SAG Awards: 8 Most Memorable Moments

7:09 PM 1/19/2020

by Christy Piña and Jordan Wilson

From Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt's backstage reunion to standing ovations, here are the highlights from the 2020 telecast.

The 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Though the 2020 SAG Awards remained hostless, Schitt's Creek stars Eugene and Dan Levy bookended the event by presenting the first award and kicking the "I Am an Actor" segment up a notch and returning at the end of the night to present the top prize of best cast.

The night was full of unexpected wins — from Parasite's historic best cast triumph to Jennifer Aniston and Sam Rockwell's surprise victories for their roles in The Morning Show and Fosse/Verdon, respectively. Rockwell beat out Golden Globe and Emmy winners Russell Crowe (The Loudest Voice) and Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us).

Perhaps not as surprising were the individual film acting awards, which went to Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Renée Zellweger (Judy) and Joaquin Phoenix (Joker).

The Hollywood Reporter rounded up the standouts from the 2020 SAG Awards — the powerful moments and the night's biggest wins, including memorable speeches from Pitt, the cast of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Life Achievement Award recipient Robert De Niro; Aniston and Pitt's reunion; and Parasite's standing ovation. See them below and click here for a look at what the TV cameras missed.


  • Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt Meet Up Backstage After Their Wins

    The best male supporting actor award went to Brad Pitt, whose speech was filled to the brim with jokes both self-deprecating and otherwise.

    When Pitt said that playing his role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood "was a difficult part … a guy who gets high, takes his shirt off and doesn't get on with his wife. It was a big stretch." The camera cut to capture several reactions from the actors in the audience, including one from Pitt's ex-wife Jennifer Aniston.

    Aniston later won best actress in a drama series for her role in AppleTV's The Morning Show and gave an impassioned speech in which she thanked a number of her peers and colleagues, including Adam Sandler, who received zero nominations for his critically lauded performance in Uncut Gems.

    Pitt was later seen watching her win her award. They met up backstage after each of their wins, congratulating each other for their successful nights.

  • Eugene and Dan Levy Ham Up the Opening

    Father and son Schitt's Creek duo Eugene and Dan Levy opened up the awards show by taking the traditional "I am an actor" speech to a new level. 

    After hearing from Christina Applegate and Cynthia Erivo about their first acting gigs, the camera lingered on Eugene Levy as he described in great, ongoing detail about his earliest recollection of wanting to be an actor, while Dan sat impatiently behind him, waiting for his turn to speak. 

    Dan finally called out his father, saying that he had taken up so much time that they had to cut Tom Hanks' speech. A quick cut to Hanks' placidly annoyed face moments later kicked the joke up another notch. The pair then took to the stage, with Dan professing that they were definitely "not being paid, but I was offered an internship credit and free flu shot," and Eugene saying that he sees "a lot of De Niro in my own work."

    They then presented Tony Shalhoub with his award for his performance in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

  • 'Parasite' Cast Receives Standing Ovations

    The cast of Bong Joon Ho's Parasite took the stage to introduce their film and immediately received a standing ovation and extended applause before they were able to speak. They would later receive another when they won for best cast in a motion picture, the first foreign-language film to win the award.  

    Song Kang-ho, Park So-dam, Choi Woo-shik, Lee Jeong-eun and Lee Sun-kyun spoke Korean onstage as they introduced their film's montage of the night, but they had to first wait for the audience reaction to their appearance to die down. The actors spoke about their characters in the film and about how audience sentiment shifted as the narrative of the film played out.

    When they received their best ensemble award, Song spoke through translator Sharon Choi, saying, "Although the film is called Parasite I believe the story is about coexistence and how we can all live together."

  • The Enthusiastic Warning From the 'Jojo Rabbit' Cast

    Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson and breakout Jojo Rabbit star Roman Griffin Davis presented the film at the awards show, and seemed to have a fun time doing so. 

    Davis was so excited to get through his line of the speech — "The film tells a story of a 10-year-old boy whose beliefs are challenged by his own growing life experience" — that after delivering the line, he immediately pumped his fists in triumph. Waititi congratulated him on it, "Yes, you did it!"

