Let’s roll the highlights, shall we?
The road to the Oscars is heating up. The 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were held this past Sunday on TNT and TBS. This year’s awards were groundbreaking as the first SAG Awards ever to have a host and an all-women presenters list. The show started off as it occasionally does in recent years with handpicked actors around the ballroom give a short speech, which included Tracee Ellis Ross of Black-ish and Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things. What makes the SAG Awards so interesting is that it is truly for actors, by actors. The nominees are nominated by fellow actors who are voting members of SAG-AFTRA. “#MeToo” became a hidden but still present conversation during the SAG Awards with even the president of SAG-AFTRA speaking up about the movements in Hollywood and voicing for equality among the people in SAG-AFTRA. Throughout the night, several of the all-female presenters also addressed the Time’s Up movement with presenters like Marisa Tomei and Rosanna Arquette naming some of the other silence breakers including Mira Sorvino and Anthony Rapp. Arquette was also one of these silence breakers and got choked up reading off the names of the others. But what about the winners?
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There were several nominees awarded throughout the night that were nearly identical to the Golden Globe Awards, with Sam Rockwell winning for Best Supporting Actor and Frances McDormand for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Nicole Kidman continuing her streak for her leading role in the hit limited series, Big Little Lies. Sterling K. Brown broke even more records by being the first black actor to win the award of Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Randall Pearson in This Is Us. The acclaimed NBC drama series also won for Outstanding Drama Series Ensemble, in a category dominated by streaming and cable series’. The stars of This Is Us even used their plus-ones to bring the young actors playing their younger selves to the awards. After being surprisingly absent from Globes nominations, Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep won for Actress in a Comedy Series, and the show won for Outstanding Comedy Series Ensemble, sending love to an absent Julia who is battling breast cancer. Morgan Freeman was also given the Lifetime Achievement Award. In the end, Three Billboards took home the big awards of the night.
In honor of the presenters of the night made up of women, we thought we would do the same with an all-women roundtable! And the actor, we mean roundtable, goes to:
Tayler (@citywinona) – Full-Time College Student and Celebrity Enthusiast
Leia (@dustinandlucas) – Dog lover, occasionally watches Netflix, and enjoys sitting by the rain.
Jordan (@softlytozier) – Lover of Films and TV, Wannabe Actor, and Professional Binge Watcher
Jade (@jeschastains) – Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain are what I live for.
Ellen (@retrojeremy) – 80’s culture Enthusiast and avid Mac DeMarco fan.’
1. Kristen Bell hosted this year’s SAG Awards making it the first time the SAG Awards have ever had a host. What did you think of her as a host and do you think this award show should continue having hosts and why or why not?
Tayler (@citywinona): I thought Kristen Bell was a fabulous host. She kept the flow going without her presence appearing too over-the-top. I enjoyed watching her and I’d love to see the SAG Awards continue with hosts in future years.
Leia (@dustinandlucas): I absolutely loved it! I loved Kristen Bell in her previous movies and thought she was a good host. As someone who watched the awards, I think the awards is great with having a host to introduce topics and also joke with the nominees.
Jordan (@softlytozier): I did not pay much attention to Kristen Bell, but I think the SAG’s should continue having hosts. It helps the show feel a bit different every year and the hosts add personality.
Jade (@jeschastains): To be completely honest she didn’t really have a presence for me, mainly because she didn’t have much screen time, though that’s probably because the show’s format isn’t used to it. But I felt like some of her jokes are too safe or just corny. I WOULD like to see it being hosted again, though seems it does make it a bit more entertaining, and for me the SAG Awards are usually the most boring ones of the season.
Ellen (@retrojeremy): I really liked Kristen. She perfectly balanced humor with occasional sobriety, which was inevitable but not too heavy-handed. Her moment with husband Dax Shepard- which turned into one with Ladybird director Greta Gerwig- was definitely a highlight. A well rounded, enjoyable performance, which I hope I can say in future years if the SAG Awards continues to have hosts. I would have no issue with that and I doubt it’s really the most pressing concern on anybody’s mind to be honest.
2. The “#MeToo” and “#Time’sUp” movements were still very apparent at this year’s SAG Awards and even having an ensemble of all-women presenters. What did you think of the presence of these movements at this year’s SAG Awards, and do you think real change will come of this?
