Awardist Cover featuring "Squid Game" actors Jung Ho-Yeon and Lee Jung-Jae

Squid Game gets the Emmys green light, who's going for multiple gold, and more in EW's The Awardist

Squid Game stars Lee Jung-Jae and Jung Ho-yeon and series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk reflect on the show's record-breaking first season, why worldwide audiences couldn't get enough, and how their director intentionally gave different treatment to the actors. Plus: we lament one of this year's unfortunate snubs, take a look at the many contenders nominated in multiple categories, look back on one of last year's memorable speeches, and more.

Squid Game takes audiences and Emmys by storm

Netflix's hit Korean show became a global phenomenon practically overnight, going on to make history as the first foreign language series to be nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. With the drama poised to make a killer sweep after garnering 14 total nominations, director Hwang Dong-hyuk and stars Lee Jung-jae and Jung Ho-yeon are ready to win their next game: the 2022 Emmy Awards. By Sydney Bucksbaum

Cover illustration by Ryan Melgar

Squid Game S1 Lee Jung-jae, Jung Ho-yeon
Lee Jung-jae and Jung Ho-yeon on 'Squid Game'
| Credit: Noh Juhan/Netflix

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations on making Emmys history — how did you find out about all your nominations?

HWANG DONG-HYUK: I was actually working on the script for the second season and I logged on to watch the nominations in real-time. I was looking forward to it but when I got online, I became nervous. I got worried about maybe us not making it, but we were truly excited to see so many names of our actors and members of the staff being nominated. And I was particularly elated about the fact that [Park] Hae-soo, for the first time, is now nominated for best supporting actor.

JUNG HO-YEON: I was glad to find out that Director Hwang got nominated, as he deserved it. He should have been nominated before, [for] lots of things.

HWANG: Thank you.

LEE JUNG-JAE: I was very happy to see that Squid Game was nominated for so many categories. And like director Hwang said, I was especially happy to see Hae-soo getting recognized, finally. We've been to many awards [shows] and I had looked forward to Hae-soo being nominated, but it never actually happened, so we were extremely excited to see that finally happen at the Emmys. I really look forward to all the time we're going to be spending together in LA. I truly hope that it's going to be a meaningful and enjoyable moment that we can all remember.

Why do you think Squid Game is the first non-English series to get nominated for best drama?

HWANG: It's probably because it is the most watched Netflix series ever. I think the secret lies in that we dealt with a subject matter that transcends culture, language, nationalities: the theme being the poor risking their lives to take part in this huge game that was designed and built by the rich. 

Hwang, when you were developing this show, what was your hope for the impact it would have on American pop culture?

HWANG: I have to say, I didn't expect it to be this great of a success. However, I did have hope, and my goal was to create a series that could be at the top of the Netflix top 10 list. I wanted to focus on creating a story that would reach and resonate with as many people as possible, not just only the Korean audiences. I hoped that Western and global audiences would relate to the story and the visuals as well, including the masks, the costumes, the set design, and also, of course, the games. I hoped that they would not be too difficult to understand, that they would be easily accepted and also be seen as something very original and refreshing. 

Series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk on the set of 'Squid Game'
Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk on the set of 'Squid Game'
| Credit: Noh Juhan/Netflix

What was it like working with director Hwang throughout the season? 

JUNG: Director Hwang is not really the overly explaining type. He tends to suggest or allude in terms of his directions and I really appreciated that. Despite [Hwang] having so much experience —and especially working with a novice actor like me — he really made it a true collaboration in that sense.

LEE: [Laughs] I have to say, my experience was a little bit different from Ho-yeun's. I was not given as much freedom. I think it's because Gi-hun is at the center of the narrative, so it had to be more detailed and more intricately planned out, because all of the story structure is so concrete and very intricate. Any little difference, anything that's a little off in the beginning of the story may lead to confusion later on, which is why I believe the director had to be a little bit more detailed and concrete when it came to his directions regarding how we were going to portray Gi-hun, because it had to go according to the plan. And I wanted to really be in line with his vision.

