After a terrifying and bizarre week, the SAG awards provide a brief relief and breath of fresh air with surprising wins, uplifting speeches, and a general sense of unity.

The Screen Actors’ Guild awards, as we’ve mentioned before, are typically the forgotten award show. A night where actors honor their peers, this is really just for them. However, it’s an award show, and we pay attention because it still matters when we’re calculating the race for the Oscar!

Here are some of the highlights of the night and some of our reactions:

The Speeches:

Throughout the night, it was clear the general consensus was to acknowledge the critical issues happening outside in our world, so as a result, we received some very moving speeches. Julia Louis-Dreyfus set the pace by telling the story of being the daughter of an immigrant, and called the Muslim Ban a “blemish” on our country. Following suit we saw incredibly moving speeches from Mahershala Ali after his win for Moonlight, Sarah Paulson using her speech to advocate for the ACLU, David Harbour representing the cast of Stranger Things, and the beautiful cast of Hidden Figures. If you didn’t feel hopeful or like you could do anything to make change, listen to these speeches, and I guarantee you’ll feel unstoppable.

This is the influential speech from David Harbour, that had the audience on their feet, cheering.

The Upsets:

We saw some “upsets” last night at the SAG awards that really throw a curveball in the race for the Oscar, but film wasn’t the only category hit with surprises. For film we saw an incredible takeaway from Denzel Washington’s win for his role in Fences. This win is monumental for a few reasons: he upset both Casey Affleck and Ryan Gosling who have been tapped as the frontrunners for their category and this was his first win. Emma Stone took the Actor home, beating out Natalie Portman who was her biggest competition. The look on Emma’s face was representative to most of us forecasting this awards season, because this is HUGE. With Denzel and Emma, this is an interesting set up for the Oscars. The SAG awards have accurately predicted the Best Actor/Actress winners for the last 10 years. So who’s it going to be? Side note: Brie Larson’s relief that she didn’t have to present it to Casey Affleck was all of America. [See Golden Globes shade throwing here]


In terms of television, there were a few surprises worth noting. The Crown took home two big wins with Claire Foy and John Lithgow, and to be honest, we’re already over it. It’s starting to feel too much like the replacement for Downton Abbey during awards season. Anyways, we also saw an upset when Bryan Cranston (All The Way) took the Actor from the favorite, Sterling K. Brown (The People Vs. OJ Simpson). William H. Macy also upset his category when he won over Transparent’s Jeffrey Tambor! No one saw that coming. The ensemble for a drama series was a shocker, when Stranger Things took it from competitors Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Westworld, and The Crown (but yay for the kids of Hawkins, Indiana! The 80s prevailed!)

Moments We Can’t Stop Smiling Over:

  • Winona Ryder’s incredible facial expressions during David Harbour’s speech and her general sense of shock and confusion when the cast won. The internet loved her and her reaction has now become a series of memes and GIFs.
  • Sarah Paulson receives the Actor, making it a “hat-trick” of awards for her stunning performance in The People Vs. OJ Simpson. She also had the real life Marcia Cross with her.
  • The pure love, appreciation, and joy that came from the Hidden Figures cast when they heard their film one for Best Ensemble in a Film. As they all made their way to the stage, Taraji P. Henson delivered an empowering speech to remind us that unity and love are key and love will always win.
  • Ashton Kutcher finished the opening sequence of “And I’m an actor” which bled into an opening monologue for the ceremony. Ashton Kutcher is not an acclaimed actor, and many people might not take him seriously, but his speech was directed to the refugees and detainees with open arms and acceptance. It was an incredible start to the show, and has left a lingering sense of overwhelming love and pride for the community of actors and countless civilians who are working together to restore hope in this country.