Tayler: 2018 is off to a great start for women, especially those in Hollywood. The Golden Globes kicked off award show season with the “Time’s Up” movement and it’s only going up from there. The SAG Awards represented the many movements for women and it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Men and women alike stand for gender equality in the TV and movie realm and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.
Leia: Honestly, I’m so glad that the presence is still there with these award shows. I’m glad that women are speaking up and by doing the #MeToo messages makes me even more empowered as a female. I hope that with these movements, we start experiencing more change and more women coming out with their stories. I hope that with these movements, we also bring more topics for transgender women for their stories as well. We also need to focus on women of color and their #MeToo stories.
Jordan: I think the presence was definitely bigger at the Golden Globes, but I do think that the change is only beginning no matter how big or small.
Jade: Due to the fact they keep giving an actual domestic abuser awards I really doubt it. There are celebrities who care like Jessica Chastain or Viola Davis and Natalie Portman, but for some, especially the men, I do believe it’s a stunt. (Yes Justin Timberlake and James Franco I’m looking at you). Don’t get me wrong, there is change happening. But the fact that we are proud and amazed when only one woman has the “right” or potential to be nominated makes it feel as if the bar is set way too low.
Ellen: There is a real sense of time indeed being up in Hollywood now, when the biggest celebrities at the biggest events are addressing these issues. It was wonderful to see the SAG Awards shine the spotlight on talented women, some needed affirmative action in an industry which continually mistreats women, the extent of which has become horrifyingly clear with the #MeToo movement. However, I don’t see it causing any real change or being enough. Time’s Up calls for an end to sexual assault and harassment, but when James Franco and Aziz Ansari, who showed support for it at the Golden Globes, are accused and Woody Allen continues to work, you question its real-life impact. Actions speak louder than words, and until the movements supporters blacklist offenders, I don’t see the situation improving.
3. Speaking of presenters, most prepared (or read off the teleprompter), something funny before repeating the nominees and announcing the winner. Which of the presenters was your favorite?
Tayler: Although I was rooting for David Harbour to win the category, I loved the presentation of Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series. The moment of triumph for a person of color, Sterling K. Brown, was well shown and the excitement of opening the envelope was a powerful sight.
Leia: I loved the moment between Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, and Greta Gerwig. It was hilarious when Kristen talked about Greta but made it almost seem like she was talking about Dax. It was so sweet and I love them together!
Jordan: My favorites were definitely Olivia Munn and Niecy Nash! They were really funny and did an awesome job.
Jade: Brie Larson and Lupita Nyong’o. The teleprompter fail was golden and Brie is so charming and also managed to make a moment for a serious, well-thought-out statement. I also have this feeling she locked eyes with James Franco by talking about REAL change and making women feel comfortable and safe in the workplace. Just a gut feeling and I love her for that.
Ellen: I thought that Niecy Nash and Olivia Munn were absolutely brilliant. Their joke about how people pretend to have seen all the performances- such as Peter Dinklage as the Dragon in GOT- was spot-on, and Nash’s desire to be the one to announce Sterling K. Brown’s win “because he’s black” was gold. Attention was subtly called to the small number of Asian nominees by the two, and the pair perfectly demonstrated the need for non-white, female voices. Diversity is needed in every area, including comedy, and with it only comes improvement.
4. After losing in the TV Category for Best Television Drama Series in previous awards this year, This Is Us won to the happy surprise of many of its cast. Meanwhile, there has been a lack of Broadcast Television appearances at awards recently due to the popularity of streaming. Do you think television series’ made for broadcast should continue to be in the same category as series’ made for streaming or should they become entirely separate categories?
Tayler: Personally, I think streaming and broadcast series should be nominated in the same categories. Both are produced in very similar, if not the same, ways. It’s a very interesting competition to watch. I enjoy both streaming and broadcast series, so I like to see them up against each other.
Leia: In my opinion, the categories should stay the same with broadcasting and streaming shows. At the end of the day, each show that ends up in these categories worked incredibly hard to be there and since these shows are all pieces of art, they should be categorized in the same categories.
Jordan: I think that broadcast television definitely has a disadvantage to streamed shows, so it would be nice to see the shows being represented in different categories.
