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10 Takeaways from the SAG Awards

Two handfuls of moments from last night's SAG Awards have stuck with me. How about you?

All Politics Are Personal
Julia Louis-Dreyfus early win and a speech that got political, her father being an immigrant, set the tone and politics never went away. It was there in every speech, sometimes awkwardly, sometimes poignantly. People who scream "no more politics" are always forgetting that all politics are personal. The laws that are made, the character of the country we live in, the rights we enjoy or can't, the laws that goven our workplaces, the type of healthcare we get, the size of the paycheck. All of these things affect every single person personally whether they see that it connects to D.C. or not. If there was any doubt that Mahershala Ali was going to win the Oscar next month for his terrific work in Moonlight (and also, yes, as a symbolic win for the film itself which often happens in the supporting categories) it surely vanished last night. Ali was deeply touched at the prize, humble, but also upset given T***'s unconstitutional Muslim ban. He brought up his own conversion to Islam and the initial conflict it raised with his mother. Touchingly he revealed that they're both long since over the conflict since. A bonus of Ali winning is we got to see shots of the Moonlight table and they unfortunately didn't get another chance to shine. 

Lily Tomlin, Denzel Washington, Winona Ryder and more after the jump...


Winona Ryder, A Meme Again
I'm still trying to process what was happening with Noni's face during the Stranger Things acceptance speech. But I was also discombobulated listening to David Harbour shout about... well, it was political but also incoherent. Her face is popping up all over my internet this morning in a variety of contexts and it was one of those things that in the moment you knew it would live on well past the closing credits of the show. 

Lily Tomlin is Lily Tomlin is Lily Tomlin and We All Benefit From That
It's so insane how much great television Oscar throws away each year by keeping Honorary Oscars off  the air. The Cecil B DeMille at the Globes and the SAG Lifetime Achievement are always highlights of those shows. While the intro wasn't the 9 to 5 reunion we'd been promised (Jane Fonda was sick - get well soon! -- and Dolly overcompensated with the old boob jokes going it alone), Lily's acceptance speech was quintessential Lily. It had the weird sideways bits of comic business (the statue turning) the deadpan philosopher joking, and even the funny voices (as she imitated Ruth Gordon's Oscar speech) that Lily is known for. She also took the time out to thank her wife and creative partner Jane Wagner and the camera gave Jane a nice closeup. They've been together since 1971 !!! And they say showbiz marriages can't last. 

Emma Stone Claims to Have Low Self Esteem
We all know that actors are human. And this speech seemed so genuine when she talked about the mental gymnastics it took for her to view herself as worthy of prizes. But how can you give such dazzling star turns as she gave in Easy A and La La Land, which scream "MOVIE STAR!" in all caps, if you don't completely buy into your own charisma? It's a mystery! But the speech felt so genuine it only throws away the key to her Oscar lock next month. Nobody is taking that Best Actress prize from her.

P.S. We don't think Natalie will mind as she already has one "false idol"

Claire Foy is like Adele's Skinny Doppelganger
Or is it just the hairdo and the dress that feels right out of the "Send My Love (to Your New Lover)" video? Also does this mean I have to watch The Crown? I find stories about the Royal Family so tedious.

It Was Really Hard to Think About Anything Else Once You Looked at Nicole Kidman's Dress
It really was. At first we shrieked but as the night wore on, it grew in estimation from its sheer staying power and audacity. We'll see what Jose has to say about it in his fashion roundup!  


Actors Really Love Fences
Or do they really just love Denzel Washington? While it's true that he'd never before won a SAG Award, that type of awards trivia minutae is not likely to permeate the consciousness of huge populations like the Screen Actors Guild. Does this throw Casey Affleck's assumed Oscar frontrunner status into question? Or was this just a momentary bump on the road to Oscar?

The last time Denzel won the Best Actor Oscar (Training Day, 2001) he had previously lost SAG, and the SAG winner was Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind) who was thought to have lost the Oscar afterwars due to press about his bad behavior in hotels and at BAFTA. On the other hand Crowe had just won the Oscar the year before for Gladiator so there were multiple reasons to jump ship and vote Denzel. It does make you wonder though...

