Over the last few years, the annual Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Art + Film Gala (now in its tenth year) has become an unofficial campaign stop during award season. It is not be confused with the Art of Elysium Heaven Gala that happens in January around the Golden Globes – although if you were confused, I don’t blame you because I was too. Maybe it’s because Gucci has a presence at that event too.
Anyway, it’s November, and we’re talking about LACMA and this year’s event honoured Steven Spielberg, Kehinde Wiley, and Amy Sherald, the portrait artists for President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, respectively, whose work is on tour at the museum on loan from the Smithsonian.
The honorees were joined by a long list of celebrities that included Gucci regulars, fashion stars, and Oscar and other award season hopefuls. Including… Squid Game!
Squid Game is the show that everybody has been talking about this fall, and is officially Netflix’s most successful show OF ALL TIME. Here’s Team Squid Game at the gala – showrunner and creator Hwang Dong-hyuk is joined by his stars, Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, and Lee Byung-hun who, as one of Korea’s most famous actors, is already an Academy member.
The reason Team Squid Game is in LA is because Netflix is making an award season push for the series…as it should! Squid Game WILL be eligible for the Emmys next year and it appears that Netflix could be putting it up against Succession. Before the Emmys though, Squid Game is expected to contend at the Producers Guild Awards, the Critics Choice Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. So Hwang Dong-hyuk and his cast are there to campaign. Let’s appreciate the real Lee Jung-jae because the version of him that you saw in Squid Game is far from how he’s recognised in South Korea where he’s also a model. Big difference, right?
They weren’t the only South Korean-based superstars at the event. Also in attendance was Lee Min-ho.
As previously noted, Lee Min-ho is a BIGGGGGG deal in the east, beyond Korea. He was the first Korean celebrity to hit 20 million followers on Instagram and Facebook and is the star of Apple’s upcoming Pachinko, based on Min Jin Lee’s bestselling book. Production on Pachinko started over a year ago across multiple continents. This is a splashy series for Apple and, once it comes out, they’ll likely have awards ambitions for it too. If they’re smart, they’ll also rely on the worldwide popularity of Lee Min-ho to attract new users who may not be Apple subscribers but who will definitely want to watch Min-ho in his first production outside of South Korea. Seeing Lee Min-ho at this high profile Hollywood event, he’ll likely be the face of promotion for the series alongside directors Kogonada and Justin Chon. Pachinko has been described as a sweeping epic, which means Apple’s put a lot of money in this production. Production money means marketing money. Get ready to get to know Lee Min-ho.