Mark Wahlberg Slammed for Embarrassing SAG Awards Mistake
The presenter majorly flubbed the title of one nominated film.
On Sunday, Feb. 26, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, otherwise known as the SAG Awards, were given out to the voting body's 2023 honorees. Unlike most other awards shows you probably tune into, the SAG Awards ceremony was not broadcast on television but rather streamed on Netflix's YouTube channel. This led to some memorable moments, such as Female Actor in a Leading Role winner Michelle Yeoh dropping an f-bomb on stage and the inclusion of vintage acceptance speeches in place of the commercials you'd see on network TV. But, as with all awards ceremonies, this one also had its share of awkward moments. One involved presenter Mark Wahlberg, who handed out the award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
Read on to find out what mistake the Ted actor made during his SAG Awards appearance, and why viewers are still slamming him on Twitter.
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Wahlberg gave out the last award of the night.
Other presenters for the 2023 SAG Awards included nominees Quinta Brunson, Jason Bateman, Claire Foy, Paul Mescal, Jessica Chastain, and Zendaya, while additional members of the actors union also took the stage to hand out awards.
Some viewers took to social media to express confusion over the choice of Wahlberg to give out the final award of the night, the SAG equivalent to the Oscars' Best Picture. But the actor has been nominated for three SAG Awards in his career, and all were for the same award he was giving out: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
He was nominated with the ensembles of 1998's Boogie Nights, 2007's The Departed, and 2011's The Fighter. None of those films won, however.
He flubbed the title of one nominated film.
The casts nominated for the evening's last award were the ensembles of Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, and Women Talking. In reading out the titles of the nominees, Wahlberg made an error on the last one. He called the Sarah Polley film "Women Are Talking."
The 2022 drama is based on the Miriam Toews novel of the same name and stars Foy, Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, and others as a group of women in an isolated Mennonite village who meet to decide whether or not to leave the community in which they've been repeatedly sexually assaulted.
Some Twitter users also took Wahlberg to task for mispronouncing "Inisherin" when reading the title of the Martin McDonagh dramedy.
Viewers immediately began roasting him.
Wahlberg's snafu did not go unnoticed. Social media lit up with critical tweets, and the phrase "women are talking" was among Twitter's top trending topics for a time.
"Mark Wahlberg should be kicked out of the Screen Actors Guild for that 'women are talking' blunder," one Twitter user said.
Another account joked, "something so incredibly correct about mark wahlberg getting onstage at the SAG awards and calling the movie 'women are talking' instead of 'women talking.'"
Still others saw the value in the viral moment. "Mark Wahlberg saying 'Women are Talking' did more for Women Talking's promo than MGM ever did," another viewer pointed out.
Fans were angry for another reason, too.
The Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture ended up going to the cast of Everything Everywhere All at Once after cast members Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan, and Yeoh each won their individual awards.
While their acceptance speech was a triumphant moment, with 94-year-old actor James Hong taking the microphone to talk about how much things have changed for Asian performers in the industry during his lengthy career, some SAG viewers saw the pairing of presenter and winner as darkly ironic.
In 1988, when he was 17, Wahlberg attacked two Vietnamese men—one with a five-foot stick—using racial slurs to refer to them even after his arrest. As reported by The Independent, he was initially charged with attempted murder but ultimately pleaded guilty to felony assault, because he was high on PCP at the time of the attacks. He also claimed that they were not motivated by the victims' race.
For those assaults, Wahlberg served 45 days in jail. The Independent also notes that the future star had previously been arrested at age 15 for harassing and throwing rocks at Black children, while yelling racial abuse.
In a 2020 interview with The Guardian, Wahlberg said he "[turned his] life around" after his arrests and "took it upon [himself] to own up to [his] mistakes and go against the grain and not be a part of the gang any more."
Still, people watching the SAG Awards at home were dismayed at Wahlberg giving an award to a mostly Asian cast given his history. "I gotta say, having Mark Wahlberg, who literally went to jail as a teen for committing a hate crime against a Vietnamese man, present an award to the cast of Everything Everywhere All At Once was certainly a choice," one viewer said.
Another referred to the absence of last year's Male Actor in a Leading Role winner, saying, "REALLY interesting that Will Smith wasn't invited to present Best Actress while Mark Wahlberg is presenting the ensemble award to a film with a predominantly Asian cast when he punched and nearly blinded a Vietnamese man…"
Best Life has reached out to a representative of Wahlberg for comment, but has not yet received a response.