Advertisement
Advertisement

The 25th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards were held last night, January 27, and nationally broadcast on TNT. The star-studded soirée included all the glamour and glitz expected from the precursor to next month's Oscar recognition. There was an elegant red carpet, featuring the arrivals of all the guests and nominees in its own pre-air segment. The fashion commentators were on alert for the stars making the most distinctive dress statements, and there were glimpses of the contenders hobnobbing with one another.

Different than most award celebrations, however, the SAG Awards are intended to honor all those who work in the film and television industries from caterers, to grips, to the leading stars.

Advertisement

The traditional opening of “I am an actor…” for 2019 featured former Cosby Show cast member, Geoffrey Owen, who inadvertently became a subject of ridicule last year for working at a New Jersey Trader Joe's. Numerous stars made a point to mention the many behind the scenes who make their Movies and TV series’ possible. Patricia Arquette, in taking home another Best Actress honor for her “Escape from Dannemora” role, stressed that her production alone had six pages of actors, and stood for SAG production members who were not receiving overtime pay from some companies. She encouraged everyone to take note of “meal penalties” and “Schedule G’s” because “actors depend on that” before taking away her own actor trophy.

Advertisement

Surprisingly, neither Regina King nor Lady Gaga was recognized, so neither could give inspiring words. Other stars certainly shined in offering remarks and heartfelt moments sure to be remembered.

The host remembers dad

Will & Grace” star Megan Mullally, did more than carry her weight with hosting duties -- she bought her own dress, and looked ravishing in red. The beloved star of screen and stage also made a poignant and personal point about being a SAG actor.

At one interlude, shift produced an actual royalty pay statement issued to her late father for a role in the pilot episode of “The Twilight Zone” from the 1950s. She described how her dad had struggled in the industry, like so many, and how SAG still ensures that actors get their due.

Advertisement

Little words mean a lot

Sandra Oh was another elegant recipient in red, again taking the trophy for “Killing Eve.” The “Grey's Anatomy” alumnus was conscientious in thanking her castmates and current crew and gave special attention to the veteran stars who had given her encouragement along the way. Alfre Woodard's words from 1997, “I'm so proud of you out there. We fight the same fight,” became an inspiring catalyst for Oh, as did Jamie Foxx’s 2006 admonition to “keep going.”

Finally, before thanking “all my fellow actors,” Sandra Oh remembered more recent words from Lena Waithe in 2017, who reminded her that “you already won—it’s in the work,” with an embrace.

For any working artist, the ultimate reward is to make a living doing what one loves.

The eyes have it

This time, there was no tie vote, as in the Critics’ Choice Awards. Glenn Close took Best Actress honors all alone again this year for “The Wife” alongside Jonathan Pryce, who she thanked profusely, saying that “there couldn't be a wife without a husband.”

The venerated actress beamed with pride in saying how honored she was to be among her working fellow actors, following a sweet kiss from Lady Gaga.

Gary Oldman went so far as to give her a kneeling bow, which brought a chuckle to the senior star, who insisted, “We have to stop meeting like this.”

Close paused before offering heartfelt words, declaring that “the most powerful things we have as human beings are two eyes looking into two eyes,” relating how a film is the only artistic medium that captures that direct moment. The power of that interaction “will give us empathy and understanding,” Close continued.

Moving and gifted

The 2019 SAG Award for Best Ensemble Cast crowned the evening, and it was the cast of “Black Panther” who won the most esteemed honor Actor Chadwick Boseman proved he was up to the task by seizing the moment with a message and remembering those worthy of honor. Starting out with gratitude to SAG-AFTRA, the star thanked the director, Ryan Coogler, and even without prompts from his excited castmates, Boseman was purposeful in paying gratitude to the production crew. He then praised “the passion and intelligence” and “the resolve and the discipline” of his fellow actors in “going to work every day.”

Chadwick Boseman then transitioned to the powerful words of the Nina Simone song from 1970, speaking of what it is to be “young, gifted and black.” The eloquent spokesman related how well he and his castmates could recite the words of being told there was no place for them on-screen, no script in which they could be featured, and no part for them in a major production, until the worldwide billion dollars of “Black Panther” made its mark.

He further elaborated the feeling of incessantly being “the tail and not the head, beneath and not above.” To be appreciated and to represent “full human beings” in a world “we would like to see” is a reward far greater than royalties to this cast.

“Don't give me the music,” Boseman implored when signaled offstage. He essentially promised that there would be “a 2” to the saga, and the moment on the stage itself was a promise that films featuring all colors, ages, and genders will be making statements from now on.