Lee Jung-jae Says 'This Is Truly Huge' as He Wins Best Male Actor in Drama Series at SAG Awards

Lee Jung-jae won the award for his portrayal of Player 456 Seong Gi-hun in Squid Game

Lee Jung-jae brought the drama — and now he's earned one of his industry's top prizes.

On Sunday, Lee won the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series for his role in Squid Game at the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. The award marks Lee's first-ever SAG Award nomination and win.

"Oh my, thank you so much! This is truly huge that it's happened to me," Lee said while accepting his award on stage. "I did write something but I don't think I'll get to reading it."

"Thank you so much SAG-AFTRA awards and thank you to the global audience for all of your love for Squid Game," he went on. "And thank you Squid Game team."

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Lee beat out Brian Cox (Succession), Billy Crudup (The Morning Show), Kieran Culkin (Succession), and Jeremy Strong (Succession) for the award.

Lee Jung-jae
Lee Jung-jae. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/getty

Squid Game — starring Lee, Park Hae-soo, Hoyeon Jung, Oh Young-soo, Anupam Tripathi, Kim Joo-ryoung, Heo Sung-tae, Wi Ha-joon and Lee Byung-hun — debuted on Netflix in September 2021.

The series follows a group of debt-ridden men and women in South Korea who compete in the dangerous Squid Game in order to win a giant piggy bank full of money. Through each level of the games, some advance and others are killed. The sometimes-brutal thriller focuses on monetary inequality and how humanity can crumble (or persevere) when there's money to be won.

Lee plays Player 456 Seong Gi-hun, a cash-strapped gambling addict and father recruited to play the mysterious, deadly series of children's games. Season 1 ended (spoiler alert!) with Gi-hun seemingly ready to return to the arena he previously conquered in the name of revenge.

After its premiere, the series quickly became a massive hit, earning the title of the most-streamed Netflix series to date with over 111 million viewers, surpassing Bridgerton. In January, it was renewed for a second season.

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Though he's never won a SAG Award, Lee is no stranger to the awards scene. The actor also received nods for his role at the Critics' Choice Television Award for best actor in a drama series and the Golden Globe Award for best actor in a television series, drama. He is now the first male actor from Asia and South Korea to receive individual nominations in those categories across all three awards shows.

Lee previously told PEOPLE he "never expected" the crazy success of Squid Game, though he admitted he knew early on that he was a part of something special.

"A second season has become inevitable in a way," he said. "I remember when we were shooting, I asked [creator Hwang Dong-hyuk] if there'd be a second season, and he said, 'I don't think so. That's going to be very difficult.' But we can't not do one now, because we've received so much love all across the world."

"On the first day when we were shooting red light, green light, I saw the gigantic Young-hee robot and 456 people in green sweats running for their lives, and I suddenly got the feeling that it was going to be very big," he recalled. "So I went and told [Hwang] and the crew, 'I think this is going to be really popular. You should make a theme park right now, you should make sure that that robot's there, and people could play the six games that are in this show.' "

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The 28th Annual SAG Awards are being broadcast live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Feb. 27.

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