Squid Games looks ahead to season 2 and Emmy nominations

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Netflix

By Jana Monji, AsAmNews Arts & Culture Reporter

Netflix is making a big push to encourage Emmy voters to nominate its hit series, Squid Games (오징어 게임; Ojing-eo Geim)..

The streaming service celebrated its much-talked-about series with a small concert and the Q&A with the writer/director, cast and a few key crew members Sunday.

The same day, Netflix tweeted a 10-second teaser to announce a second season had been greenlit with a message from creator/writer/director and executive producer of the series Hwang Dong-hyuk.

“It took 12 years to bring the first season of Squid Game to life last year. But it took 12 days for Squid Game to become the most popular Netflix series ever,” Hwang wrote. 

The series of events highlighting Netflix’s Emmy Awards eligible programming, including drama series, comedy series, limited series/television movie, variety specials, variety sketch series, animated programs, reality series, hosted nonfiction series or specials and documentary series or special. The attendees are predominately industry people who vote for the Emmy Awards.

Squid Game follows a gambling addict divorced father, Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), who through a recruiter (Gong You) agrees to play a series of children’s games for a chance to win 45.6 billion won. He soon learns that losers don’t get a second chance; they are shot dead by masked guards in pink jumpsuits who are ranked by geometric codes. Gi-hun  (Player 456) forms an unsteady alliance with a childhood friend, Cho Sang-woo/Player 218 (Park Hae-soo), an older man dying from a brain tumor Oh Il-nam/Player 001 (O Yeong-su), a migrant Pakistani worker Al Abdul (Anupam Tripathi)  and a North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok/Player 067 (HoYeon Jung). The games are overseen by a Front Man (Lee Byung-hun) but they are not entirely legal. There’s a police officer Hwang Jun-ho (Wi Ha-joon) who is investigating the Squid Games, looking for his missing brother.

No spoilers here. You’ll have to watch the series on Netflix. The series has already received awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for O Yeong-su and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for Lee Jung-jae and HoYeon Jung, respectively. These three made history by becoming the first Korean actors to win in those categories. 

As attendees were being seated, a short reel of interviews and behind-the-scenes segments screened, showing different aspects of the Squid Game, including the usage of green and blue screens, showing how much special effects were used (under VFX supervisor Cheng Jai-hoon). Attendees had the opportunity to have photographs with masked guards in dark pink jumpsuits. The Squid Game composer Jung Jae-il played the piano featuring music from the series before Episode 6 Gganbu (Trusted Friend 깐부) was screened. During the Q&A, he noted that he wanted to express what it is to be both human and humane. Although he is used to scoring for feature films that need about two hours of music, this series required nine hours. That caused him to lose some sleep. Ultimately, like the production designer Chae Kyoung-sun, he wanted to capture an air of nostalgia. 

Netflix

Hwang also announced in this tweet that Gi-hun and the Frontman will return. In the Q&A panel moderated by Biola University sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen, Hwang also said, through an interpreter, “I’m not trying to top Season 1; I’m trying to make the best Season 2.” 

Hwang along with some of the actors thought that the story was uniquely South Korean, but the series was the top-viewed series in over 90 countries, with a greater reach than Bridgerton. That made them realize the universality of some of the themes of greed, desperation, sacrifice, honor and love. 

Despite the amount of violence and death in the series, ultimately the cast and crew wanted viewers to take away a sense of hope, a need to listen to others and practice kindness. Jung Jae-il said Squid Game was about “how you keep your humanity and dignity when faced with cruelty.” 

The Emmy Awards are presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (IATAS). The Primetime Emmy Awards is voted on by ATAS. The Daytime Emmy Awards are voted on by NATAS. Primetime Emmys were first awarded in 1949.

The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards honors television programming broadcast or streamed from 1 June 2021 to 31 May 2022. The ceremony is scheduled for 12 September 2022. The 74th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards precedes it and will be presented on 3-4 September 2022.

The nomination voting is from 16-27 June, 2022. Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, 12 July 2022. Nominated drama and comedy series programs (including short form comedy, drama or variety series) must submit any six eligible episodes for final-round judging. (For full rules of submission read here).

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