By Jordan Norkus
Arts & Entertainment Editor
On Sunday, Jan. 29 the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards) took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Presented by the Screen Actors Guild-American
Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), 13 awards are given for actors’ performances in film and television.
Two awards were presented on the red carpet for “Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble.” “Game of Thrones” won for the Television Series category and “Hacksaw Ridge” won for the Motion Picture category.
Ashton Kutcher started off the night with a welcome introduction.
“Good evening fellow SAG-AFTRA members, and everyone at home, and everyone in airports that belong in my America,” said Kutcher. “You are a part of the fabric of who we are. And we love you and we welcome you.”
Kutcher’s speech was the first of many to refer to President Trump’s recent immigration ban.
The first two awards of the night were presented to Julia Louis-Dreyfus and William H. Macy for their comedic performances in “Veep” and “Shameless.” Then for the third year in a row, the cast of “Orange is the New Black” took home the award for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.”
Mahershala Ali won for his performance as Juan in “Moonlight.” In his speech, Ali shared that his mother is an ordained minister and he is a Muslim; but their religious differences are not that important.
“We put things to the side and I’m able to see her, she’s able to see me,” said Ali. “We love each other, the love has grown, and that stuff in minutiae.”
Dolly Parton presented the 53rd Annual SAG Life Achievement Award to Lily Tomlin. The award is given for “outstanding achievement in fostering the finest ideals of the acting profession.”
After Sarah Paulson won an award for her performance as Marcia Clark in “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” she asked the people to give to the American Civil Liberties Union.
More awards were presented to Bryan Cranston for his performance as Lyndon B. Johnson in “All the Way” and to John Lithgow and Claire Foy for their performances as Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown.”
In between award presentations, an “In Memoriam” video montage was played, showing people who have passed in 2016 including Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.
The cast of “Stranger Things” took home the award for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.” During their speech, David Harbour talked about cultivating a more empathetic and understanding society, putting some audience members on their feet in applause.
“This award from you, who take your craft seriously and earnestly believe, like me, that great acting can change the world is a call to arms from our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper and, through our art, to battle against fear, self-centeredness and exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture,” said Harbour. “We are united in that we are all human beings, and we are all together on this horrible, painful, joyous, exciting and mysterious ride that is being alive.”
Both Viola Davis and Denzel Washington won awards for their supporting and leading performances as Rose and Troy Maxson in “Fences” and Emma Stone won for her leading performance as Mia in “La La Land.”
For the final award of the night, the cast of “Hidden Figures” took home “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture,” beating “Captain Fantastic,” “Fences,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight.”
During the cast’s acceptance speech, Taraji P. Henson concluded the event with what “Hidden Figures” is about and how the message can be applied today.
“This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside, and we come together as a human race,” said Henson. “We win, love wins. Every time.”