    Waititi continued, seeming to drop into character as he said, "It's a tragedy, it's a comedy and it's — what are you laughing at?" he exclaimed as the audience erupted in laughter. He finished up his speech by saying, "It's a coming-of-age story and it's a warning." Waititi drew out the last word before pausing and waiting for audience laughter to roll in. 

  • 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Pro-'Fleabag' Speech

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel cast took to the stage to accept the show's second award of the night for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series.

    "I voted for Fleabag. This is really weird. This makes no sense," Alex Borstein said, kicking off the cast acceptance speech. "Fleabag is brilliant. You guys are brilliant."

    Rachel Brosnahan chimed in, saying the cast was very surprised and that she even forgot to vote. "I didn't vote for Rachel. I didn't vote for Tony," Bornstein added and then asked somebody else in the cast to take over the speech.

    "This ensemble extends far beyond those that you see on this stage," Brosnahan stepped in. "We are missing, as Tony said, one really, really important member of our ensemble tonight, Brian Tarantina. We had such an amazing time with him last year, so thank you so, so much for this. This is dedicated to him." She ended her speech thanking their casting directors and again pointing out that Fleabag should've gotten the award. 

  • Brad Pitt's Tinder Joke, Quentin Tarantino's Foot Fetish

    Following his comedic acceptance speech for his Golden Globe win Jan. 5, Pitt started off his acceptance speech for his best supporting actor win at the SAG Awards the same way. "I gotta add this to my Tinder profile," he joked.

    The first-time SAG nominee went on to thank his fellow actors and actresses, telling them he's been mesmerized by all of their work, especially addressing his fellow Once Upon a Time in Hollywood cast.

    "I want to thank my co-stars, Leo, Margot Robbie, Margot Robbie's feet, Margaret Qualley's feet, Dakota Fanning's feet. Seriously, Quentin has separated more women from their shoes than the TSA."

    Pitt continued, explaining that acting is a team sport and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood gave him the chance to work with some incredible people, legends and a new generation of actors, too.  

  • Robert De Niro Receives Life Achievement Award

    Robert De Niro received the annual Life Achievement Award for his legendary acting career. He joins the ranks of former recipients like Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, Debbie Reynolds and James Earl Jones.

    De Niro opened his speech, explaining that as an actor, you don't get to take victory laps because you're too worried about your next project, adding, like Pitt, that acting is about a support system. The award recipient thanked SAG-AFTRA for all that the union does for the actors who are a part of it, especially in these days where there's hostility against unions, he said.

    "There's right, and there's wrong, and there's common sense, and there's abuse of power," De Niro said in his speech. "As a citizen, I have as much right as anybody, an actor, an athlete, a musician, anybody else, to voice my opinion. And if I have a bigger voice because of my situation, I'm going to use it whenever I see a blatant abuse of power."

    Leonardo DiCaprio introduced De Niro, sharing how De Niro's been a role model for him since he was a teenager.

    "Robert De Niro is elemental. It feels as if he's always been here and always will be here," DiCaprio said, adding an anecdote from his childhood when his father took him to see Midnight Run in theaters. "As the lights went down, he turned to me and said, 'If you really want to be an actor and get into this profession, if you want to understand what great acting is, you watch that man onscreen.'"

  • Joaquin Phoenix Applauds Fellow Nominees

    Joaquin Phoenix took home the top award for a male actor in a leading role in a film. The first-time SAG winner began his speech by calling himself out on not fully appreciating the acting community he's been a part of for years. "I now realize how fortunate I am to be a part of this community," he said.

    The actor continued by shouting out his fellow nominees (Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver and Taron Egerton). When he started acting again, after a brief hiatus, Phoenix said he would always make it to the final callback and lose to the same, "one kid," DiCaprio.

    "You've been an inspiration for over 25 years to me and so many people, and thank you very, very much," Phoenix said to DiCaprio. "Christian, you commit to your roles in ways I could only dream of," asking the actor to "just suck once."

    "Adam, I've been watching you the last few years, and you've just been turning in these beautiful, nuanced, incredible, profound performances. I'm so moved by you, and you were just devastating in this film, and you should be here," he said to Driver. "Taron, where are you? I'm so happy for you, wherever you are. Hey, hey man. You're so beautiful in this movie, and I'm so happy for you, and I can't wait to see what you do."

    The Joker actor ended his speech, paying tribute to his favorite actor and former Joker, Heath Ledger.