Ever since its release in September 2021, Hwang Dong-hyuk’s South Korean survival thriller series Squid Game became a pop-cultural sensation on Netflix, piquing the interest towards South Korean films and TV series, sparking the Korean Wave. The show made history yet again at the 2022 Golden Globes with cast member O Yeong-Su becoming the first-ever South Korean actor to bag a Golden Globe for his performance.
O Yeong-su, 77, is also the oldest actor to take home the highly-coveted gong as the Best Supporting Actor in a TV drama, defeating the likes of Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, Kieran Culkin, Brett Goldstein etc.
O Yeong-su played the role of Oh Il-Nam aka Player 001 who is initially introduced as the adorable old man with a brain tumour for whom we instantly feel pity.
Viewers develop an instantaneous connection with him and he becomes an omniscient grandfather figure whose wise strategy helps his team win the tug of war. Even the protagonist Gi-hun has immense respect for the man and is empathetic towards his condition as he battles Alzheimer’s disease.
However, in the jarring finale, it is proven that Player 001 is actually filthy rich and wants to “feel alive” by creating the game before his imminent death. Ruthless and smart, he is the sinister curator and the Host of the game and the man beneath the bejewelled Owl mask who hides under the guise of being old and helpless.
O Yeong-su starred alongside Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Jung HoYeon and others who all posted sweet congratulatory messages for the veteran actor. Addressing him as “teacher”, Lee Jung-jae conveyed his greetings and wishes by saying, “every scene with my teacher was an honour”. Lee was nominated for the Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series award that ultimately went to Jeremy Strong for his performance in Succession.
The rest of the cast members expressed their heartiest wishes and bestowed good health and prosperity upon the septuagenarian.
O Yeong-su had previously received the Dong-A Theatre Award in 1979, the Baeksang Arts Award in 1994 and the National Theatre Association of Korea award for best actor in 2000. He expressed his gratitude for getting the opportunity to work in the renowned Netflix series that changed his life.
Stream Squid Game on Netflix now.