Hidden Figures is Super-Duper Popular
While we were rooting for Moonlight which is the very definition of a superb cast, with no weak links and also the added pleasure of meeting a whole bunch of less-heralded actors in comparison to Hidden Figures which is filled with "names," it's hard not to feel happy for a movie that pleasurable. Octavia and Janelle were crying and Taraji gave another impassioned speech that was political in nature without being "political" and thus a really beautiful moment to end on. Those heroic women who helped put that heroic man in space are 'hidden figures no more'. 

Moonlight's loss here suggests that La La Land is the lockiest of locks for Best Picture. Hidden Figures we must remember, has only 3 nominations and no Director or Editing nods which are usually key to winning Best Picture. 

Janelle Monae Hopping Tables
It was so cute and she was in two nominated ensembles. Great year she had. 

Meryl + Ryan

What was your favorite moment and biggest takeaway from the SAG Awards this year?

How'd you do on your predictions? I did pretty well -- I even predicted Stranger Things's surprise win! 

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Reader Comments (48)

It took me a while to press play on The Crown, but so worth it! I'm not a royals fanatic either, but the production values and talented ensemble are top notch. I finished last night right before the SAG ceremony and cheered joyfully for Lithgow and Foy. They're both stellar!

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersfenton24

It's a testament to how horrible a person Trump is that almost every single winner felt the need to address him and his horrible legion of doom during what should have been "their" moments. I expect more of the same for the next four years, so everyone should get used to it.

As much as I'd hoped Denzel would win last night, I now wish that he wouldn't have because I'll be that much more disappointed if/when Affleck takes the Oscar -- though if intensity of applause is any indication, no one seemed that enthusiastic about Manchester's leading actor.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

The best moment was Lily Tomlin's speech which was funny, wry, and affectionate towards her peers and her profession. I loved her advice "Don't go out of the house when your drunk" & "did she come with a purse?". Very wise words from a truly talented & witty dame.

The worst moment was Winona Ryder pulling faces and making that moment all about her. Very ungenerous towards her colleague. Totally graceless. Ironically she was ignoring Tomlin's wise advice.

Btw. Claire Foy is an awesome actress & does look a little like Adele, and Emily Blunt. Nice speech.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

My favorite moment was Harbour's speech. Beginning to think you have no soul, Nat.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTr

I predicted 8/15 correctly. But this year was the worst match ever between my ballot choices and the majority of voters. The only actors I voted for who won were Denzel and Mahershala (2/15).

My favorite moment was Lily Tomlin's speech ("Did she have a purse?").

And the biggest takeaways—on the plus side: GO DENZEL (it's one of your best performances, so win that Oscar); on the minus side: I'm only seeing a maximum of two Oscars for Moonlight now.

Re: The Crown. Worth it for Jared Harris alone (although I'm really not that far into it yet). I've started imagining him in The King's Speech.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I truly am! hoping for Denzel to win! Not only does he deserve to be part of the 3 time-Oscar winner list, but he's also deserving for such a majestic performance.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel

I think Isabelle is going to beat Emma.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

Nicole Kidman's dress reminded me of something they would put on Gene Hackman in the final scenes of THE BIRDCAGE. That dress was classic camp drag. I bet anything it shows up on next season's Drag Race!

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

Loved Loved Nicoles bold dress and Emma will be the new punching bag for Best Actress winners.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMARKGORDONUK

Awards speeches are often political only in the most euphemistic, indirect ways. Kudos to Julia Louis Dreyfus for saying it plainly: Trump's travel ban is a blemish on America.

I loved Mahershala Ali's very personal and heartfelt testimony. It was less like a "speech" and more like a life lesson.

I was rooting for Moonlight to take the Best Cast award, but Hidden Figures was my second choice. I'm so happy that the film is finding an audience and perhaps reminding Hollywood that we'll show up for a smart, funny, unapologetic mainstream movie that is actually *about* something.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

I was disappointed with the Denzel winning,it's just a too theatrical performance,shouting for 2 hrs.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMARKGORDONUK

Winona's facial expressions are awesome, haha. Highlight of the ceremony along with some of the great speeches.

