The 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, held in Los Angeles on Sunday, threw up a bundle of firsts and kept the momentum going on the global conversation about sexual harassment.
Breaking a long-standing tradition, the ceremony had a host for the first time, actress Kristin Bell. In her opening monologue, the Veronica Mars star solicited support for Hollywood’s TimesUp initiative, which has a legal defence fund for victims of sexual harassment and assault. The ceremony also had only female presenters.
Among the films, the big winner was Martin McDonaugh’s awards-season favourite, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The movie got the coveted award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Theatrical Motion Picture, while Sam Rockwell won Best Supporting Actor and Frances McDormand took home the Best Actress in a Leading Role trophy.
Gary Oldman continued his winning streak at the SAG awards by bagging yet another Best Actor award for his performance as Winston Churchill in Joe Wright’s biopic Darkest Hour.
Allison Janney won Best Supporting Actress for her role as the harried mother of a disgraced figure skater in Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya. This is Janney’s seventh SAG award in a 29-year career.
The award for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture went to the crew of Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman.
Morgan Freeman was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award. The 80-year-old actor, with close to 100 films to his credit, told a reporter backstage, “You have to give that some thought because the title is Life Achievement. The inference might be to get off the stage, you’re done. My hope is that is not the case and they were saying congratulations, so far.”
In the television, cable and new media categories, HBO was the big winner of the night with four awards, followed by NBC, which picked up two trophies.
HBO’s Big Little Lies continued to rake in rewards for the network, with Alexander Skarsgard winning Best Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries and Nicole Kidman, who plays his wife on the acclaimed show, bagging the Best Actress title.
HBO’s hallmark comedy Veep, which has completed six seasons, won the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. The show’s titular vice-president, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, won Best Actress in a Comedy Series for the ninth time, becoming the recipient of the most SAG awards in a lifetime. Dreyfus, who had won the award five times earlier for Seinfeld and the rest for Veep, could not make it to the ceremony as she is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
William H Macy won the award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance as Frank Gallagher, the alcoholic father of six children, in the Showtime series Shameless.
In the television – drama category, Claire Foy won the award for Best Actress for the Netflix series The Crown, where she plays Queen Elizabeth II.
Sterling K Brown continued to make awards history, winning Best Actor for his performance as Randall Pearson in NBC’s acclaimed series This is Us. Brown is the first black actor to win in this category, a feat he also achieved at the 2018 Golden Globes. The cast of This is Us won the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama series.
HBO’s most successful show currently, Game of Thrones, won an award for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series.