While Sunday night’s 23rd annual edition of the Screen Actors Guild Awards was about celebrating actors and their performances, the current political climate was rarely out of the picture.“Hidden Figures” — the story of three African-American women who helped launch the Apollo moon program — was a surprise winner for best ensemble performance in a motion picture. “They are hidden figures no more!” said star Taraji P. “I’m a God-fearing man, but I didn’t have faith,” said the longtime star. Henson as she accepted with the film’s cast.“Fences’” Denzel Washington was a surprise winner of the best actor award after Casey Affleck had recently notched the Golden Globe.
Introducing the first award from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Ashton Kutcher told the audience, “Good evening to everyone in airports that belong in my America.”Viola Davis won the best supporting female actor award for her role in “Fences” as the wife of an African-American man embittered by race and missed opportunities. She lauded her co-star Denzel Washington, who also directed the adaptation of the August Wilson play, and noted that her father was similar to the character he played.
As well, that film’s star Emma Stone probably cemented her chances by winning as the best female actor in a motion picture. None of this is likely to derail “La La Land’s” march toward winning an Oscar, however. The actress, who already won the Golden Globe for playing an aspiring actress, said she was thankful to be in a profession “that gives people hope.”The night will also be remembered for the power of Netflix as “Stranger Things” was named best TV drama, beating HBO’s powerhouse “Game of Thrones.”
David Harbour, who plays the sheriff on the fantasy-horror show set in the 1980s, gave an emotional acceptance speech, which like many of during the night, referenced Donald Trump’s immigration ban.“As we act in the continuing narrative of ‘Stranger Things,’ we 1983 Midwesterners will continue to repel bullies, we will shelter freaks and outcasts — those who have no homes,” he said as the cast and the audience cheered.Politic statements were a constant through the evening.“Actors are activists no matter what,” stated Kerry Washington at the beginning of the show, which unlike other awards shows like the Oscars and Golden Globes does not have a host.