SAG Awards: Best and Worst Moments

7:37 PM 1/29/2017

by Patrick Shanley

Trump's latest immigration reforms were the talk of the night as the stars got political in their acceptance and presentation speeches.

The stars came out in force on Sunday night to honor the best performances of the year at the 2017 SAG Awards.

The night was filled with memorable moments from Julia Louis-Dreyfus taking on Trump's alleged conflation of inauguration crowd attendance to Mahershala Ali's emotional acceptance speech.

Here's a look at the night's most noteworthy speeches, appearances, and moments from the festivities.

  • 'Stranger Things' Star David Harbour Vows to “Punch Some People in the Face”

    While accepting the award for best ensemble in a drama series, David Harbour spoke on behalf of his Stranger Things castmembers, delivering a emotionally charged call. "In light of everything 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," Harbour said. "It 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 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. 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."

    That wasn't all the star had to say on the matter, however. "Now, as we act in the continuing narrative of Stranger Things, we 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies, we will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no home," he continued. "We will get past the lies, we will hunt monsters. And when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and the 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, the disenfranchised and the marginalized!"

  • 'Hidden Figures' Cast Celebrate Unity in Night's Big Win

    Taking home the big award of the evening, Hidden Figures star Taraji P. Henson accepted the statuette for best ensemble cast in a motion picture by celebrating a film about "unity."

    Henson thanked the real-life women who inspired the film — Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — by saying, "Without them, we would not know how to reach the stars. They didn’t complain, they focused on solutions. We all know what was going on back then. They are hidden figures no more."

    Henson also honored the astronauts the women helped send into space, including the late John Glenn. "We cannot forget the brave men who worked with us. God rest his soul in peace, John Glenn."

    The actress ended her speech on a hopeful note. "When we come together as a human race, we win. Love wins. Every time."

  • Dolly Parton Makes Comedy Out of Mammaries

    Dolly Parton, who appeared to present a lifetime achievement award to her 9 to 5 costar Lily Tomlin, who also earned a nomination for best actress in a comedy series for her role on Netflix's Grace and Frankie, made a few quips about her famous endowments. “I almost didn’t get in tonight,” she told the crowd. “They kept asking to check my IDs. Or maybe it was double-Ds.”

    The singer-actress also joked that her friend Tomlin was accepting an award for something Parton herself had been trying to “avoid all my life, a sag award.” Cue hysterics.

  • Mahershala Ali's Emotional Speech

    Accepting the award best actor in a supporting role, Mahershala Ali told the crowd, "When we get caught up in the minutiae and the details that make us all different, I think there's two ways of seeing that. There's the opportunity to see the texture of that person, the characteristics that make them unique, and then there's an opportunity to go to war about it and say that this person is different from me, I don't like you, so let's battle."

    Ali went on to talk about his own religious history amid the current controversy sparked by President Trump's immigration reforms. "I'm a Muslim," Ali said, adding that his mother, an ordained minister, "didn't do backflips when I called her to tell her I converted 17 years ago." But now, he says, they "put things to the side" and "we love each other and that stuff is minutiae and its not important."

  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus Gets Political

    While accepting the award for best actress in a comedy series, Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus poked fun at President Trump, citing his inauguration and the debate over crowd sizes as well as the recent Russian election hacking controversy. “Whether the Russians did or did not hack the results of this SAG Awards, I'm glad to be up here," Louis-Dreyfus said. "I look out at the million or million and a half people gathered in this room and can say I am the winner. The winner is me. Landslide."

    She changed tact to make a more serious statement, however, when speaking about the current immigration restrictions put forward by Trump's administration. "I am the daughter of an immigrant, my father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France. I am an American patriot and I love this country. Because I love this country I am horrified by its blemishes, and this immigrant ban is a blemish and it is un-American," the star said.

  • Kerry Washington, Jeff Bridges, Ashton Kutcher Explain Why "I'm an Actor"

    The SAG Awards opened with a number of nominated actors and actresses speaking out about what made them an actor.

    "A lot of people are saying right now that actors shouldn't express their opinions when it comes to politics, but the truth is actors are activists no matter what, because we embody the worth of all people and this union helps me to do that," said Confirmation star and best actress in a miniseries or TV nominee Kerry Washington.

    Jeff Bridges, nominated for best actor in a leading role for Hell or High Water, thanked "luck and nepotism" for his career as a successful actor.

    Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's Ellie Kemper spoke about her latest, greatest role: "mom." "I'm kidding," the comic actress added, "My greatest role is playing Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. That's what got me the free dinner."

    "I am a citizen of the world," said Ashton Kutcher. "I am a professional liar. I play pretend for fun. I'm afforded the opportunity to show the ugliest, most fearful, most vulnerable parts of myself publicly, because privately someone loves me for those flaws."

  • John Lithgow References Meryl Streep's Golden Globes Speech

    While accepting his award for best actor in a drama series for his portrayal of Winston Churchill on Netflix's The Crown, John Lithgow thanked his fellow nominees in the category and gave a nod to another famous face in the room — Meryl Streep.

    Referencing her now-famous speech at the Golden Globes a few weeks ago in which she called out President Trump's mocking of a disabled reporter, Lithgow said, "[I'd like to honor] a great, and underrated, actress who managed to speak my exact thoughts three weeks ago in another awards ceremony, and that's Meryl Streep." 

  • Cast of 'Orange is the New Black' Celebrates Diversity

    "Mostly, we'd like to say that we stand up here representing a diverse set of people representing generations of families who have sought a better way of life here," said star Taylor Schilling in acceptance of the best comedy series ensemble award while her costars named places such as "Puerto Rico," "Ireland" and "Brooklyn." 

    "What unites us is stronger than the forces that seek to divide us," Schilling said, ending her impassioned speech.

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