Oh and can soemone please pitch a comedy with Meryl and Ryan? Their comedic sensibilities would mash so well together!

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNico

The Crown is truly disappointing even with the great production values and good to great acting. I think the writing is probably the worst part of it since it circles around the same theme(s) without so much variations. There are so many lines that I roll my eyes at. I wish it would have more humour/biting wit in it. A lot of people like it since it fulfills the prestigious British drama that we all crave.

Having said all of that, I think it's definitely worth checking out because the cast is really good (especially Jared Harris). If you want biting humour, definitely check out "Fleabag" and "Crashing" (more American humour).

Wasn't a big fan of "Fences", except for Davis, who is the heart and soul of the movie. I prefer Affleck's quiet intensity, even though he seems miserable during this awards season.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLars

Emma forever.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

I was delighted that Hidden Figures won. I kept looking at Taraji and thinking, hey, why wasn't SHE nominated for an Oscar? A great cast, ensemble, story, production.

I was also glad that Affleck lost. I think I would have chosen Viggo. I loved the enthusiasm of the Captain Fantastic tribe of kids, so keen on the experience of being there. That casting director did a great job.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenteradri

"It's a testament to how horrible a person Trump is that almost every single winner felt the need to address him and his horrible legion of doom during what should have been "their" moments. I expect more of the same for the next four years, so everyone should get used to it."

Indeed. So all the right-wingers just need to suck it up. Trump is not a Monarch and all good people will be speaking out at every turn.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I am a SAG member and I voted for Hidden Figures, Denzel Washington, Emma Stone, Viola Davis, AND Mahershala Ali so I am thrilled they all won. I've been saying it for months. Denzel and Viola do the kind of classic, old school film acting that rivals the great film performances of all-time and wins Oscars. Manchester By the Sea is a typical critics' darling, wherein critics think that if they shove it down your throat enough times by giving it every critics' award that the Academy will cave and also award it the Oscar. I always said Manchester By the Sea would not do well with the people actually working in the film industry. It is standard mumblecore method acting another dreary kitchen sink drama that simply adds to the misery of the last few months. I'm all for Manchester going home empty handed at the Oscars. Denzel and Viola all the way.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

I have to say I wasn't but on Manchester by the Sea at all. Not sure what all the fuss is about Casey Affleck was fine but nowhere near this towering performance everyone talks about. I think the hype killed it, I was expecting some masterpiece based on the critical reception. Though I happy Denzel won best actor could've went to anyone IMO.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFarrah

For me Julia Louis-Dreyfus gave the speech of the night.

Winona's face the evening's highlight though. Winona Forever.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRobUK

Casey Affleck's performance in MANCHESTER BY THE SEA from start to finish moved me more than any leading male performance I've seen since Nicolas Cage in LEAVING LAS VEGAS. The scene where Michelle Williams extends an invitation to lunch, and you see how hard she's worked to arrive at a place where she can forgive him and yet he can't forgive himself is one of the most powerful moments I've ever seen on film. I think they deserve Academy Awards for giving the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and Best Perfromance by an Actress in a Supporting Role because, among the competition, they delivered just that. What did or did not happen during the making of I'M STILL HERE and why Casey Affleck chose to settle those claims is immaterial. The intellectual frailty of people who think these allegations disqualify him is baffling, even frightening.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Crowe

Yeah, what Ryan Crowe said. I found Affleck's work mesmerizing and devastating. Maybe it's because most people don't know what it's like to feel so much guilt and pain that you keep an emotional distance (or distance, period) from everyone around you, and what Affleck portrayed to perfection was that constant struggle to stay away from the world and that willingness to be thought of as an asshole because it hurts too much to be liked. Whatever he did or didn't do on the set of I'm Still Here, the work he does in this movie speaks for itself (even though when it comes to Oscars, there's a "celebrity" aspect to it where it's hard to separate the man from the work, especially when that man appears to be so visibly uncomfortabe as a celebrity).

