‘CODA’ takes the top honors at the SAG Awards, Will Smith wins

Surprisingly, the deaf family drama “CODA” won top honors at an unpredictable and historic 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards that also featured victories for the protagonists of “Squid Game,” the cast of “Ted Lasso,” and Will Smith.

The ceremony, held Sunday at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, and aired on both TNT and TBS, was remarkably borderless, with historic victories for deaf actors, Korean stars and some of Hollywood’s top names. It culminated in “CODA,” Sian Heder’s moving adult film about Sian Heder’s coming of age starring a trio of deaf actors in Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, and Daniel Durant, along with newcomer Emilia Jones, winner of Best Picture set. The film was seen as a turning point for the deaf community in Hollywood.


“This validates the fact that we deaf actors can work like anyone else. We look forward to more opportunities for deaf actors,” Matlin said on stage before teaching the crowd sign language for “I Love You.”

Matlin is the only deaf actress to win an Oscar, but her “CODA” debut partner, Kotsur, may be in line to join her. Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor on Sunday, becoming the first deaf actor to win an individual SAG Award. If you read his name, the 53-year-old veteran actor put his head in his hands. On stage, he thanked his wife for “reminding me to check the fly before walking down the red carpet.”

Netflix’s “Squid Game”, the first non-English language series nominated by the Actors Guild, won three awards, including Lee Jung-jae for Best Actor in a Drama Series and Jung Hoyeon for Best Actor in a Drama Series. . Those wins were “Succession” stars Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong, and Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston from “The Morning Show.”


“I’ve often felt like seeing myself on the big screen dreaming of becoming an actor someday,” Jung told the crowd, fighting back tears.

Still, HBO’s “Succession” finally reigned in the best drama series category. Cox aptly accepted the award with an insult imprinted on his face mask, and another uttered as he struggled to remove it. But Cox was serious about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In the most scathing comments of the night on the invasion, he noted that the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was a comic book and therefore a fellow performer, and urged censored dissidents in Russia to speak out.

“People in Russia who don’t like what’s going on, and artists in particular, I think we should join them and celebrate them and hope they can make a change, as I think they can,” Cox said as the audience was standing. applauded.


The SAG Awards are considered one of the most reliable predictors of the Academy Awards. Actors make up the largest percentage of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and their choices are often aligned. In 2020, when the cast of “Parasite” and Brad Pitt won, they matched exactly.

Although the guild of actors and academia diverged last year when Aaron Sorkin’s 1960s court drama “Trial of the Chicago 7” topped the SAG Awards and “Nomadland” triumphed at the Oscars, victory for “CODA” suggests that it is a great threat to win the best prize. image on Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” (which didn’t win on Sunday) and Jane Campion’s main Oscar nominee “The Power of the Dog” (which didn’t get an overall nod even though three of its actors were nominated individually).


SAG’s career may also mean that Will Smith, the protagonist of the Williams family’s “King Richard” tennis drama, is heading for his first Oscar. Smith took the best actor, scoring his first SAG award.

“That may have been one of the most important moments of my career right now because my name was called‘ King Richard ’sitting next to Venus Williams,” Smith said.

Best Actress was the hardest category to track down. Many saw Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”) as her favorite to win her second Oscar. In an especially competitive category, the deaf tend to attract more attention. Kristen Stewart of “Spencer” was ignored by SAG, while Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”) was absent from the film academy.


However, it was Jessica Chastain, who played the infamous Teleevangelist in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” which she won on Sunday, winning her first individual SAG award. Looking ahead to the Oscars on March 27, no category can be more uncertain.

Meanwhile, Ariana DeBose of “West Side Story” confirmed her status as a favorite with a win on Sunday for the best supporting performance by an actress. The DeBose Award also had historical resonance.

“It’s indicative that the doors are opening,” DeBose said, speaking with reports in a backstage virtual newsroom. “It’s an honor to be seen, it’s an honor to be an Afro-Latin, an openly queer woman of color, a dancer, a singer and an actor. It’s indicative of me not being the last, and that’s the important part. “

The SAG Awards, which will be available Monday on HBO Max, are presented by the Hollywood Actors Guild SAG-AFTRA. After the January Golden Globes weren’t an event, they were Hollywood’s first face-to-face, televised, and major awards show, with a red carpet and tearful speeches. The “Hamilton” trio of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr. and Daveed Diggs began broadcasting with the stated theme of “together again.”


“We’re back in a world where all we have to do to pass the mouse like that is dress, appear, wash, disinfect, examine, mask, vaccinate, strengthen, perform quick tests, and pass PCR in 24 hours,” Odom said. Jr. “Now who’s ready to party?”

Some casts, citing quarantine rules related to production schedules, attended remotely, including the television’s nominee, “Ted Lasso.” Appearing via video link with his co-stars around him, Jason Sudeikis accepted the award for best actor in a comedy series. The Apple TV + program was later named best set of comedy series.

Although Academy Awards do not require presenters to be vaccinated (attendees only), it was required for the SAG Awards, which are voted on by the Hollywood SAG-AFTRA Actors Guild. Other awards went to Jean Smart from “Hacks”, Kate Winslet from “Mare of Easttown” and Michael Keaton from “Dopesick”, who dedicated his award to his nephew, Michael. Keaton previously said he died of fentanyl and heroin use in 2016.


The SAG Awards also crowned “The Queen” actress Helen Mirren. The five-time SAG winner was honored with an award for his life.

“Honestly, any achievement I succeed in is the result of my mantra which is basically: being on time and not being a donkey,” said Mirren, 76. “Thank you very much, thank you very much, SAG for this. I don’t like to say the word ‘sag’ at my age.”


Follow AP screenwriter Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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‘CODA’ takes the top honors at the SAG Awards, Will Smith wins

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