The 24th Annual SAG Awards was the first major award show after the Golden Globes and the launch of Time’s Up. While the all-black dress code was relaxed, the issues of equality, diversity, inclusion and safe working environments were at the forefront of everyone’s mind. It was a night when we expected powerful statements to be made, for actors to continue their displays of solidarity with the women and men who have come forward with their stories of sexual assault in the entertainment industry and when, maybe, they might get a little bit of relief from that crushing reality as well.
In fact, it seems like the unofficial theme the evening was a celebration of women and all the change they are capable of creating in this industry. With Kristen Bell serving as the SAG Awards’ first-ever host and women presenting each and every award, there was a refreshing change in the air. On that note, here are some of the strongest moments for women at the 2018 SAG Awards.
She’s the first host SAG has ever used for their show — and she’s female.
“There’s never been a host for this awards show before, first time, first person, first lady,” said Bell in her opening monologue. “I never thought I’d grow up to be the first lady, but you know what? I kinda like it.”
Of course, as first lady, she needs to have a platform. What did Bell decide on? “Cyberbullying.”
Yes, it was a dig at first lady Melania Trump, who doesn’t seem to be making any headway in that area, especially with her husband, President Donald Trump.
She was put in an awkward position on the red carpet while talking to Giuliana Rancic at E! News. She answered a difficult question about her brother-in-law, James Franco, and the sexual harassment allegations about him. What could have been really messy TV turned into a moment she handled with aplomb.
“I think that above all, what we’ve always said is it remains vital that anyone that feels victimized should and does have the right to speak out and come forward. I obviously support my family,” Brie said. “Not everything that has been reported is fully accurate, so I think we’re waiting to get all the information. But of course, now is the time for listening and that’s what we’re all trying to do.”
— TNT Drama (@tntdrama) January 22, 2018
The SAG Awards used only female presenters for the award categories as a part of a celebration of women. Believe it or not, this wasn’t a reaction to the sexual harassment stories that happened in the fall; it was something they had decided on long before Harvey Weinstein was the main headline.
“We did that separate from what’s going on,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris told Red Carpet Report in December. “For us, it’s about inclusion and how do we ask for inclusion and diversity if we don’t reflect it? This year we wanted to be able to focus on a group of performers who are not always seen. They are put on the sidelines, so it was kismet — it was meant to be.”
— joyce eng (@joyceeng61) January 22, 2018
The moment she took the stage and the audience gave her a standing ovation, Rita Moreno commanded every second of the spotlight.
“That’s a lot of love, but I can take it,” she said to the audience.
She won her Life Achievement Award five years ago, and it was presented to her by Morgan Freeman, whom she’s known for 50 years. She was thrilled to be able to reciprocate and present him his own Life Achievement Award at the SAG Awards this year.
She even took a moment to scold him when he went to make his acceptance speech, “Morgan, lift up your hat. Now we can see you!”
If you missed Rita Moreno’s speech five years ago, go back in time and treat yourself. It’s worth it.
Brie Larson & Lupita Nyong’o
— TNT Drama (@tntdrama) January 22, 2018
Right before Brie Larson and Lupita Nyong’o revealed the final category of the night, the women announced the new SAG-AFTRA on-set code of conduct to address sexual harassment. It was a powerful way to end the evening, especially since both Larson and Nyong’o have been active in the Time’s Up movement. Larson has been an advocate for sexual assault survivors after her Oscar-winning role in Room and Nyong’o shared her Harvey Weinstein story earlier this fall.
The women of SAG came to win, and darn it if they didn’t win the entire evening. It will certainly be interesting to see if this trend continues throughout awards season to its thrilling final chapter at the Academy Awards. Here’s to hoping.