Best Excerpts From the SAG Awards Winners' Speeches

by Allie Gemmill
Jan 21, 2018 at 10:30 p.m. ET

Awards season 2018 is trucking along quite nicely, and as some clear frontrunners emerge in both film and television (like winners Nicole Kidman, Sterling K. Brown and Frances McDormand and the films Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Shape of Water), we have landed on the doorstep of yet another key award show. The Academy Awards in March may be the final show (and arguably the most prestigious), but the Screen Actors Guild Awards tonight were truly something to behold. Also, it's fair to say this award show was a great time to get those final Oscar frontrunners in place because it's here that they really began to emerge. 

It was not only a night to spot even more awards season frontrunners; it was also a night of firsts. This year's SAG Awards had its first-ever host, and none other than Kristen Bell was chosen to do the honors. In keeping with the spirit of the times and tying in with the Time's Up movement, all of the actors who presented the awards were women. There were powerful speeches made by the women present and, wonderfully, women of all ages and races coming together to represent women everywhere. 

It was a truly magical night, and luckily, the speeches from the various 2018 SAG winners didn't disappoint. Here are some excerpts from the evening's best speeches. 

1 /11: Kristen Bell's Opening Monologue

1/11 :Kristen Bell's Opening Monologue

OK, this is technically not a winner's speech, but we need to give the floor to 2018 SAG Awards host Kristen Bell for a sec. While delivering the show's first-ever host monologue, Bell gave us all an important reminder about storytelling. 

"Everyone's story deserves to be told, especially now. We are living in a watershed moment. And as we march forward with active momentum and open ears, let's make sure that we're leading the charge with empathy and with diligence because fear and anger never win the race. And most importantly, regardless of our differences, I think we can all come together and delight in one thing: Frozen 2 is coming out in theaters in 2019."

2 /11: William H. Macy

2/11 :William H. Macy

Macy nabbed the first award of the evening for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on Shameless

"A couple of years ago I was privy to a conversation when my friend, [playwright] David Mamet — who's really my mentor and taught me everything I knew — was talking to a journalist and the journalist said, 'Actors have a weird job; we just tell lies for a living.' And David said, 'No, no. An actor's job is to tell the truth.' And after a confused conversation, the journalist finally said, 'Well, I think we're saying the same thing.' But they weren't.

"And even though our lines and the stories we're told are given to us by writers, it's our job, under those imaginary circumstances, to find the truth. I think it's a glorious way to make a living, especially in this day and age when so many people either can't recognize the truth or don't think it's important."

3 /11: The Cast of 'Veep'

3/11 :The Cast of 'Veep'

The 15-actor cast of Veep grabbed the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, and actor Matt Walsh gave thanks while jokingly pointing out the obvious about who was there to accept the award.

"We have a large cast, so I was hand-chosen because I play a spokesperson and I'm very well-spoken on the show and in real life. I was [also] selected because I'm very good at large events and large audiences. [...] I'd like to thank HBO, who is not here. Sorry. I'd like to thank Julia [Louis-Dreyfus], our leader, who unfortunately is not here — sorry about that. I'd like to thank Dave Mendel, who is not here. [...] In all sincerity, [this is] a room full of such tremendous talent and hard-working union members; unions are so important. We do sincerely love that you gave us this wonderful Grammy, so thank you." 

Oh, Walsh, you ol' jokester, you. 

4 /11: Allison Janney

4/11 :Allison Janney

Janney won her seventh SAG Award, this time in the category Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, thanks to her killer role in I, Tonya. In her speech, she honored the other women nominated in her category. 

"Thank you to my fellow SAG and AFTRA members for this honor. Truly, it is a great one. I'm incredibly lucky and emotional to be in this category of women who I love so much. Lori [Metcalfe], Holly [Hunter], Mary J. [Blige], Hong [Chau]: Your performances are extraordinary. Your performances over the years have inspired me and continue to inspire all of the actors in this room and all of them watching at home. You are brilliant."

5 /11: Sam Rockwell

5/11 :Sam Rockwell

Rockwell once again won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, this year for his performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

"Wow! Oh my gosh, I want to thank every member of SAG-AFTRA. This is awesome. To be alongside Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Steve Carell and my brother, Woody Harrelson. I love you, dude! I love you, man. [...] My mom and dad were actors. They dragged me to rehearsals at ACT when I was a little baby. I slowly realized: These people are nuts. Actors, I love 'em. I love actors and I love my mom and dad. I delivered burritos on a bicycle, I bused tables to get through acting school, and if you're a struggling actor out there, hang in there."

