SAG Awards Recognize Mostly White Actors After Oscars Diversity Backlash

The best cast win for 'Parasite' was a notable exception during an awards show that saw all four individual film acting awards go to white actors, despite an inclusive slate of nominees.

Just days after the Oscars received backlash for a nearly all-white slate of nominees for this year's honors, the 2020 SAG Awards recognized mostly white actors at Sunday night's ceremony.

The four individual film acting awards went to Laura Dern (best supporting actress for Marriage Story), Brad Pitt (best supporting actor for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Joaquin Phoenix (best actor for Joker) and Renée Zellweger (best actress for Judy). The best cast award was a rare exception, going to the Korean actors from Parasite, making them the first foreign-language ensemble to win the actors union's top prize. Most of the members of the Film Academy's 1,305-person actors' branch are members of SAG-AFTRA, making the SAG Awards a survey with a larger sample size of Academy members.

The awards, voting for which closed on Friday after the Oscar nominations were revealed on Monday, featured more inclusive nominees than the Academy Awards' acting categories, with such snubbed Oscar hopefuls as Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy) and Lupita Nyong'o (Us) among those nominated for SAG Awards. They all failed to win the awards for which they were nominated.

In the best actress category, the only one at the Oscars with a person of color (Harriet's Cynthia Erivo) nominated, all but seven of the 25 previous SAG Awards winners won the Oscar that year.

As with the Oscars, last year's SAG Awards recipients were a more inclusive group, with Green Book's Mahershala Ali winning for best supporting actor, Bohemian Rhapsody's Rami Malek winning for best actor and the stars of Black Panther taking home the SAG Awards' top prize of best cast. The Oscars' best supporting actress winner last year, If Beale Street Could Talk's Regina King, notably wasn't nominated for the SAG Awards last year.

Even on the TV side, which has historically reflected more inclusivity, the SAG Award winners were mostly white actors, with such diverse individual nominees as Sterling K. Brown (the lone broadcast TV representative for his role in This Is Us), Ali (up for best actor in a limited series for his role in True Detective) and When They See Us' Jharrel Jerome all failing to win.

The lack of inclusive film winners is another disappointing development in an awards season that, just in recent weeks, has seen the BAFTA Awards fail to nominate any actors of color for its film honors and the Golden Globes dole out most of its awards to largely white recipients across film and TV, with Ramy's Ramy Youssef and The Farewell's Awkwafina, snubbed by SAG-AFTRA before being left out of this year's Oscar nominations, among the exceptions.