Even before the SAG Awards began tonight, politics were at the forefront, with The Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg and Jocelyn Towne rocking one big statement of an ensemble choice. But the speeches were on another level entirely. Nearly every single presenter and winner to hit the stage took the opportunity to acknowledge the bans put into place by President Trump Friday night, sharing messages of unity, hope and resistance. Check out a few of their most moving words below.
1. Mahershala Ali: Marhershala Ali had us in tears when he spoke the following words in his acceptance speech for Moonlight. “What I’ve learned from working on Moonlight is we see what happens when you persecute people; they fold into themselves… and what I was so grateful about in having the ability to play Juan was playing a gentleman who saw a young man folding into himself as the result of the persecution of his community and taking that opportunity to tell him that he mattered… that he was okay… and accept him… and I hope that we do a better job of that.” Us too, Mahershala. Us too.
2. Kerry Washington: Not only did actress Kerry Washington make a political statement (albeit on a much smaller scale than Simon Helberg and wife Jocelyn Towne) on the red carpet by donning safety pins to denote unity, she used her airtime to make one as well, saying, “A lot of people are saying right now that actors should keep our mouths shut when it comes to politics. But the truth is, no matter what, actors are activists because we embody the very humanity and worth of all people. This union helps me to do that. I am Kerry Washington and I am an actor.” (Photo via Roy Rochlin/Getty)
3. Julia Louis-Dryfus: Julia Louis-Dryfus began her speech by letting the world know where she stood with regard to recent events, saying, “I want you all to know that I am the daughter of an immigrant. My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France and I’m an American patriot, and I love this country, and because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes. And it is a blemish, and it is un-American. So I say to you this: Our sister guild at WGA made a statement today that I would like to read because I am in complete agreeance with it. Our guilds are unions of storytellers who have always welcomed those from the nations and of varying beliefs who wish to share their creativity with America. We are grateful for them and we stand with them and we will fight for them.”
4. Taylor Schilling: Taylor kept it real during the OITNB cast acceptance speech, saying, “We stand up here representing a diverse group of people, representing generations of families who have sought a better life here…we know that it’s going to be up to us and up to all of you to keep telling stories. What united us is stronger than the forces that seek to divide us.” (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
5. Ashton Kutcher: Ashton Kutcher addressed those currently being affected by President Trump’s orders and those fighting for them, saying, “Everyone in airports that belong in my America… you are a part of the fabric of who we are, and we love you, and we welcome you.” (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
5. David Harbour: David Harbour (whom you might remember as the deputy from Stranger Things) had a LOT to say about the issues at hand, riling the crowd up with impassioned words. “In light of everything that’s going on in the world today, it’s difficult to celebrate the already celebrated Stranger Things, but this award from you that take your craft seriously and earnestly believe, like me, that great acting can change the world is a call to arms for my fellow crafts’ men and women to go deeper… and through our art to battle against fear, self-centeredness and exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture… and through our craft to cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society by revealing intimate truths that serve as a forceful reminder to folks that when you may feel BROKEN AND AFRAID and tired, they are not alone. We are united in that we are ALL human beings and we are all together on this horrible, painful, joyous, exciting, mysterious ride that is being alive… we 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies, we will shelter freaks and outcasts, freaks who have no home.” He went on to describe the exact manner in which he planned to take out the bullies, gaining a standing O from the crowd and Americans everywhere.
6. Sarah Paulson: Sarah called to action, saying, “I would like to make a plea to everyone if they can, any money they have to spare, please donate to the ACLU [which won an emergency hearing against President Trump to stop detained immigrants from being sent home] to protect the rights and liberties of people across this country. It’s a vital, vital organization that relies on our support, so please, if you can.”
7. Taraji P. Henson: Speaking of the historic women she and her co-stars portrayed in their award-winning film, Hidden Figures, Taraji pointed out the example they set for us all about how to be in difficult times, saying, “These women did not complain about the problems, the issues… we know what was going on in that era. They didn’t complain. They focused on solutions; therefore, these brave women helped put men in space… 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.”
Which speech moved you most? Let us know over @BritandCo!
(Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)