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She prevailed over Jojo Rabbit‘s Scarlett Johansson, Bombshell‘s Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, and Hustlers‘ Jennifer Lopez.
After hugging her father, Bruce Dern, the actress took the stage to thank the Screen Actors Guild and the actors in attendance.
“What an incredible room to be in. To be in celebration of all these extraordinary performances,” she said.
Dern then praised Netflix, Ted Sarandos and Scott Stuber. “I want to thank our Marriage Story family. Our leader, our hero Noah Baumbach. Our incredible cast. To Adam [Driver] and Scarlett and the two partners in law, I want to share this with the extraordinary Alan Alda and Ray Liotta,” she continued.
The actress next thanked the film’s casting directors, as well as casting directors in general for finding and giving actors jobs. “Namely Lynn Stalmaster for telling me to study and try this,” said Dern.
“And to all you actors. I literally, literally would not be here if it were not for actors, so thank you Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd,” she said of her parents. “And thank you for raising me in the community of your friends, on your movies, doing your plays and getting to know the wealth of these extraordinary people.”
Dern later thanked her grandmother for raising her on reruns of classic sitcoms. “And the voices and people I’ve watched and loved forever. Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance, Mary Tyler Moore. You know, all these incredible artists,” the actress continued. “Redd Foxx, Freddie Prinze. Everyone we got to grow up with that made us want to do this.”
After giving a shout-out to her Big Little Lies co-stars, she added, “We are the most blessed people in the world.”
Baumbach accompanied Dern backstage following her win, where she spoke to reporters.
“I’m blessed to be an actor, I’m blessed to be raised by actors, and when you read a flawless piece of art like Marriage Story, so blessed,” said the actress.
Dern reflected on her character’s speech and said it was the “greatest monologue I’ve ever gotten to say about why this woman got into the business in the first place in this male-dominated field.” She added that she was “eternally grateful to various judges, lawyers who talked to Noah and I.”
Dern was also asked if she had met Laura Wassner, the divorce attorney that inspired her character. “I have met her, I met a number of lawyers, three in L.A. and a few in New York,” she replied.
“In these conversations with us and friends and family and lawyers and judges, it became clear [Baumbach] wanted to make a love story through divorce… shared it all. Those are the stories he lifted and with that found a way to give us a globally important film that’s about community.”
The 26th annual SAG Awards aired on TBS and TNT from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.