ACTORS TURN AWARDS INTO AWARENESS AT THE SAG AWARDS – SEE THE SPEECHES

Octavia Spencer, left, Janelle Monáe and Taraji P. Henson of “Hidden Figures” have an emotional moment as the accept their award for best ensemble. Image courtesy Kevin Winter/Getty.

Actors spurred on by recent events (and perhaps by Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech) used the awards stage as a political platform at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 29th. Thankfully giving no heed to Donald Trump’s recent comment that “Celebs hurt the cause,” award-winning actors gave impassioned acceptance speeches that ranged from angry criticisms of the president to anecdotes about acceptance to audience appeals. Aston Kutcher set the tone with his opening remarks – he welcomed tv viewers and “everyone in airports that belong in my America…You are a part of the fabric of who we are. And we love you, and we welcome you.” Trump’s recent executive order that bans immigration and travel from seven majority Muslim countries remained the topic of the night.

Julie Louis-Dreyfus was the first to win an award during the ceremony. While claiming the honor for best actress in a comedy series for “Veep” she took some comedic stabs at the election and at Trump’s recent statements about his inauguration audience saying “Whether the Russians did or did not hack the voting of tonight’s SAG Awards, I look out on the million, or probably even a million and a half people in this room, and I say, this award is legitimate, and I won! I’m the winner, the winner is me — landslide!” She then segued into a more serious biographical statement about immigration:

“I want you all to know that I am the daughter of an immigrant. My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France, and I’m an American patriot. And I love this country. And because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes. This immigrant ban is a blemish, and it is un-American.” -Julia Louis-Dreyfus

When the cast of “Stranger Things” took to the stage to claim the prize for best television drama, star David Harbour used the show’s plot as a metaphor for today, saying, “We 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies, we will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no homes. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters.” Perhaps making a reference to the viral video of White Supremacist Richard Spencer getting hit in the face he concluded his speech with, “When we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions we will punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized.”

Upon accepting his award for best supporting film actor for “Moonlight,” Mahershala Ali referenced the storyline of the movie (a coming of age tale about a young boy growing up gay and impoverished in Miami) and his own background to make a moving speech about putting aside differences saying, “You know, when we kind of get caught up in the minutiae, the details that make us all different, I think there’s two ways of seeing that. There’s an opportunity to see the texture of that person, the characteristics that make them unique. And then there’s an opportunity to go to war about it, and to say that that person is different than me, and I don’t like you, so let’s battle. My mother is an ordained minister. I’m a Muslim. She didn’t do back flips when I called her to tell her I converted 17 years ago. But I tell you now, we put things to the side, and I’m able to see her, she’s able to see me — we love each other, the love has grown, and that stuff in minutiae. It’s not that important.”

“Moonlight” was at the center of the biggest upset of the night. The cast lost out to “Hidden Figures” for best ensemble film. Taraji P. Hensen, who starred in the Nasa story, gave an optimistic speech after the win was announced, saying “When we put our differences aside and we come together as a human race, we win, love wins. Every time.”

When Sarah Paulson won for best actress in a television mini-series for “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story,” she used her allotted time to urge people to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union, the organization of lawyers who recently got a New York judge to halt Trump’s executive order. Other actors who gave nods to politics included Bryan Cranston, Emma Stone, and Lily Tomlin who was given a lifetime achievement award. During her speech, she posed a question to the audience, “What sign should I make for the next march?”

Get the full list of SAG winners below:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Denzel Washington, “Fences” (WINNER)
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Emma Stone, “La La Land” (WINNER)
Amy Adams, “Arrival”
Emily Blunt, “The Girl on the Train”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” (WINNER)
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Hugh Grant, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis, “Fences” (WINNER)
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
“Hidden Figures” (WINNER)
“Captain Fantastic”
“Fences”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Bryan Cranston, “All the Way” (WINNER)
Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”
Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
John Turturro, “The Night Of”
Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson” (WINNER)
Bryce Dallas Howard, “Black Mirror”
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Audra McDonald, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”
Kerry Washington, “Confirmation”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
John Lithgow, “The Crown” (WINNER)
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Claire Foy, “The Crown” (WINNER)
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”
Winona Ryder, “Stranger Things”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
William H. Macy, “Shameless” (WINNER)
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” (WINNER)
Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black”
Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“Stranger Things” (WINNER)
“The Crown”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“Westworld”

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“Orange is the New Black” (WINNER)
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Black-ish”
“Modern Family”
“Veep”

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
“Game of Thrones” (WINNER)
“Marvel’s Daredevil”
“Marvel’s Luke Cage”
“The Walking Dead”
“Westworld”

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“Hacksaw Ridge” (WINNER)
“Captain America: Civil War”
“Doctor Strange”
“Jason Bourne”
“Nocturnal Animals”

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