‘Squid Game’ actor O Yeong-su became the first South Korean to win a Golden Globe when he bagged the award for best supporting actor in television for his role in the Netflix thriller on January 9.
O, 77, starred as the frail and aged Player 001/Oh II-nam in the global sensation ‘Squid Game’.
“After hearing the news, I told myself for the first time, ‘you’re a nice dude,’” O said in a statement released by Netflix. “It’s no longer us within the world, it’s the world within us. Embracing the scent of our culture and the love for my family, Thank all of you in the world. I wish you a beautiful life.”
O beat actors Kieran Culkin (‘Succession’), Billy Crudup (‘The Morning Show’), Brett Goldstein (‘Ted Lasso’) and Mark Duplass (‘The Morning Show’) to take the top award.
This year, the Golden Globes were not televised and was held without an audience. The lack of fanfare around the once-prestigious ceremony came after many actors, directors and studios refused to participate over criticism that its organiser, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, lacked diversity.
O’s victory is another win for South Korean media, which has witnessed a surge in interest around the world thanks to its pop music, shows and movies.
‘Squid Game’ is a nine-episode series about broke contestants who play gruesome versions of childhood games to win a large sum of money. It was a major sensation around the world and became Netflix’s biggest original series launch.
In the show, O posed as a timid old man who was also participating to win, before being revealed as a rich man orchestrating the games for the pleasure of the wealthy.
Who is O Yeong-su?
Reuters reported that O was born in 1944 in what is now a North Korean border town of Kaepung. He is regarded as one of the greatest stage actors in South Korea, appearing in more than 200 stage productions since 1963 and winning a number of major awards.
He has also played many charismatic supporting characters in film and television, including in ‘Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring’ released in 2003 by late award-winning director Kim Ki-duk.
O’s portrayals of a Buddhist monk in that 2003 movie and others won him the nickname “monk actor” and several television commercials.
He said during a TV appearance in October that he had decided to join ‘Squid Game’ out of appreciation for the director’s insight over social irregularities.
“Our society goes by as if only No. 1 survives. No. 2 lost to No. 1, but beat No. 3. After all, everybody is a winner,” he said then.
— With input from Reuters