix's 105.

In the comedy categories, past winners Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso), Bill Hader (Barry) and Donald Glover (Atlanta) will battle it out for best actor, as will Jean Smart (Hacks) and Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel) for best actress.

Selena Gomez missed out on an acting nomination for Only Murders In The Building, even though her male co-stars Steve Martin and Martin Short earned nods. But she still made history as the second Latina nominated as a producer in the category.

In the limited-series categories, The White Lotus - a satirical look at hypocrisy and wealth among the visitors to a luxury Hawaii hotel - scored eight acting nominations for an ensemble cast including Jennifer Coolidge and Murray Bartlett.

Elsewhere, A-listers including Colin Firth (The Staircase), Andrew Garfield (Under The Banner Of Heaven), Oscar Isaac (Scenes From A Marriage) and Michael Keaton (Dopesick) will vie for best actor in a limited series.

But there were notable big-name omissions from the list of nominees for best actress in a limited series, including Julia Roberts (Gaslit) and Jessica Chastain (Scenes From A Marriage).

Those nominated in the category include Amanda Seyfried (The Dropout), Julia Garner (Inventing Anna) and Sarah Paulson (Impeachment: American Crime Story), among others.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2022, with the headline Squid Game makes Emmy history as first non-English-language nominee. Subscribe