Having said that, I'm having a hard time picking between him and Denzel. These performances are so vastly different and each one of them so effective at what they're trying to achieve, it doesn't feel fair to compare them (but hey, that's Awards season for you). I gravitate towards Casey Affleck in part because Denzel already has two Oscars, but I wouldn't be mad if they decide Denzel is ready for the three-timers club. Yes, it's a very theatrical performance, but to be honest, no more theatrical than many other performances that won Oscars in the 40's/50's/60's, even Daniel Day-Lewis, who I think is one of the best around, resorts to theatrics to deliver an effective on-screen performance (Meryl Streep does this too). And for such an explosive, insecure man constantly blaming the world for not giving him the opportunities to be recognized, that level of theatrical feelsjust right (just like the choices Affleck make are the right ones for what he's doing).

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Claire Foy usually gives me Emily Blunt vibes, but yesterday she looked more like a combo of Blunt and Keira Knightley. I see where you're coming from with the Adele comparison, though it might just be the dress.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

Am I the only one who thinks the fact that Brie and Jonah presented Best Actor and Actress were spoilers to the winners' identities?

Because Brie was rather (rightly, IMO) icy when she had to read Casey Affleck's name out at the Golden Globes, and perhaps she thought about not attending the SAGs, if she had to do the same again, but then learnt then Denzel was the winner, so she was much more compliant?

And Jonah as DiCaprio's replacement, I love the WoWS parallels of Jonah stepping in for Leo like Donnie stepping in when Jordan isn't around, but part of me thinks they got him to present because he co-starred against Emma in Emma's first movie?

Or am I being massively conspiracy theorist, haha.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

The Crown is great and I've been impressed with how Claire Foy has handled her meteoric rise to the top with all these awards.

Emma Stone just seems like a bundle of nerves and insecurity...weirdly, I always think the same of Andrew Garfield. Maybe that's why they worked for a couple so long? She's not as confident as, say, Jennifer Lawrence. I'm not convinced she's locked to win. Foolish? Maybe. But I could see Isabelle upsetting.

Casey is losing steam because people probably just can't stomach his bad press, whether it is deserved or not. Denzel is a good fallback. Like, who could be mad about him winning? He's in icon territory and respected by everyone.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Kidman was dressed horrendously... the last 2 times she has been on the red carpet... her husband looks prettier than she.... she reminds me of a giraffe that is trying to look human.... sorry folks!!!!

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMax

@Ryan Crowe you seriously think if Casey Affleck was a teacher and had these allegations he would still even have a job??? R u serious ??

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFarrah

I didn't care for Casey Affleck's performance either. It was just Casey Affleck playing Casey Affleck for me. I will have to say after the controversy with Nate Parker (career is over), I'm not remotely surprised or even care. Like why would anyone even care about Casey Affleck winning some award? At least he has a career unlike some.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Stranger Things acceptance speech (and WINONA's face) is the best thing of the night!
THE CROWN is awesome, guys.
Still hoping Huppert will win the Oscar

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

"P.S. We don't think Natalie will mind as she already has one "false idol""

LMAO. You got me there.

Nicole is really taking RISKS this awards season so I wonder just what the hell she's going to come up with for Oscar. I hope it's INSANE.

Best moment for me was Denzel winning because Denzel gives you a PERFORMANCE in Fences and I'm kinda bewildered over the raves for Casey.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

I'm also glad Claire Foy is getting so much attention for The Crown. She's lovely in it but I thought she might get lost in the shuffle because her performance is very restrained (as it should be) and while she's the lead, a lot of the focus is happening *around* her character at times so good for her!

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

Look Casey may be gross but his performance was much better than Denzel's.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter..

I just don't understand this animosity toward theatrical adaptations like Fences. They are based on plays and they are not trying to hide it! Let me tell you that I just LOVED Doubt and August: Osage County.

Nobody complained back in the days of A Streetcar Named Desire, Born Yesterday, The Country Girl, Death of a Salesman, The Rose Tattoo, The King and I, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Separate Tables and West Side Story, to name a few. They didn't and, what's more, they gave them lots of nominations and quite their share of Oscar, too!

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Hoping for Denzel. He owned that movie. I was supporting him before it became popular.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjimmy

Lucas Hedges gives my favorite performance in the category, but it's hard for me not to root for Mahershala Ali after hearing his speech last night.

