SAG Awards Honors Free Speech in Film and TV

Ken Howard SAG Podium
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Screen Actors Guild president Ken Howard speaks at the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations announcement on December 17, 2009 at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood , California.

SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard presented a special clip of social-justice themes in film and television at Sunday evening's ceremony.

SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard walked onstage to present a special tribute at the SAG Awards on Sunday night, though not for any of the awards' competitive categories.

In the wake of the free speech controversies surrounding the recent Paris attack and the cyber-attack on Sony, a video montage of film and television's support for free speech and social justice was shown to the audience mid-ceremony, preceded by a moving speech from Howard.

“Since the dawn of motion pictures, filmmakers have used this art form not only as entertainment but as a mirror to reflect vital issues facing society. In movies and on television, groundbreaking performances from Chaplin to Poitier, from Hepburn to Streep, have informed and inspired," Howard said. "They have awakened audiences to, and spoken out about, basic human concerns. Tonight, as we celebrate the outstanding acting from the past year, we also reflect on some landmark portrayals which depict important subjects that affect us all.”

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The montage included scenes from television shows and motion pictures ranging from The Office, The Simpsons and The Golden Girls to the inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma.