Squid Game’s Lee Jung-jae has become the first Asian star to win the Emmy award for best male actor in a drama.
The South Korean won for playing the central role of the increasingly desperate Seong Gi-hun in the hit Netflix show. The show’s creator, Hwang Dong-hyuk, won the best drama series director prize, also the first Asian to do so.
Ted Lasso won best comedy series for the second year in a row, while outstanding drama went to Succession, also for a second year running.
The drama’s British creator Jesse Armstrong made a jibe about the monarchy during his acceptance speech at the US TV industry’s most prestigious ceremony.
“It’s a big week for successions – new King in the UK, this for us,” he joked. “A bit more voting involved in our winning than Prince Charles.” “Keep it, royalist, keep it, royalist,” the show’s star Brian Cox, who was also on stage, told him after the audience went pretty quiet.
Another Succession cast member, Matthew Macfadyen, won best supporting drama actor for his portrayal of ambitious interloper Tom Wambsgans, which he said was a “bonkers gift of a role”.
However, Cox could not replicate last year’s best actor win, losing out to Squid Game’s Lee. Fellow Briton Brett Goldstein was among the night’s other acting winners, alongside Zendaya, Amanda Seyfried, Michael Keaton, Julia Garner and Jean Smart.
Zendaya won best drama actress for a second time for playing teenage drug addict Rue in Euphoria, following her win in 2020.
“Anyone who has loved a Rue or feels like they are a Rue – I want you to know I’m so grateful for your stories, and I carry them with me, and I carry them with her,” she said on stage.
Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis repeated his 2021 success by winning best leading comedy actor for playing the titular football coach.
His win was mirrored by his co-star Goldstein, who won best supporting actor in a comedy series for playing Lasso’s assistant coach Roy Kent for the second year.
Popular newcomer Abbott Elementary, a mockumentary set in a US primary school, also had a share of the success when Sheryl Lee Ralph won best supporting actress in a comedy. She plays no-nonsense teacher Barbara Howard and is the first black actress to succeed in this category since 1987.
After accepting her award, she sang the opening lines of Dianne Reeves’ song Endangered Species, adding an impassioned speech afterwards: “This is what believing looks like.”
Her co-star and the show’s creator, Quinta Brunson, won the award for comedy series writing. However, her acceptance speech was partly overshadowed by talk show host Jimmy Kimmel lying down on the stage in a comic moment after he lost a previous award.