SAG Awards 2017 winning speeches: Stranger Things' David Harbour to Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus

FP Staff

Jan 31, 2017 13:04:21 IST

It was a night that had a plethora of celebrity speeches defying US President Donald Trump's immigration ban — right from Julia Louis-Dreyfus' moving narrative about being the daughter of an immigrant who fled from Nazi-occupied France; to Ashton Kutcher's rousing 'my America' shoutout to all detained refugees; and Dev Patel, Simon Helberg, John Legend and Riz Ahmed's criticism of the policy.

Also read: SAG Awards 2017: Winners' speeches against Donald Trump's immigration ban grab attention

But some speeches stood out for the clever way in which they stayed true to the works that were being rewarded, even as they made a point about Trump's policy.

William Macy was among those who embraced the trend, by referencing both his character on Shameless and Trump in the same breath. Macy plays Frank Gallagher — a perpetually unemployed, absentee single parent-of-nine and an alcoholic — on Shameless, and when he picked up his Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series award, he quipped: "I would like to thank President Trump — for making Frank Gallagher seem so normal.”

While Macy's short and sweet speech drew him many cheers, so also did Julia Louis-Dreyfus' invocation of the Russian hacking scandal, and Trump's claims regarding the crowds at his inaugural ceremony.

"Whether the Russians did or did not hack the voting of this evening's Screen Actors Guild Awards, I look out over the million or million-and-a-half people in this room and I say this award is legitimate and I won. I'm the winner, the winner is me — landslide," Louis-Dreyfus said, to the room's laughter, as she accepted her Best Female Actor in a Comedy trophy for Veep.

Yet another actor to draw connections between the character he played and Trump's policies, was Bryan Cranston. The former Breaking Bad star was conferred the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a TV Movie or Limited Series prize for his role as former President Lyndon B Johnson in All the Way. Cranston, in his acceptance speech, said he's often asked what Johnson would have said to Trump.

"I honestly feel that 36 (Johnson was the 36th President of the United States) would put his arm around 45, and earnestly wish him success. And he would also whisper in his ear something he said often — as a form of encouragement and a cautionary tale: ‘Just don’t piss in the soup that all of us gotta eat’.”

Male Actor in a Supporting Role winner Mahershala Ali chose to impart a more heartfelt message. Ali didn't just draw on his own experiences as a Muslim American, he also harked back to Moonlight, for which he won the award, and discussed the effects of persecution on people like its protagonist, Chiron.

“I think what I’ve learned from working on Moonlight is, we see what happens when you persecute people. They fold into themselves..." Ali said. "When we kind of get caught up in the minutiae, the details that make us all different, I think there's two ways of seeing that. There's an opportunity to see the texture of that person, the characteristics that make them unique. And then there's an opportunity to go to war about it, and to say that that person is different than me, and I don't like you, so let's battle."

Then there was Taraji P Henson's subtle acceptance speech for Hidden Figures' Outstanding Performance by a cast in a Motion Picture win, which looks at how three brilliant African American women — Katherine G Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — working at NASA, served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. Standing beside her co-stars Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, Henson said, in what might have served as a moral for Trump:

“This story is of unity. This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together as a human race. We win. Love wins. Every time."

The greatest applause of the night, however, was reserved for David Harbour, who plays police chief Jim Hopper on Netflix's Stranger Things, which won Best Ensemble Cast. Even as his co-star Winona Ryder's expressive reactions to his speech made waves on the internet, Harbour's words resonated with fans of Stranger Things — and those opposing 'Trumpisms'.

Here's an excerpt from Harbour's goosebump-inducing speech:

"We are united in that we are all human beings and we are all together on this horrible, painful, joyous, exciting and mysterious ride that is being alive. Now, as we act in the continuing narrative of Stranger Things, we 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies; we will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no home; we will get past the lies; we will hunt monsters; and when we are lost amidst the hypocrisy and casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will — as per Chief Jim Hopper — punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the meek, the disenfranchised and the marginalised, and we will do it all with soul, with heart and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility."

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Updated Date: Jan 31, 2017 13:19:24 IST