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Squid Game Could Make TV Awards History. Here's How

There's no denying that "Squid Game" has become an international phenomenon. The South Korean survival drama from Netflix has reached enough subscribers to become its No. 1 show worldwide, and it could even become the streaming service's most popular show ever, according to co-CEO Ted Sarandos (via Variety).

While such an overwhelming level of success must be vindicating for the creators, who spent more than a decade trying to get "Squid Game" made, it seems that the show now has a unique opportunity arriving in awards season. Just as the 2019 Korean thriller "Parasite" made history at the 2020 Academy Awards as the first foreign language film to win Best Picture, it seems that "Squid Game" has a chance to claim a similar honor at next year's Primetime Emmys.

Having a foreign language film compete at the Emmys would be highly unusual, considering the prominence of the Primetime Emmys' sister organization, the International Emmys. However, some unique aspects of the development of "Squid Game" and the series' worldwide rollout place it in a unique position to receive recognition at next year's Emmys. Here is how "Squid Game" might make TV awards history.

As a Netflix production, Squid Game is eligible for whichever Emmys the producers prefer

The Primetime Emmys and International Emmys have strict rules regarding where a show was produced and the audience it was intended for that determine which award show it can compete in. However, as a co-production with Netflix, the producers of "Squid Game" have much more latitude in deciding which version of the Emmys it would like to enter.

Variety reports that the Television Academy confirmed that since "Squid Game" was produced in collaboration with Netflix and was intended to be released for an American audience through Netflix's global streaming platform, it is eligible for a Primetime Emmy. In addition, since it was filmed in Korea for a Korean audience, it is also eligible to enter International Emmys. However, it cannot enter both since the Television Academy rules specify that a show must choose one or the other.

As noted by Variety, the fact that the "Squid Game" producers must decide which award show it takes part in is a part of the reason it is presented with a historic opportunity. Even though services such as Netflix and HBO Max produce content with international studios for worldwide distribution, there is little incentive to enter them into the Primetime Emmys when a show likely has a better chance of winning in the International Emmys.

That division is also a part of the reason why there is no foreign language category in the Primetime Emmys — meaning that if "Squid Game" enters the competition, it might have a chance to beat some of the most popular series currently on the air.