Actually, I felt many of the speeches were lovely - Lily, Viola, Stranger Things, OINTB, Taraji, Lithgow, JLD. Nice to see artists inspire us with their words at a moment when it was needed.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I love Miss Stone....

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Marcos, I Think it has to do with the recent domination of television over other mediums- theater included- that gets people used with small, less, naturalistic and they have reservations towards more theatrical material.

As you said, theater DNA was a source of prestige, respect and anticipation. Now, people look down on it.

How can People not appreciate a text as deep, layered, textured, profound and Universal as that of Fences is beyond me. And How can People Think Denzel's performance is undeserving of any awards or accolades makes no sense to me.

Very very few actors could handle that material. Even less as majestically as he did.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

1. Winona
2. Nicole's Dress
3. The lovely speeches

It was a great show! But why was Ashton Kutcher the goodwill ambassador of sorts. First person out and getting the first joke of the night like he was a host. Bizarre.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

So happy for Ali and the ensemble in Hidden Figures, my fav wins of the night. (Ali was so sweet in that one too.) Glad I've seen most of these movies recently because it has been a bunch of terrific ones in a row, instead of the usual ho-hum, miss, miss, hit, miss, ho-hum. miss.

Great stories with GREAT ACTING keeps me sane in insane times...

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I've been torn between (frontrunners) Denzel, Affleck, Viggo and Gosling all season because I was impressed and moved by all four performances. But when you have to choose (as a voter) you look outside the performances themselves, all things being equal. And whenever I do that, my order of preference is


January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Oh, I *loved* Kidman's dress. So distinctive, and such a gorgeous color on her (although I still do wish she'd go back to her natural red hair).

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Mareko -- well her natural hair is less red than brown. but yeah. i dont understand why she doesnt embrace the red. it's always the color that's looked best on her.

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

i loved the sheer ecstasy dolly provoked in the audience just by walking onstage

and the irony that joe manganiello didn't appreciate boob jokes while his wife was sitting right there

January 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterpar

I loved all the speeches. Emma has great comedic timing and I don't think she was even trying there. I would love to see her in a good comedy again.

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBlake

I actually thought Stone's speech was kind of a train wreck. I don't think speeches should be Oscar auditions but since they often are on some level, I wonder if she lost some votes after that.

Regarding BP prospects for Moonlight after Hidden Figures took Best Ensemble, I wonder if HF and LLL share a lot of the same fans and thus may split some votes. Moonlight fans seem to be passionate to the nth degree, and that sounds like a lot of #1 and #2 votes that could squeak it by LLL and HF. But let's be real, in my Oscar pool I'm predicting LLL so I can win on a lesser known category prediction lol.

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKJ

Am I missing something? If Mahershala Ali receives the top award, won't he be the first Muslim actor to win? I feel like that is a pretty important milestone, considering our current political climate, but I haven't heard anyone point this out yet. Am I missing someone else from the past? (And don't tell me Ellen Burstyn, because she is a combination of several religions)

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered Commentershawshank

My biggest takeaway is that the negative press coverage surrounding Casey Affleck is starting to have an effect. This is not just a matter of someone exhibiting poor taste in campaigning or giving cringeworthy acceptance speeches - Melissa Leo didn't blow her chances as many predicted she would, because acting batshit crazy, in and of itself, is not a major breech of the social compact. The Affleck controversy is a different matter entirely, given that it involves criminal behavior - it's especially difficult given what a major part of the national convresation sexual harassment has become as part of the lovely, magical election season we've just had to slog through. Couple with that the racial component that's been introduced to the discussion - this whole question of why Nate Parker is penalized while Affleck is rewarded - and you have a perfect storm of hot button issues damaging his standing with certain segments of The Academy. I would add that I don't think any of this is necessarily fair - as I've been saying since the controversy reared its head, none of us know the principals or have any firsthand knowledge of what happened, and are not in a position to rush to judgement. But in practical terms, it all adds up to something - in this case, that something may very well be a Denzel Washington victory.

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJosh R

Amanda: Your comment is very true. I hadn't thought of that. Thank you! :)

February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Affleck is also not doing himself any favors by continually acting like a jerk every time he steps up to a microphone or sits down for an interview.

February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

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