It’s an ongoing refrain at this point in our current awards season, but this year’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards was like none before it. Following the challenges that previous ceremonies experienced with live broadcasts of remote honorees, the SAG Awards went a different route. All of the show’s segments were taped in advance, including the winner reveals. To pull it off, nominees in each of the individual categories were gathered in Zoom rooms days before the ceremony to hear the winner announced, who then gave their acceptance speech.
The set-up may have been far different than that of previous ceremonies, but the value of the honorees’ words remains the same. The SAG Awards recognizes union actors who are voted on by their peers, making the recognition that much more impactful. The speeches of those who make it to the winners’ circle offer other thespians ample wisdom about the profession. Keep reading for four takeaways that actors can glean from this year’s show.
1. Use your voice.
Simone Ledward Boseman accepted on behalf of her late husband the accolade for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role that was posthumously awarded to Chadwick Boseman for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. “If you see the world unbalanced, be a crusader that pushes heavily on the seesaw of the mind,” she stated. “That’s a quote by Chadwick Boseman.” Not every thespian has a reach as extensive as the boundary-breaking star of Black Panther, but each one can use their platform as an actor to speak out.
2. Recognize other actors.
A number of winners praised the work of others nominated in their category, as well as their co-stars in the projects for which they won. Anya Taylor-Joy is one such example. After recognizing the other nominees for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series, she dedicated much of her acceptance speech to other cast members of The Queen’s Gambit. “It was such a privilege every single day to get to work with the playmates that I got to work with,” Taylor-Joy expressed. She named off a list that included actors Bill Camp, Marielle Heller, Harry Melling, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Moses Ingram before ending with an important reminder. “A show isn’t made by one person,” asserted the star of the smash Netflix series.
3. Appreciate your filmmakers.
Schitt’s Creek took home the ensemble cast win in its category, and star Catherine O’Hara also won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series. The thespian acknowledged the show’s creators, father-son duo Eugene and Daniel Levy, in her acceptance speech and also recognized the writers. “Their hilariously empathic storytelling gave me and everyone in the town [of Schitt’s Creek]… every possible chance to love, be loved, make happy fools of ourselves and blossom into the best we could be.”
4. Honor the characters you bring to life.
Daniel Kaluuya won Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Fred Hampton, the late former leader of the Illinois Black Panther Party. As a film inspired by true events, Judas and the Black Messiah offered Kaluuya the opportunity to honor the activist with his performance. The actor also used his acceptance speech to pay tribute to the person he portrayed on camera. And [thank you to] Chairman Fred Hampton for guiding us and showing us his power, even now, 52 years later,” Kaluuya stated.
These are just some of the lessons that can be learned from this year’s SAG Awards. You can find a full list of the winners, as well as the transcripts and videos of their speeches, on the SAG Awards site.