Bright sparks at the SAG Awards: 5 takeaways from the ceremony

Looking like a million dollars on the red carpet are the cast of Crazy Rich Asians, comprising (above from left) actors Ronny Chieng, Tan Kheng Hua, Fiona Xie and Harry Shum Jr and director Jon M. Chu.
Looking like a million dollars on the red carpet are the cast of Crazy Rich Asians, comprising (above from left) actors Ronny Chieng, Tan Kheng Hua, Fiona Xie and Harry Shum Jr and director Jon M. Chu.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Unexpected wins and reunions were among the highlights at the ceremony

LOS ANGELES • On the road to the Oscars showdown on Feb 24, the awards bandwagon made a pit stop in Los Angeles - with the Screen Actors Guild, which has 160,000 members - honouring the best in movies and television.

Here are five takeaways from the ceremony on Sunday.

THE MARVELOUS MRS MAISEL WINS BIG

The biggest winner on Sunday was The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.

Tony Shalhoub took the first prize of the evening, Best Actor In A Comedy Series, for his turn as the title character's father.

Then, after the show's star, Rachel Brosnahan, won Best Actress, Shalhoub, backed by his castmates, returned to the stage to accept the Outstanding Ensemble award.

Black Panther beat contenders such as A Star Is Born and Crazy Rich Asians to nab the prestigious Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Movie prize. It has been applauded as a milestone for diversity in Hollywood, a breakthrough that still has the power to surprise its cast.

"I didn't think I was going to have to speak," Chadwick Boseman said on stage, surrounded by his castmates. He said his co-stars "all know what it's like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured. Yet, you are young, gifted and black".

BREAD-AND-BUTTER ISSUES TRUMP POLITICS

Unlike the 2017 ceremony, when United States President Donald Trump was denounced in fiery acceptance speeches, there were few overtly political moments on Sunday, which more often focused on guild issues.

Patricia Arquette, named Best Actress In A Mini-series for Escape At Dannemora, thanked Mr Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russia's 2016 election interference, as she left the stage.

But she drew much more applause from fellow union members when she called out production companies that did not pay performers overtime and other fees.

M*A*S*H ACTOR HONOURED

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Alan Alda, the veteran actor best known for the 1972 to 1983 series, M*A*S*H.

In July, he revealed that he had been living with Parkinson's disease for more than three years, but that he had been leading a full life despite the condition.

After being introduced by actor Tom Hanks, Alda took the stage to a lengthy standing ovation from the audience. "It may never have been more urgent to see the world through another person's eyes," Alda said, his hands trembling.

He added: "When the culture is divided so sharply, actors can help, at least a little, just by doing what we do."

SHOUT-OUT TO A QUIET PLACE

When Emily Blunt was named Best Supporting Actress for A Quiet Place, her husband, John Krasinski, who directed her in that movie, stood up and clapped enthusiastically as she made her way to the stage and after she had finished her speech.

The audience could not keep quiet either, laughing when she said of Krasinski's decision to cast her: "Thank you for giving me the part. You would have been in major trouble if you hadn't."

Referring to the horror movie, she added that her daughters, aged two and four, "will have to be at least 45 before they see this film".

FATAL ATTRACTION REUNION

No presenter or presenters could steal the thunder from Glenn Close and Michael Douglas - who starred together in the 1987 steamy thriller, Fatal Attraction - when they teamed up to present Arquette with her award. Netizens were ecstatic when Close bagged a Best Actress accolade for her role in the movie, The Wife.

REUTERS, NYTIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2019, with the headline 'Bright sparks at the SAG awards'. Print Edition | Subscribe