LOS ANGELES: The Emmy Awards kicked off Monday with their first physical ceremony held in a theater since the pandemic, an evening that is set to see Korean series « Squid Game » and HBO juggernaut « Succession » face off for the prize of best drama series.
Presenter Kenan Thompson kicked off the festivities with a series of dances to several theme songs from globally successful series, such as « Friends » and « Game of Thrones ». « TV is all we have, » he said.
The Korean phenomenon « Squid Game » has a chance to enter the history of this competition, equivalent to the Oscars of American television. Dark and violent denunciation of the excesses of capitalism, in which poor people kill each other during cruel children’s games with the hope of winning millions, the bloody work of Netflix could become the first production in non-English language to grab the major award.
A success that would follow in the footsteps of the Korean film « Parasite », which won the Oscar for best film in 2020.
Succession, a strong opponent
But, to win in Los Angeles, the series will have to get ahead of a serious adversary: »Succession », a production already rewarded two years ago for its chronicle of a powerful family whose members plot and tear each other apart.
This series with Shakespearean accents seems to be leading the dance with 25 nominations, and remains the favorite, according to experts interviewed by the specialized site Gold Derby.
Deadline film columnist Pete Hammond, however, is betting on a best actor award for « Squid Game » lead actor Lee Jung-jae. Enough to make the South Korean the first winner of this prize for a performance in a language other than English.
The Korean drama has already won four awards in minor categories, awarded at the beginning of September during the Creative Emmys, including the award for best appearance in a series awarded to actress Lee Yoo-mi.
The series « Severance » (Apple TV+), a disturbing metaphor on the world of work, and « Ozark » (Netflix), which explores money laundering and the vices of the American middle class, are also aiming for the prize for the best drama series.
In this kind of series, Zendaya, already rewarded in 2020, has every chance of being voted best actress again for her role as a drug-addicted teenager in « Euphoria ».
Comedies and miniseries
On the comedy side, « Ted Lasso » (Apple TV +), winner last year, seems set to re-emerge. In the series, Jason Sudeikis plays an American football coach parachuted into an English football team.
Nominated in the best actor category of a comedy, he faces Bill Hader, for his role as a hitman who dreams of being a Hollywood star in the series « Barry ».
Among women, Jean Smart is widely expected to be elected again as best actress, for her performance in « Hacks », a comedy in which she plays the role of an aging humorist from Las Vegas, forced to reinvent herself.
Like every year, the mini-series category, which rewards productions limited to a single season, will bring in new blood.
Four of the five contenders are inspired by real scandals. « Dopesick » examines the murderous addiction of the United States to opioids, « The Dropout » tackles the fraud mounted by the medical start-up Theranos, « Pam and Tommy » retraces the underside of the publication of the sex tape by Pamela Anderson, and « Inventing Anna » follows the story of a young Russian who has long deceived New York elite by posing as a wealthy German heiress.
But in this category, the tragicomic satire « The White Lotus », which tackles the ambient hypocrisy of a Hawaiian luxury hotel, seems favorite with eight nominations.
Michael Keaton received the Emmy for best actor in a miniseries for his role in « Dopesick ».