Everything that happened at this year's SAG Awards

2017-01-30 07:12

Los Angeles - The cast of Hidden Figures rocketed to the Screen Actors Guild top award at a fiery, protest-laden ceremony that was dominated by defiance over President Trump's sweeping immigration ban.

An uplifting drama about African-American mathematicians who aided NASA's 1960s space race, Hidden Figures was the surprise best-ensemble winner on Sunday night at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium. With the Oscar front-runner La La Land not nominated in the category, most expected a contest between Moonlight or Manchester by the Sea.

"This story is about unity," said Taraji P. Henson, who stars alongside Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae in Hidden Figures. "This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together as a human race. We win. Love wins. Every time."

While protests continued at airports nationwide over Trump's temporary ban of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations, many at the SAG Awards struck a defiant tone. 

Ashton Kutcher, the first presenter at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, welcomed not just the viewing audience but "anyone in airports that belong in my America."

Louis-Dreyfus added another honour for her performance on the political satire Veep. She called herself the daughter of an immigrant who fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France.

"Because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes," said Louis-Dreyfus. "And this immigrant ban is a blemish and it is un-American."

Perhaps the most moving speech came from Mahershala Ali, who won best supporting actor for his acclaimed performance in Barry Jenkins' coming-of-age portrait, Moonlight. Ali said he saw lessons for today in Moonlight, in which he plays a character who makes a difference in a shy, gay Miami boy's hard life. "We see what happens when you persecute people," Ali said. "The fold into themselves."

Watch it here:

But the fieriest speech was by David Harbour, who led the cast of Netflix's Stranger Things — maybe the night's biggest surprise winner — on stage. "We will hunt monsters," he vowed in lengthy remarks that drew a standing ovation.

Watch it here:

Like Ali, other Oscar favourites cemented their front-runner status, including Emma Stone for La La Land and Viola Davis for Denzel Washington's August Wilson adaptation Fences. Davis framed her speech as a thank you to Wilson for honouring the average man, "who happened to be a man of colour."

"We deserve to be in the canon, in the centre of any narrative that's written out there. And that's what August did," said Davis. "He elevated my father, my mother, uncles, who had 8th and 5th-grade educations. He just encapsulated them in history. So thank you, August."

The hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black won best ensemble in a comedy series for the third straight year.

"We stand up here representing a diverse group of people, representing generations of families who have sought a better life here from places like Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Ireland," said star Taylor Schilling, while a cast member added "Brooklyn!" ''And we know that it's going to be up to us and all you, probably, to keep telling stories that show what unites us is stronger than the forces that divide us."

Veteran actors scoop awards

A pair of veteran actors took other TV honours: John Lithgow for best actor in a drama series (The Crown) and Bryan Cranston for his Lyndon Johnson in the HBO movie All the Way.


La La Land may have tied an Oscar record with 14 nominations, set a Golden Globes record with seven wins and won the top prize at Saturday's Producers Guild Awards, but it wasn't competing for the top Screen Actors Guild award. Nominated instead for best ensemble are the casts for Moonlight, 'Manchester by the Sea,Hidden Figures and Captain Fantastic.

Actors, the largest group in the motion picture academy, hold considerable sway. SAG, though, is much larger, with about 160 000 members, compared to about 1 200 actors in the academy.

Lily Tomlin was the lifetime achievement honouree. The 77-year-old actress gave a warm, rollicking speech that dispensed both drinking advice and regret over wasting "a lot of time being ambitious about the wrong things."

"Did you hear? The Doomsday Clock has been moved up to two and a half minutes before midnight," said Tomlin. "And this award, it came just in the nick of time."

READ NEXT: All the winners at 23rd annual SAG Awards

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.