Squid Game star O Yeong-su becomes first South Korean actor to win Golden Globe

South Korean actor O Yeong-su won the country’s first Golden Globe on Sunday for his role in the hit Netflix Squid game, garnering cheers at home and abroad despite criticism from ceremony organizers about the lack of diversity.

O, 77, won the award for Best Supporting TV Actor for his portrayal of Oh II-nam, also known as Player 001, becoming the first South Korean to win a Golden Globe.

He beat better-known contestants including Billy Crudup and Kieran Culkin, who were nominated for their performances in The morning show and Succession.

This year’s ceremony was held privately without the usual glitzy fanfare after many actors, directors and movie studios refused to attend amid criticism that its organizer, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, was lacking in support. decent ethical and ethnic diversity policies.

“After hearing the news, I said to myself for the first time ‘you’re a nice guy,’ O said in a statement released by Netflix.

“It is no longer us in the world, it is the world in us. Embracing the scent of our culture and love for my family, thank you to all of you in the world. I wish you a good life.”

Tige Charity presents the Golden Globe to O for Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series, or TV Movie on Sunday in Beverly Hills, California. (Emma McIntyre / Getty Images for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association)

Warning: Squid Game spoilers below

O’s feat came after Youn Yuh-jung won last year’s Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, the first South Korean to win an Oscar, for her role in To menace, a heartfelt story of a Korean immigrant.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in praised O and the drama team, saying Squid game gave hope to humanity despite its grim representation of society.

Squid game, in which cash-strapped competitors play life-threatening childhood games with the goal of winning 45.6 billion won (US $ 38.1 million), has become a global sensation and the largest Netflix original series launch.

In the nine-part show, O posed as a frail and harmless old man, before finally revealing his true identity as the sinister orchestrator of the games.

The dystopian drama has inspired countless real-world recreations and social media memes in South Korea, including its use of the term “kkanbu,” which roughly translates to “friend,” propelling his popularity as a “grandpa kkanbu “hippie.

An award-winning theater actor

Born in 1944 in what is now a North Korean border town of Kaepung, O is considered one of South Korea’s greatest stage actors, appearing in over 200 theater productions since 1963 and winning multiple awards. important.

He has also played many charismatic supporting characters in film and television, most notably in Spring, summer, fall, winter … and spring released in 2003 by the late award-winning director Kim Ki-duk.

O’s portrayals of a Buddhist monk in this 2003 film and others have earned him the nickname “actor monk” and several television commercials.

He said during a television appearance in October that he had decided to join Squid game out of appreciation for director Hwang Dong-hyuk’s insight into social irregularities.

“Our company is going as if only No.1 survives. No.2 lost to No.1, but beat No.3. After all, everyone is a winner,” O told the era.

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