With Donald Trump's immigration ban still raw in the memory as of Friday, the 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards was never in any danger of being anything other an incendiary and emotional affair. In times like these, glitz, glamor and the very concept of winning and losing takes a back seat — the Hollywood community instead unites as one to show solidarity with those caught up in the unprecedented madness.
Throughout the event, celebrities from all walks used the ceremony as a platform to publicly denounce Trump's Muslim ban and "extreme vetting" process. "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,” pronounced Ashton Kutcher at the evening's opening, and thus the tone was set.
Below, we've listed some of the night's most powerful moments. Being one himself, Trump should really know by now that hell hath no fury like a TV or movie star scorned.
Ashton Kutcher was on Fire
As mentioned, proceedings at the hostless event were opened by Ashton Kutcher, and it's fair to say Mr Kunis did not miss. "Good evening, fellow SAG-AFTRA members and everyone at home and everyone in airports that belong in my America," said Kutcher, deliberately eschewing the usual procedure where the actor regales with his or her's past experiences in the industry. As far as rousing introductions go, this one is hard to beat.
Mahershala Ali Gave a Beautiful, Heartbreaking Speech
"What I’ve learned from working on Moonlight is seeing what happens when you persecute people," said a visibly upset Ali. Last week, the movie bagged eight Oscar nominations and is one of the favorites to clean up during award season. Here, the actor used his best supporting actor acceptance speech to draw a parallel between his role in the film and intolerance towards minorities. “We 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 textures of that person, the things that make them unique; or go to war about it, and say, ‘that person’s different from me. I don’t like you. So let’s battle.'" Powerful stuff.
The Cop From Stranger Things Took No Shit Whatsoever
If Kutcher's speech was rousing, then Stranger Things actor David Harbour's words were a call to arms: at one point, the star, who plays Chief Jim Hopper, advocated punching people in the face. Literally. "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 hope. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters,” said a pumped-up Hopper, while clutching the award for best cast. “And when we are at a loss 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 and the disenfranchised and the marginalized."
Consider that another warning, Richard Spencer.
Bryan Cranston Had Some Friendly Advice, Too
Having swiped the best actor gong for his portrayal of 35th U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson in the HBO series All the Way, Cranston is a man who knows a thing or two about political discourse. "I’m often asked, how would Lyndon Johnson think about Donald Trump? And I honestly feel like 36 would put his arm around 45 and earnestly wish him success," Cranston said to a hushed audience, before adding: "And (Johnson) would also whisper in (Trump's) ear, something he said often as a form of encouragement, but a cautionary tale, 'Just don't piss in the soup that all of us got to eat.'" Wise words.
Denzel Washington Got His Best Actor Award
With political defiance dominating the night, it was pretty easy to forget that an actual awards ceremony was going on in the background. La La Land's Ryan Gosling pipped Denzel Washington to the prize of best actor at the 74th Golden Globes last month, but this time the roles were reversed as Denzel was honored for Fences: an interesting development given that the SAG awards are known to heavily foreshadow the Oscars outcome. Elsewhere, Emma Stone won best actress for her role in La La Land, while Claire Foy and John Lithgow made it a double for The Crown with best actor awards in TV drama series. Really though, this was all about so much more.