Jade: I could see this happening, but I feel as the recognition for both would diminish if there was a category for each. It just proves that streaming has the ability to remain strong, in both storytelling and deliverance by actors. It’s not like cable TV is dying, seeing as reality shows are still hugely watched, but they do need to step it up a notch. And although I LOVE The Handmaid’s Tale, I’m glad Scientology lost.
Ellen: It’s interesting to think that when Netflix started the awards game with ‘House of Cards’, it was a total underdog. Back in 2013, they had no idea that streaming services would so quickly start dominating with their original content. By 2016, five of the top ten most searched television shows were produced by Netflix. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu are producing some of the top TV shows right now, shows like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Stranger Things’ taking the world by storm. These shows are being rightfully rewarded, and traditional broadcast has somewhat been left in the lurch. In my opinion, this is only a good thing. I do think that broadcast and streaming television should remain in the same category. Nothing motivates people like good, old-fashioned competition, and more competitors will hopefully lead to more high-quality programming, to capture commercial and award show attention.
5. Many of the SAG Awards winners’ speeches addressed some of the very important issues going on in Hollywood right now. Which of the newly awarded SAG winners did you feel had the best speech and why?
Tayler: I loved Morgan Freeman’s acceptance speech for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Despite being the only male on the SAG Awards stage, he still made sure to shed light on female representation. His final remark about the SAG statue made many people laugh, but it was very important to see the support of female equality from such an iconic actor.
Leia: Sterling K. Brown’s speech was definitely one of the highlights. He seemed so humble about winning and you could tell he was genuinely so happy with being apart of This Is Us.
Jordan: I loved Sterling K. Brown’s speech the most. He seemed so happy and humble. His speech had humor and inspiration. He ended his speech beautifully by stating, “The fame won’t sustain you, the money won’t sustain you, the love, keep that love alive.”
Jade: Nicole Kidman always seems to give speeches that resonate with the audience. She’s always calm and collected which make her delivery even more magical and I adore her for always taking the time to talk about serious issues. On the other hand, Frances McDormand seeming to be drunk every single time the camera is on her is so reminiscent of Isabelle Huppert thoroughly the entirety of the 2016-2017 award season.
Ellen: The SAG Awards often produce memorable speeches (David Harbour’s stole the show in 2017) but this year included many fantastic ones. Nicole Kidman made a relevant quip about how Hollywood sidelines and neglects older women, and on the opposite end of the scale, Frances McDormand asked Hollywood to give younger, up-and-coming women a chance to prove themselves. Men also took a moment to address sexism, with Sam Rockwell saying he stands ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with women in their fight for progress, and Morgan Freeman critiquing the male nature of the statue.
6. In the end, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was the big winner. Were there any nominees you felt were snubbed or any you were surprised by? If so, which one(s) and why?
Tayler: Most of the winners of the SAG Awards were very deserving. I was slightly surprised that Margot Robbie didn’t take home Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for “I, Tonya”, and that Millie Bobby Brown didn’t win Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for “Stranger Things”, but Frances McDormand and Claire Foy deserved their wins nonetheless. I was hoping Winona Ryder would be nominated for Stranger Things alongside Millie, but the category was a tough competition to even get nominated for. So many incredibly talented women were nominated in multiple categories. Overall, the winners deserved their titles from the SAG Awards.
Leia: I may be a bit bias, but I would’ve loved to see Stranger Things win! I think David Harbour’s speech would’ve been incredible, plus I would’ve loved to have seen him do the Hopper dance. His speech last year was amazing and I hope we can see him do his iconic speeches when he’s nominated again.
Jordan: I felt that the Stranger Things cast definitely deserved an award and I was upset to see them lose. Majority of the actors are insanely talented children who have worked so hard to get to this level. I really would’ve liked to see them win, but there’s always next time!
Jade: Daniel Kaluuya should be my winner. I feel like Gary Oldman yelling with prosthetic cheekbones for what feels like four hours isn’t with this type. I’m also not a fan of everyone’s runner-up Timothée Chalamet (pretty sure he doesn’t even SPEAK french) If it isn’t Daniel Kaluuya, Daniel Day Lewis deserves to go out with a bang. Just because a man isn’t angry and yelling throughout the entire film doesn’t mean he’s not award worthy.
