2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards

An Important Statement on Diversity Within the Film Industry

The Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) ceremony came and went this past week. Like the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards are considered to be a precursor to the upcoming Academy Awards (Oscars), so if someone wanted to know which films and actors would be likely to win an Oscar this year then watching either or both the Golden Globes or SAGs would be a good way to do so. 
 
One aspect that made this year’s ceremonies unique was the diversity in the participants and nominees in the awards; this comes after the academy received criticism for having no black or Asian actors nominated for the 2015 Oscars. This would be repeated in the following year’s ceremony as no black actors received any 2016 Oscar nomination.
 
Black Panther, part of the critically acclaimed Marvel cinematic universe, was praised by critics and fans for its writing, themes and its largely African-American cast. Moreover, the film was one of the first critically and commercially acclaimed black super hero films since 1997’s Spawn.The film was nominated for two awards Best Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture, respectively. The film won the first category beating films such as Crazy Rich Asians,which is another significant film due to its largely Asian cast, moreover other Asian languages are featured in the film such as Mandarin and Cantonese. Despite losing, the cast of Crazy Rich Asians stood up as Black Panther’scast were announced as winners, furthermore both sets of cast members came together in the SAG after party and took photos together. Henry Golding, who played Nick Young in Crazy Rich Asians, posted the photo of both casts together on his Instagram with the caption: "Sadly @crazyrichasians didn't come away with the result but so glad that both films have become a flag bearer for people of [colour] all around the world." Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular character Black Panther/T'Challa, gave the acceptance speech on behalf of his cast members and said: "We knew that we could create a world that exemplified a world we wanted to see. We knew that we had something to give.” Indeed, bringing people from differing backgrounds together is something that we need to see much more of in this world.  The film would also win the Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble award beating out other films such as Mission Impossible: Falloutand Avengers: Infinity War.
 
Egyptian-American actor, Rami Malek, won the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, for his performance in Bohemian Rhapsodyin which he played the late Freddie Mercury, the front man for Queen. In preparation for the role Malek reportedly took many speech classes to be able to match Mercury’s distinctive Received Pronunciation accent as well as dance classes to imitate his dance moves. All that preparation paid off, as many audience members left cinemas in awe of the performance, citing that at some points of the film they forgot they were watching an actor playing Mercury and thought that Malek was Mercury himself. Malek is now widely expected to win Best Actor in the upcoming Oscars, as he now won Best Actor in the Golden Globes and SAG, respectively. 
 
Malek wasn’t the only actor to play a late musician; Mahershala Ali played the African American jazz and classical pianist Don Shirley in The Green Book, and his performance also landed him a win in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role category.
 
Other significant moments in the night included veteran actress Glen Close won Outstanding Female Actor in a Leading Role for her performance as Joan Castleman in The Wife.  The TV series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, won three categories in a row: Rachel Brosnahan won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, Tony Shalhoub won Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series and the cast won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast in a Comedy Series.
 
Emily Blunt won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for the series A Quiet Place, which is directed by her husband John Krasinski. In her heartfelt acceptance speech, she tearfully thanked her husband who was in the audience and was also visibly crying tears of joy for his wife. 
 
Critically acclaimed Canadian actress Sandra Oh, who is best known for her role as Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy, won outstanding performance by a Female Actor in Drama Series for her performance in Killing Eve.
 
Notable absences in the ceremony include the Netflix film Roma, despite the fact that it has been nominated for Best Picture in the Oscars. This might indicate the Screen Actors Guild is still not as keen as the Academy with the prospect of Netflix films being placed in the same category as traditional Hollywood films, n it nevertheless important to note that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, an Amazon Video series, won three categories in the ceremony. The British film The Favourite was only nominated for two categories (Best Performance by Female Actor in Lead Role and Best Performance by Female Actor in Supporting Role, respectively) and lost both. Coincidentally, both The Favourite and Roma have 10 nominations the in the upcoming Oscars, the most out of any film and both are nominated for Best Picture. 
 


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