The 24th Screen Actors Guild Awards had a tough act to follow after the game-changing Golden Globe Awards earlier this month which served as the official launch of the #MeToo movement and saw the first-ever red carpet blackout. With first time host Kristen Bell and a roster of nearly all-female presenters, the SAG Awards continued to draw attention to women’s issues, but lacked the excitement and high energy of the Globes. Bell gave it her best shot gamely shifting between serious remarks and light moments and made for a pleasantly pleasing host for the evening.
While fashion came slinking back on to the red carpet, it was a pretty lackluster effort despite the ubiquity of sequined gowns that seemed to suggest every stylist in town wanted to get as far away as they could from the tasteful black dresses that defined the Globes. This go-round, not all of the evening’s memorable moments resonated for the right reasons. (Exhibit A: Matt Walsh’s tasteless joke while speaking for the cast of Veep.)
Thankfully, there were some heartfelt speeches and real affection among the nominees and winners that kept us watching throughout the two-hour show. But the Oscars had better step up their game. Here are our ten noteworthy moments from this year’s SAG Awards. And for more Hollywood coverage, don’t miss the 20 Craziest Celebrity Rumors of All Time.
Alison Brie addresses the sexual harassment allegations against James Franco.
The actress, nominated for her performance in Glow and as part of the Netflix’ show ensemble, is asked on the red carpet by E! host Guiliana Rancic about the allegations of sexual harassment against her brother-in-law James Franco currently “in the news.” Brie, who is married to Dave Franco, offered a measured response, “I support my family … not everything that’s been reported is fully accurate” and then added, “I think that above all what we’ve always said is it remains vital that anyone who remains victimized should have the right to speak out and come forward. This is a time for listening.”
The fashion veers between the truly terrible and downright boring.
What lamp in which brothel did Kate Hudson knock over for her truly hideous dress? Was The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby attacked by seagulls on the way to the awards? Where did Allison Janney park her spaceship? Among a forest of forgettable dresses and a sea of sequins, only Nicole Kidman in a bronze Armani Prive gown stood out as a fashion winner. Maybe everyone should go back to all black dresses — and not just to support #TimesUp.
One really bad joke.
When the cast of Veep took to the stage to accept their award for their first win for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, Matt Walsh’s misguided attempt at humor stunned the room into silence — and mortified the actors standing behind him. Pretending to look around for missing series star Julia Louis-Dreyfus (who’d just been named Best Female Actor in a Comedy Series), Walsh told the audience the actress wasn’t there because she was doing a play in New York. He then corrected himself saying it was actually co-star Anna Chlumsky who is currently appearing on Broadway. Dreyfus wasn’t there because she is currently battling breast cancer — and everyone in that room knew it.
Sam Rockwell acknowledges #MeToo.
During the Golden Globes, not a single male actor mentioned the seismic events and subsequent activism that has rocked Hollywood while on stage. In his speech accepting his award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Motion Picture, Rockwell broke through the wall of silence while acknowledging the work of his costar Frances McDormand saying, “I stand shoulder to shoulder with you and all of the incredible women in this room trying to make things better. It’s long overdue.” Well done.
A flustered Alexander Skarsgard apologizes for beating out Robert DeNiro for an award.
The Big Little Lies star took to the stage to accept the award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series and said, “Yeah, that makes sense” having bested the Oscar winner. He then graciously asked, “Is it Mr. Robert DeNiro or the tall dude from True Blood who is the better actor?” The “incredibly embarrassed and infinitely grateful” winner then offered some quick thank-yous and hurried off the stage.
Where’s Oprah when you need her?
When SAG president and former Beverly Hills: 90210 star Gabrielle Carteris came on stage in an attempt to rally the troops proclaiming, “Change is coming,” she prompted an inevitable comparison to Oprah Winfrey’s barn burner speech at the Globes. Carteris gave it her best shot saying, “Women are stepping into their power … Make no mistake, this is not a moment, this is a movement,” but there’s only one Oprah.
Photo courtesy of the HFPA
Nicole Kidman delivers another emotional speech.
Teary-eyed and battling the flu, Kidman scored yet another award for her mesmerizing portrayal of a battered wife in HBO’s Big Little Lies. The actress admitted she was up until 1 a.m. the night before working on her next film, but triumphantly says “But I’m here. And I’m incredibly grateful.” Kidman, 50, concluded by saying, “I’m thankful our careers can now go beyond 40 years old,” something she said would not have been possible twenty-years ago.
Morgan Freeman and his baseball cap.
He’s played God and most fellow actors consider Freeman an acting deity, but that didn’t stop presenter Rita Moreno (who nearly stole the show) from interrupting his speech for his Lifetime Achievement Award admonishing her friend of 50 years to “lift up” his baseball cap “so we can see you.” Why the heck was he wearing that stupid hat in the first place?
Kristen Bell trolls her husband.
Seated in the audience next to her husband, Dax Shepard, Bell seemed to be singing his praises until the camera panned out and revealed she was actually talking about Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig.
SAG introduces a new code of conduct.
Brie Larson and Lupita Nyong’o announced the creation of a new ‘Code of Conduct’ for Screen Actors Guild’s members to “ensure a safe work environment,” according to Larson. Things go less smoothly when the actress attempts to read the nominees for the award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture. Larson admitted she did not know the name of the award category they are supposed to present before the teleprompter is rolled back and the cast of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is called to the stage.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana A Novel.
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