Ellen: Honestly, I’m still disappointed in how Noah Schnapp was snubbed for his phenomenal performance in Stranger Things, failing to get even a nomination. It seems to be a recurring theme, and it looks like his role as Will Byers will go unrewarded. It’s a shame, seeing how he really pushed the barriers for child actors (acting out seizures without any kind of equipment, for example). His performance isn’t noteworthy simply because of his young age (Schnapp was 12 when filming such intense and difficult scenes) but it makes it even more impressive. Hopefully his immense talent will be more widely recognized and celebrated soon!
7. Overall, what was your favorite moment from the 24th Annual SAG Awards and why?
Tayler: Overall, hopefully, I’m not too biased because I dedicate so much of my time to being obsessed with her, I loved the fact that Winona Ryder attended the SAG Awards. Her comeback since her role as Joyce Byers in Stranger Things has been so captivating. A few of her scenes were well-represented during the previews of Stranger Things for the Best Drama Ensemble category, and it was well-deserved. She looked incredibly happy alongside her co-star, David Harbour, while they had a cheeky cuddle before the winner was announced. She also may have been fashionably late to the carpet, but she stole the show nevertheless. Her presence at the SAG Awards made up all of my favorite moments. (Also, can we TALK about that David and Winona selfie? Still rooting for Jopper since day one.)
Leia: I can’t decide what was the best moment! Seeing all of my favorite people there and seeing them hang out with their friends was the best. Plus everyone looked so incredible in their outfits.
Jordan: My favorite moment was the red carpet. I always enjoy it at any award show. Seeing the outfits and how hopeful and supportive everyone is is awesome!
Jade: [Cut to Robert De Niro looking completely unamused, indifferent and even annoyed when Gary Oldman won the Best Actor category. ]
But also being alive and seeing Nicole Kidman win her first SAG award ever was as enchanting as it gets. I don’t think the world can ever get enough of her talent and brilliance anytime soon. Scientology being defeated also added 10+ years to my life.
Ellen: My favourite moment was when EGOT winner and living legend Rita Moreno (rightfully given a standing ovation) presented long-time friend Morgan Freeman with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Freeman presented Moreno with hers in 2014 and she said she always hoped she could return the favour. Moreno called Freeman a ‘national treasure’, a very touching moment between the two who have been friends since 1971. Freeman himself had a wonderful speech, getting some laughs by calling out a heckler and speaking about his difficulty making it in Hollywood. Together, the two of them highlighted the best of the evening: the theme of overcoming adversity, working together and having respect for all (these themes are all present in Moreno’s excellent Netflix series ‘One Day At a Time’, season 2 out on the 26th). It was an enjoyable, uplifting moment- and with the current climate of Hollywood and more broadly the US, they shouldn’t be taken for granted!
Final Verdict: Several winners later and the race for your favorite nominees to win is far from over.
The “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” campaigns were less noticeable Sunday night in comparison to this year’s Golden Globe Awards. Just a few short weeks ago there was a blackout for the Golden Globes paired with Time’s Up pins. The SAG Awards were a different story. Pins were out of the screen’s view, with Allison Williams of Get Out pinning hers to her clutch, but they still did make their way back to the red carpet and in a few speeches. Credit should also be given to the few men that finally acknowledged some of the issues women are fighting for. On the red carpet, Timothée Chalamet of Call Me By Your Name brought up the gender pay gap, and on stage, Sam Rockwell expressed he stands with women and their fight in his acceptance speech. Notably absent from the SAG Awards: Aziz Ansari. Notably present, however, was James Franco. Will things change in Hollywood? We shall see.
If there aren’t any (and there isn’t one show I can think of that is that flawless) this is the time to make your case. So what does all of this mean for the films and actors who won? Some critics argue that it set the stage for the Oscars, but you never know. What is notable throughout the major televised awards is the fact that the more diverse films may have won among the smaller award platforms, but not here. Get Out and Call Me By Your Name are arguably two films in particular that portrayed characters in a way that had never been given a mainstream platform to do so before. The screenplay alone for both films, but especially the original screenplay Jordan Peele’s Get Out brings is unlike anything seen in modern cinema. At the same time, however, there’s plenty of awards to go around.
Now on a lighter note, the surprises of the night are among the best moments of these award shows. And when the actor or ensemble break barriers and records along the way, that win makes that surprise even better. Award season so far has allowed important issues to come to light and for women to support each other. The 24th Annual SAG Awards may be over, but there is much more in store.