The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards took place last night, celebrating the best of the year’s acting, as chosen by the acting community.
Fences won twice for Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, while Moonlight took home Best Actor for Mahershala Ali and Bryan Cranston bagged Best Actor in a TV Movie for HBO’s All the Way. Best Female Actor in a Limited TV Series went to Sarah Paulson in The People v. O.J. Simpson and Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture went to Hidden Figures, but Netflix mostly dominated the evening with four wins, including The Crown (Claire Foy and John Lithgow) and Orange Is the New Black (Best Comedy Ensemble).
While it might sound like the ordinary event that Hollywood holds every year, though, it swiftly became clear that the night was going to be a politically charged affair, as Ashton Kutcher began proceedings by speaking out against Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims.
Others also took the chance to comment on the current political situation in America, from Paulson requesting donations for the ACLU, which is challenging Trump’s ban, to Bryan Cranston impersonating former president Lyndon B. Johnson to warn the current White House occupant, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus calling the ban a “blemish” and “un-American”.
The real winners of the night, though, were David Harbour and Winona Ryder. Collecting the award for Best Drama Ensemble, which went to Stranger Things, Harbour (aka. Sheriff Jim Hopper) delivered a speech to end all speeches, picking up on Roger Ebert and Meryl Streep’s famous comments on cinema as a force for empathy and running with them to rousing places.
“We’d like to thank Netflix, Sean, Matt, Ross and the amazing casting director Carmen Cuba,” he began, before continuing on a personal note: “And I would like to say that in light of all that’s going on in the world today, it’s difficult to celebrate the already celebrated Stranger Things. But this award from you, who take your craft seriously and earnestly believe, like me, that great acting can change the world, is call to arms from our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper, and through our art to battle against the fear, self-centeredness, and exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture. And through our craft, to cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society by revealing intimate truths that serve as a forceful reminder to folks that when they feel broken and afraid and tired, they are not alone.”
Then, with the crowd cheering, he shouted his final words about Stranger Things Season 2, the importance of unity, and what happened to white supremacist Richard Spencer last week: “We 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies. We will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no home. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters! And when we are at a loss against the hypocrisy and casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalised.”
The only thing to make Harbour’s speech better? Winona Ryder standing next to him, displaying all kinds of facial expressions. (If you didn’t spot her, rewatch the whole video above looking to Habour’s left.)
In the hours after the awards, Harbour’s speech soared around the web, with Winona’s face becoming an instant meme. And before you can ask, yes, of course Harbour saw them – that Sheriff Jim Hopper doesn’t miss a trick.
Read on for the full list of 2017 SAG Awards winners – or, if you’re so inclined, you can donate to the ACLU here.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
DENZEL WASHINGTON / Troy Maxson – “FENCES” (Paramount Pictures)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
EMMA STONE / Mia – “LA LA LAND” (Lionsgate)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
MAHERSHALA ALI / Juan – “MOONLIGHT” (A24)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
VIOLA DAVIS / Rose Maxson – “FENCES” (Paramount Pictures)
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
HIDDEN FIGURES (20th Century Fox)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series
BRYAN CRANSTON / President Lyndon B. Johnson – “ALL THE WAY” (HBO)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series
SARAH PAULSON / Marcia Clark – “THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY” (FX Networks)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
JOHN LITHGOW / Winston Churchill – “THE CROWN” (Netflix)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
CLAIRE FOY / Queen Elizabeth II – “THE CROWN” (Netflix)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
WILLIAM H. MACY / Frank Gallagher – “SHAMELESS” (Showtime)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / President Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO)
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
STRANGER THINGS (Netflix)
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (Netflix)
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“HACKSAW RIDGE” (Lionsgate)
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
“GAME OF THRONES” (HBO)
53rd Annual SAG Life Achievement Award