BY JULIET EBIRIM
The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards was held on Sunday, January 29, 2017 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The stars of ‘Hidden Figures’ and ‘Stranger Things’ were the big winners at the event while political speeches dominated the evening. Accepting the award, star Taraji P Henson said: “This story is of unity and this story is about what happens when we put our differences aside … Love wins.”
One of the film’s stars, Mahershala Ali, won the award for best supporting actor for his role in Moonlight, while Claire Foy and John Lithgow both won dramatic television awards for roles in the Netflix hit The Crown and the cast of Stranger Things won for best ensemble in a drama series.
David Harbour, who plays Jim Hopper in the 80s-set adventure, gave a rousing speech on the importance of inclusion. A visibly upset Ali, who remains the firm favorite to win an Oscar next month, delivered an emotional and topical speech about acceptance. He talked about converting to Islam yet maintaining a close relationship with his mother, an ordained minister, and begged people to also put aside their religious differences.
Emma Stone won the award for best female actor in a lead role for La La Land and after discussing her insecurity in her profession, she spoke about the importance of bringing joy to people given that “we’re in a really tricky time at the moment in our country”. Denzel Washington received the award for best male actor in a leading role for his role in Fences after many predicted Manchester by the Sea star, Casey Affleck would win. Washington’s co-star, Viola Davis, was the night’s other big screen winner, named best female actor in a supporting role and she dedicated her award to playwright August Wilson for honoring the average man.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus won the award for best female actor in a comedy series for Veep and made jabs at the vote being hacked by the Russians as well as the crowd size at the event itself. She also made a passionate reference to Donald Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration.
The 37-strong cast of Orange Is the New Black won the prize for ensemble in a comedy series for the third time. Sarah Paulson picked up the award for best female actor in a television movie or limited series for The People vs OJ Simpson. John Lithgow’s role as Winston Churchill in breakout Netflix drama The Crown won him the award for best actor in a drama series.
The awards act as a strong indicator of success at the Academy awards, taking place on 26 February. Red carpet moments Nicole Kidman, in Gucci: This emerald green, sequin Gucci number with feathered parrots as sleeves may or may not have been used to deflect from the humanitarian chaos. The gown turned up on a mixture of best and worst dressed lists. But the Lion star certainly knows how to stand out from her peers, with too many wearing the colour of this awards season – neutral metallic.
Emily Blunt and Natalie Portman showed that neutrals don’t have to be boring in embellished Roberto Cavalli and a bell-sleeve Dior, respectively. Emma Stone in Alexander McQueen: This is an unexpectedly revealing dress, but the combination of lily pads and lingerie somehow works in favor of provocation.
Emily Blunt in Roberto Cavalli: The embroidery imparts a quasi-Indian effect, and the fit is as precise as a tattoo.
Gwendoline Christie in Vivienne Westwood Couture: It takes a lot of courage and stamina to wear a jumpsuit to an awards ceremony, and more so when you add glitter.
Evan Rachel Wood in Altuzarra: You have to be impressed by her commitment to making a fashion statement with substance by wearing pants throughout the awards season, but she also makes it look so good that it’s also just downright fun.
Millie Bobby Brown in Giorgio Armani: Twelve years old, and so much talent, it’s no wonder that designers are knocking down her door. She has already landed a Calvin Klein campaign, and now this ruby red dress has eclipsed the competition, yet Brown shrugs it off like an old pro: “Giorgio Armani sketched it for me,” she said on the red carpet. “And I’m like, that’s totally fine.”