6 /11: Alexander Skarsgård

6/11 :Alexander Skarsgård

Yet again winning for his performance on Big Little Lies, Skarsgård took home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series with this speech, where he got in a cute little joke at fellow nominee Robert DeNiro's expense.

"A lot of people have been talking about who the greatest male actor ever is. Is that Mr. Robert DeNiro? Or that tall dude from True Blood? The thespians have spoken. Thank you very much," he said.

"Seriously, though, SAG-AFTRA, thank you so much for this. I am shocked. I am humbled. I am incredibly embarrassed and infinitely grateful."

7 /11: Nicole Kidman

7/11 :Nicole Kidman

Kidman won her first SAG (and yet another award for her role in Big Little Lies) in the category Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series. Here's a portion of her amazing speech.

"This means a lot to me. I've been working since I was 14; thank you, SAG-AFTRA, for giving me this. I'm incredibly nervous because this is reality colliding with fantasy right now.

"To receive this [award] at this stage in my life is extraordinary, and at this time in the industry, when these things are going on, and for this role. I would like to acknowledge the other actresses in this category. Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern: first and foremost my girlfriends, but my beyond-talented acting partners [too]; I share this with you. Also, I wanted to say: Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange, I revere you. I've watched you and I've learned from you. And there's others: Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Judy Davis, Isabelle Huppert, Shirley MacLaine, Judi Dench — the list is so long, and I would love to say them all but I can't right now. But I want to thank you all for your trailblazing performances you've given over your careers. How wonderful it is that our career today can go beyond 40 years old because 20 years ago, we were pretty washed up by this stage in our lives. So, that's not the case now."

8 /11: Sterling K. Brown

8/11 :Sterling K. Brown

Brown continued to dominate awards season by picking up his first SAG, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series, for his performance on This Is Us. Check out his sweet and thankful speech:

"What a blessing it is to do what you love for a living. What an honor it is to be recognized by your peers for a job well done. This room is a source of endless inspiration for me. I love all of y'all. People call us weird and strange; the truth of the matter is everybody's weird and strange, but we just embrace ourselves for who we are.

"To my glorious cast of This Is Us: You guys feed me day in and day out. You guys raise the bar. To my white family — which thankfully is nothing like the white family from Get Out — I love you. To my TV wife, Susan Kelechi-Watson: Let's keep on reppin' for the people. To the two other young actors that play Randall, to Lonnie [Chavis] and Niles [Fitch]: Thank you for making the work so easy and so seamless. To all those people out there still hustling, trying to make it: Fame won't sustain you, the money won't sustain you, but the love — keep the love alive."

9 /11: The Cast of 'This Is Us'

9/11 :The Cast of 'This Is Us'

The cast of This Is Us clinched the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, and star Milo Ventimiglia delivered this heartwarming speech:

"We are just a small collection of very talented, very hardworking people that work on this show. Dan Fogelman, our creator: Without Dan and our talented writers, we would not have words to say, and we actors know how important those words are."

10 /11: Gary Oldman

10/11 :Gary Oldman

Oldman nabbed his first SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, thanks to his starring role in The Darkest Hour. Here's a portion of his somewhat teary-eyed and earnest acceptance speech.

"I've become very emotional. Thank you, SAG-AFTRA, for this tremendous honor. I am honestly and truly thrilled and overjoyed to be in this room tonight. Not only with my amazing fellow nominees, but my friends and peers. There are giants of acting in this room tonight. Two of them share my table, Geoffrey Rush and Richard Jenkins.

"[Winston] Churchill reminds us that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. You have given enormously tonight, and I am so deeply, deeply honored and proud to receive this magnificent award. Thank you all."

11 /11: Frances McDormand

11/11 :Frances McDormand

McDormand picked up her second award of the 2018 season, the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Here's a part of her fiery speech.

"I have a couple things to say. Representation. Those tireless men and women who represent us truly, our desires, our dreams, our individual strengths and our ethical beliefs: to them, we owe a great deal."

She continued, "And to serving the word. When Martin [McDonagh, the film's director] wrote Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, he did not sketch a blueprint. He did not string together a few words. He wrote a meticulously crafted tsunami, and then he allowed his troupe of actors to surf it into the shore. Thank you, Martin."