The SAG Awards Get Political: All the Fiery Speeches
President Trump's temporary ban on immigrants and visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S. is the hot political topic across the country, and the stars at the Screen Actors Guild Awards repeatedly, forcefully exercised their right to free speech on the subject.
Ashton Kutcher opened the show by greeting SAG members, viewers and "... 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." His remarks were greeted with warm applause. Watch!
The first winner of the evening, Julia Louis-Dreyus for her comedy performance on "Veep," mocked Trump's hubris, proclaiming she won by a "landslide." She then went on to speak emotionally of her own history while condemning Trump's ban, 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 am an American patriot and I love this country and because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes, and this immigrant ban is a blemish and it is un-American."
Louis-Dreyfus went on to read a statement from the Writers Guild of America — SAG's sister guild — which proclaimed to "stand with" and "fight for" immigrants in light of the ban.
When "Orange Is the New Black" took home the SAG for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, Taylor Schilling spoke for her cast mates, proclaiming, "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 all of you to keep telling stories. What united us is stronger than the forces that seek to divide us." The cast shouted out the countries from which their families hail.
In an intensely personal speech upon winning Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his turn in "Moonlight," Mahershala Ali spoke of his conversion to Islam many years ago, and how he and his Baptist mother came to terms with the differences that made them unique. He tied their differences into the theme of "Moonlight," which is about a young man struggling with his identity in the face of relentless persecution.
Sarah Paulson, in taking home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story," gave a shout-out to the ACLU, calling on viewers to donate to the organization in order "to protect the rights and liberties of people across this country."
Even William H. Macy's lighthearted speech upon winning Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance as a sleazy patriarch on "Shameless" took aim at Trump. "I would like to go against the strain this evening and thank President Trump," he teased, "for making [my character] Frank Gallagher seem so normal."
Bryan Cranston, who won a SAG for his uncanny portrayal of 36th U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, said he thought Johnson would put his arm around President Trump and wish him success... but would then whisper into his ear, "Just don't p*ss in the soup we all gotta eat."
Continuing the humorous take on the topic of immigration, Dolly Parton — on hand to present a Life Achievement Award to her "9 to 5" co-star Lily Tomlin — joked that she almost didn't get into the ceremony because she was asked for her "IDs... or maybe it was double-Ds."
Tomlin mentioned the news that the Doomsday Clock has been moved up to two-and-a-half minutes before midnight — the time which a nuclear holocaust is predicted — noting, "This award came just in the nick of time!"
Simon Helberg & Jocelyn Towne
What many viewers didn't know is that the protest against the immigration ban had begun on the red carpet, with "Big Bang Theory's" Simon Helberg and his wife, actress Jocelyn Towne. Helberg held a handwritten sign proclaiming "REFUGEES WELCOME," while Towne had the words "LET THEM IN" written across her chest.