A big “D” for diversity! The 22nd annual Screen Actor’s Guild Awards certainly made up for the Academy Awards nominations. It was as if SAG members were determined to salute diversity in their choices. And, the SAG awards are voted by their peers, by the actors. They have the power to speak their vote. And, the actors spoke for diversity in their voting and wins. Laura Perpon, ensemble cast member of “Orange Is the New Black” said, “Look at this stage. This is what we talk about when we talk about diversity. Every different race, color, creed, and sexual orientation.” She summed it up nicely.
The show moved smoothly in a brief two hours with no references to the length or boredom. And, no one got a cut-off warning or had to fight for more time. The Golden Globes and Oscars could learn from the presentation by SAG. It was a very streamlined and well-run show without a lot of fuss and fanfare.
Idris Elba won two awards in one night making him the first male actor to do so. And Netflix won four awards. The television awards were predictable and safe choices with only one newcomer, which was long-time actor, Jeffrey Tambor for his role as Maura Pfefferman in “transparent.”
Best film by an ensemble cast was “Spotlight,” and the entire cast went up to the mic to accept with Mark Ruffalo speaking first. “We had the opportunity to tell the truth. We honored the victims, those dead and those still alive.” “This is for the survivors of the horrific situation.” Michael Keaton added it was “for all survivors, for what is fair versus unfair.” “I am on the side of what is fair.”
Female actor in a leading role went to Brie Larson for her dramatic acting in “Room.” Larson and Jacob Trembly also were presenters and the nine-year-old Trembly not only is adorable, he has a stage presence beyond his nine years.
It was predictable that the Male actor in a leading role went to Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant.” Bets are on that he will win the Oscar for Best Actor. DiCaprio told how he watched film clips from all the great films from film history when he had started out as an actor and said, “We all stand on the shoulders of giants.”
The award for Female actor in a supporting role went to Alicia Vikander for her stunning performance in “The Danish Girl.”
Idris Elba won Male actor in a supporting role for “Beasts of No Nation.” And he won two SAG awards! Idris Elba also won Male actor in a television movie or miniseries for “Luther.” Both SAG awards were applauded by the SAG audience and well-deserved. Of his win in the film, Elba said, “We made a film about real people, real lives. A lot of people were damaged by what happened.” He told how he proudly had gotten his SAG card some twenty years ago and was proud to have continued and to be here.
Performance by a stunt ensemble went to “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
The television awards were as follows:
Again, this was a predictable award for “Downton Abbey” for Ensemble in a drama series. This is the last season of an award winning show and their third win.
Ensemble in a comedy series went to “Orange Is the New Black,” and this was a fairly predictable win and another vote for diversity.
Female actor in a drama series went to none other than Viola Davis for her leading role, of Annalise Keating in “How to Get Away With Murder.”
Kevin Spacey of “House of Cards,” got the Male actor in a drama series award for his role as Frank Underwood. There were no surprises for this win.
Uzo Aduba of “Orange Is the New Black” won for Female actor in a comedy series. Her role is Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren.
Male actor in a comedy series went to Jeffrey Tambor in “Transparent.” Tambor was the only newcomer to win this year.
Female actor in a movie or in a miniseries went to Queen Latifah for her role as Bessie Smith in “Bessie.” Latifah came onstage and used her SAG statue as a weight and did some arm lifts with it as she beamed, and talked about how people put you “in boxes.” “Knock those boxes off!”
Male actor in a movie or miniseries went to Idris Elba for “Luther” making him an historic two-time winner in one year for his roles in television and in film. Helen Mirren had won two SAG awards in 2006 for her roles in the film, “the Queen” and the miniseries, “Elizabeth 1.” Elba is the first male actor to win the two awards.
“Game of Thrones” won for performance by a stunt ensemble.
And, the celebrated Lifetime Achievement award presented by Tine Fey and Amy Poehler, went to legendary comedienne, Carol Burnett who celebrates over fifty years of entertaining audiences in television, film, and on Broadway with her role in “Once Upon A Mattress.” Poehler and Fey told how Leonardo DiCaprio acted in “the Revenant” by sleeping on a horse and eating bison liver. Carol would have made incredible faces to show us how the liver tasted and how she ached from sleeping on the horse. “Carol is better than all of us, and we’re going to give her a prize.” “She was a boss, she was funny, we took 90% of our mom’s advice and 10% of Carol’s .” Both Fey and Poehler were influenced by Carol Burnett. There were clips from the best of Carol from “the Garry Moore Show,” followed by tributes which were videos from Bette White, Jane Lynch, and Ellen De Generis. Carol Burnett walked onstage on the arm of Steve Carell. Her acceptance speech was meaningful and brief. She ended with a tribute to Fey and Poehler, “Tina, Amy, you touch my heart so much.”
Burnett told of living in Hollywood with her grandmother and going to the movies, which were double features and how she acted out the parts with her best friend, Ila Mae. After the Garry Moore Show, she had a contract with the network, and she decided to do a variety show. The network tried to talk her out of it and pointed out that all the variety shows were headed by men. “All comedy variety is a man’s game.” She wanted to do musical comedy revues and the network wanted her to do a sitcom, “Here’s Agnes.” We know who won, and in this case it meant that her network won. Burnett thanked her ensemble cast of years, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, Tim Conway, and Harvey Korman for their comedic chops as she tugged on her ear and said, “I’m so glad we had this time together.”