What has surprised you about how people have responded to the show?

HWANG: This was quite funny: In episode 2, there's a scene where Sang-woo is inside a tub and he's actually attempting suicide with a charcoal briquette, but because that's not something you see often in other parts of the world, I noticed that they didn't understand that he was trying to take his own life. Some people were saying, "Why is he taking a bath in his suit?" 

Has seeing how people from other cultures may not immediately understand moments like that affected how you're developing season 2?

HWANG: The basic approach is that, and this is also the case for season 1 as well, I want to make something that is understandable to and resonates with people anywhere around the world. There are still going to be some cultural codes where a little misunderstanding is inevitable, but I will not be focusing on anything that is too culturally unique to Korea.

Listen to the full Awardist podcast interview here:


The Snub That Hurts: Renée Zellweger and The Thing About Pam

THE THING ABOUT PAM -- "She's a Good Friend" Episode 101 -- Pictured: Renée Zellweger as Pam Hupp -- (Photo by: Skip Bolen/NBC)
Renée Zellweger in 'The Thing About Pam'
| Credit: Skip Bolen/NBC

Television really went overboard with the inspired-by-a-true-story genre this season — and not in a good way. Far too many of the 17 (!) true-life series in contention for Emmys this year were humorless exercises in prestige casting and ostentatious prosthetics, with nary a point of view to be found.  

But The Thing About Pam was different. From its length (six brisk episodes!) to its platform (NBC, an actual broadcast network!) to its tone (gallows humor mixed with camp and lurid drama!), Pam eschewed the idea that all true-life adaptations are required to keep a straight face — even those dealing with a hideous murder.

Renée Zellweger stars as Pam Hupp, a stay-at-home-mom and amateur house flipper in Missouri who's now serving a life sentence for murder and awaiting trial for another. Even before her best friend, Betsy Faria (Katy Mixon), was found stabbed to death on the floor of her home, people had plenty of reasons to avoid Pam Hupp — she was pushy, manipulative, attention-seeking, and brutally self-interested.

Lots of A-listers starred in true-life adaptations this year, but none embraced their character's intense unlikability like Zellweger. Swallowed by a puffy fat suit and squawking out her dialogue in a piercing Midwestern whine, Zellweger-as-Pam simply oozes narcissistic condescension. The show doesn't scramble to find some glimmer of humanity in Pam Hupp, nor does it undercut the brutality of her actions with facile "hurt people hurt people" explanations about why she did what she did.

THE THING ABOUT PAM -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Renée Zellweger as Pam Hupp, Judy Greer as Leah Askey, Josh Duhamel as Joel Schwartz, Katy Mixon as Betsy Faria, Glenn Fleshler as Russ Faria — (Photo by: Frank Ockenfels 3/NBC)
'The Thing About Pam' stars Renée Zellweger, Judy Greer, and Josh Duhamel
| Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/NBC

As Pam herself might say, the series' Emmy snub is a big old bummer. And I'm equally steamed about the lack of nominations for Zellweger and her excellent costars, including Josh Duhamel (as the lawyer who helps bring Pam down) and Judy Greer (as an ambitious prosecutor who puts the wrong man in prison). But here's The Thing About Pam — it's streaming in full on Peacock and Hulu. Give it a watch and see what true-crime drama can truly be. —Kristen Baldwin


Double (and triple, and quadruple) the pleasure

Julia Garner Ozark Netflix; Euphoria Zendaya, Hunter Schafer; Barry Season 3 Bill Hader CR: HBO; MAKING IT -- "Shed Hack" Episode 308 -- Pictured: (l-r) Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBC); SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Jerrod Carmichael, Gunna Episode 1821 -- Pictured: Host Jerrod Carmichael during the monologue on Saturday, April 2, 2022 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images); ABBOTT ELEMENTARY - “Desking” – When the students start participating in a new online trend that causes disruption to the school, the teachers band together to put an end to it. Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson provides comforting life advice to Gregory; and later, the teachers finally meet Jacob’s boyfriend, Zach, who joins in to help stop the students “desking,” when “Abbott Elementary” airs TUESDAY, MARCH 29 (9:00-9:30 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Christopher Willard) QUINTA BRUNSON; Photograph by Eddy Chen/HBO Sydney Sweeney HBO Euphoria Season 2 - Episode 7
Credit: (L-R) Netflix; Eddy Chen/HBO; HBO; Evans Vestal Ward/NBC; NBCU Photo Bank/Getty; Christopher Willard/ABC; Eddy Chen/HBO

Every year there's a batch of contenders who snag more than one Emmy nomination, some for wearing different hats on the same series, some for work across various shows. This year is no different, with no less than a dozen earning multiple nods. Here's a sampling of this year's over-achievers (alphabetically):

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Ozark
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, Ozark

Outstanding Comedy Series, Abbott Elementary
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Abbott Elementary
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Abbott Elementary

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program, Nailed It
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special, Nicole Byer: BBW (Big Beautiful Weirdo)

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, Saturday Night Live
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special, Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Ozark
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, Inventing Anna

Outstanding Comedy Series, Barry
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Barry
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Barry
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, Barry
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, Curb Your Enthusiasm

Outstanding Comedy Series, Only Murders in the Building
Outstanding Lead Actor for a Comedy Series, Only Murders in the Building
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Only Murders in the Building

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program, Making It
Outstanding Director for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program, Lucy and Desi

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Better Call Saul
Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series, Cooper's Bar

Outstanding Drama Series, Severance
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, Severance

Outstanding Comedy Series, Ted Lasso
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Ted Lasso

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Euphoria
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, The White Lotus

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance, Central Park
Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, Ted Lasso
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, Succession

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Euphoria
Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, Euphoria (Song Title: "Elliot's Song")
Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, Euphoria (Song Title: "I'm Tired")

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Emmy Flashback

Hannah Waddingham from 'Ted Lasso' appears at the 73rd Emmy Awards
Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images

2022 Emmy nominees take over Comic-Con

After two years of doing Comic-Con@Home, fans flooded San Diego again this month — and along with it, a handful of this year's Emmy nominees, some of whom were there with the casts of their nominated shows, some with other projects.

EW's San Diego Comic-Con Portraits
Credit: Gizelle Hernandez for EW


The Apple TV+ drama earned 14 nominations for its debut season, including EP/director Ben Stiller and star Adam Scott, seen here with (l-r): Dichen Lochen, creator Dan Erickson, Tramell Tillman, Britt Lower, and Jen Tullock.

EW's San Diego Comic-Con Portraits
Credit: Gizelle Hernandez for EW

Nicole Byer

The comedian earned two more nominations this year — as host of Nailed It and for writing her variety special, Nicole Byer: BBW (Big Beautiful Weirdo) — taking her career count to five. She celebrated her first time at Comic-Con with the Adult Swim animated series Tuca & Bertie, on which she voices several characters, and made the rounds with show EP/creator Lisa Hanawalt and stars Tiffany Haddish and Sasheer Zamata.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 cast at EW's San Diego Comic Con portrait studio on July 23, 2022
Credit: Gizelle Hernandez for EW

Will Poulter

Actor Will Poulter landed his first Emmy nomination this year for his work in the Hulu limited series Dopesick — and he made his first trip to SDCC as part of the Marvel family with the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (l-r): Karen Gillan, Chris Pratt, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Maria Bakalova, and Chukwudi Iwuji.

EW's San Diego Comic-Con Portraits
Credit: Gizelle Hernandez for EW

What We Do in the Shadows

The FX show — starring (l-r) Mark Proksch, Harvey Guillén, Kristen Schaal, and Matt Berry — earned seven Emmy nominations this year for its fourth season, including Outstanding Comedy Series...and then took a bite out of San Diego.

Check out more from EW's The Awardistfeaturing exclusive interviews, analysis, and our podcast diving into all the highlights from the year's best in TV.

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