SAG Awards: Three Billboards emerges as night’s big winner

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Everyone’s story deserves to be heard. This was the main subject of this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. With sexual harassment as one of the major topics on the news and with hundreds of actors and actresses coming forward with heartbreaking stories, what a better platform to talk about this issue than the Screen Actors Guild Awards. With an all-female rooster of presenters, the issue at the center of the show seemed inevitable even before the start of the night.

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The Screen Actors Guild Awards decided to use a host for the first time ever, with actress Kristen Bell presenting. I was skeptical at first, as I thought “If they haven’t done it in 24 editions, why start now” and assumed a presenter would jus make the show longer. Well, I was wrong, as the figure of the host did not slow down the pace of the show, intervening only in key moments and using her voice to underline the importance of the women’s movement currently shaking Hollywood, using comedy to get the message across. The issue was also address by SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris as well as the presenters and some honorees, including Best Supporting Actor winner Sam Rockwell. It is also important to note not only female victims were acknowledged, as Anthony Rapp, the first survivor to speak up about Kevin Spacey’s history of sexual abuse, was also mentioned during the show.

SAG Awards nominations and wins are usually considered a thermometer ahead of the Academy Awards, but its is also a well-known fact SAG nominations have nonetheless been strange, with Get Out and The Big Sick getting nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture – the top award of the night – snubbing Oscar frontrunners The Shape of Water, The Post or Call Me by Your name. With Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as the inevitable winner of the night, the SAG Awards did not reflect the close battle between Martin McDonagh and Guillermo del Toro’s dramas. Besides, and as much as I loved it, it seems unlikely The Big Sick will score a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards. In any case, it looks like after both a Golden Globe and SAG Award Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is now the favorite to take home the prize on March 4th.

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Acting categories were also surprising, with Judy Dench taking Meryl Streep’s spot in the Best Actress category, a strange move considering that even though Dame Dench’s performance is excellent – like everything she does – we can wonder if it is award-worthy. The same could be said about Tom Hank’s noticeable snub, which overall makes me think actors did not enjoy The Post as much as the critics did. Wins were however pretty predictable, as they followed the script set by the Golden Globes: Frances McDormand, Allison Janney, Gary Oldman and Sam Rockwell can start rehearsing their Oscar speeches. A very emotional Gary Oldman starred in one of the most moving moments of the night, as he thanked his fellow nominees almost in tears – not what you would expect from Mr. Sirius Black himself. Frances McDormand emphasized the importance of representation in motion pictures as well as the need to build a path for a new generation of up-and-coming actors.

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Morgan Freeman – wearing a strange combination of suit and hat – took home the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and I don’t think anyone could argue this wasn’t a good choice, considering Freeman was already awarded the AFI’s Life Achievement Award in 2011. The award was presented by living legend – and SAG honoree – Rita Moreno, who was welcomed on stage with a standing ovation.

Television categories were foreseeable, as the Actors Guild mainly recognized the same performances the HFPA praised at the Golden Globes just a couple of weeks ago. Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, Sterling K. Brown, Claire Foy – defeating frontrunner Elisabeth Moss – William H. Macy and Julia Louis Dreyfus clinched prizes in acting categories, whereas This Is Us and Veep – a SAG favorite – won in the Best Ensemble categories. Perhaps the only series missing in this list is The Handmaid’s Tale, which is surprising considering the social impact is has had on its audience. But again, the SAG Awards are sometimes hard to understand…   

As I usually say, the SAG Awards are usually one of the funniest and most underrated shows of the season. After all, it is a show put on by actors and celebrating actors, and in a town like Hollywood, nobody misses the chance to write a great speech and enjoy those 15 minutes of fame. Unlike studio executives or technicians, these people are used to talking in public and the audience can really notice it. With so may awards shows and an ongoing viewership decline, the SAG Awards should lead the way to a general change – even though I am aware a dramatic change in the way these shows are conceived needs to be brought in order to attract younger audiences.

Winners:

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
 “The Big Sick”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Mudbound”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role:
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role:
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson,”Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series:
“This Is Us”
“The Crown”
“Game of Thrones”
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
“Stranger Things”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series:
Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
Laura Linney, “Ozark”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series:
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries:
Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”
Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette & Joan”
Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette & Joan”
Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries:
Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock”
Jeff Daniels, “Godless”
Robert De Niro, “The Wizard of Lies”
Geoffrey Rush, “Genius”

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series:
“Veep”
“Black-ish”
“Curb Your Enthusiasm”
“GLOW”
“Orange is the New Black”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is the New Black”
Alison Brie, “GLOW”
Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series:
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Sean Hayes, “Will & Grace”
Marc Maron, “GLOW”

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series:
“Game of Thrones”
“GLOW”
“Homeland”
“Stranger Things”
“The Walking Dead”

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture:
“Wonder Woman”
“Baby Driver”
“Dunkirk”
“Logan”
“War For The Planet Of The Apes”

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